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Anxiety and the role it plays

Posted by SteveDaley 
Anxiety and the role it plays
December 26, 2017 09:11PM
I had an ablation in 2008 at university of Pa under David Lin and since then have had about 4 breakthroughs which is not bad. I do however at times feel like a
skipped beat and that kicks in the anxiety and i worry i will go into afib. I have a Kardiia device and use it often sometimes a lot which is a result of the anxiety. I get the feeling
in the middle of chest below sternum and that cranks up the anxiety. Do you think that can bring on the irregular beat feeling and what do some of you do for it. Thanks
Re: Anxiety and the role it plays
December 26, 2017 09:17PM
I've been AF free for about 2 years but have a missed beat and sometimes a few rapid beats every now and then. I can tell when i take my blood pressure and sometimes i sort of have the feeling in the chest and i suspect that what it is. It only happens maybe once or twice a day when i notice. Who knows how often it really happens.
When i feel it i just do slow deep breathing as well as relaxing and it goes away virtually instantly.
Re: Anxiety and the role it plays
December 26, 2017 09:43PM
I can't cite any sources confirming that anxiety contributes directly to afib, but from what I've seen over the years I think it's pretty safe to say that anxiety contributes to a cascade of events that all have distinctly negative effects on your health. Addressing anxiety should be a priority for anyone who suffers from it. There are many ways to do that, ranging from totally drug-free approaches like meditation, yoga, exercise and therapy to anti-anxiety meds. Find what works for you and get your anxiety under control. Even if it doesn't affect your (lack of) afib, you'll feel better for it.

You might start by putting the Kardia in a drawer and only taking it out when you're sure you're in an abnormal rhythm. It sounds like it's actually causing you to obsess a bit on your heart rhythm, which so far has been normal almost all the time. Enjoy the NSR and quit looking for trouble. :-)
Re: Anxiety and the role it plays
December 27, 2017 03:52AM
I think you making to much out of an occasional skipped beat. Normal People get occasional skipped beats, that have never had AFIB. If they are regular and ongoing then you should address them.

When my PAC's get bad enough, I walk and breath deeply to relax that usually helps.
If they continue, or if I can't walk, I talk some Diltiazem a Calcium Channel Blocker, that diminishes them greatly.
Re: Anxiety and the role it plays
December 27, 2017 09:34AM
If the Kardia helps you confirm you aren't in afib, then that is good. Hopefully its use is reducing not increasing your anxiety.
Re: Anxiety and the role it plays
December 27, 2017 11:13AM
Over time I just learned to ignore the PACs. Even laugh at them. They're nothing, and they're not going to cause AF.

Electrolyte supplementation has been the key for me to make PACs very rare occurrences. I managed to get a few more over the holidays (wonder how THAT happened smileys with beer) but rapid rehydration and Mg boluses righted the ship in no time.
Re: Anxiety and the role it plays
December 27, 2017 01:48PM
Hi Steve - For the reasons you mention, I've not been inclined to monitor with gadgets how my heart is behaving.
After 22 years of dealing with this, I've learned that it's better to do all the helpful things in my personal regimen which includes supportive nutritional supplements, smart eating, exercise and optimal hydration and not obsess about missed beats or let them make me anxious if I feel a few from time to time. Do I feel missed beats? Occasionally, sure, but I just think of that as a ‘reset’ and focus on something else to occupy my thoughts… like deep breathing.

There are various stress-reducing techniques that you can learn and then use when you feel missed beats or when
stress begins to make you feel overly anxious and symptomatic. One of the most popular is a EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique which you can learn by watching an online video. At least 5 years ago if not more, EFT was newly popular in this area and I took free instructional classes from a local Physical Therapist. You can do EFT easily and quickly anytime you feel anxious or stressed. It diverts your attention from being anxious over some PACs to being focused, relaxed and calm.

Here’s the link to a description by the PT I used….and at the very end there’s a link to a free tutorial.

Or you can just do a Google search for Tapping or Emotional Freedom Technique and read through the many websites that offer instructions. [www.google.com]

In the class, there were about 12 people and many of them had significant anxiety issues. At the end of the classes, the participants shared their personal experiences regarding improvement and it was eye-opening.

The Tapping focus diverts your attention from thinking… oh my gosh, there goes my heart…will it turn into Afib? … to something entirely relaxing and benign. Your fear over missed beats disappears and you are no longer anxious. Totally mellow. Eventually, the ‘fear’ symptom is not perceived by you to be a nasty threat, but rather one you can “Tap away” and end up with another focus that is relaxing and calming….and moreover, it’s a way to feel ‘in control.’ You have nothing to lose by trying it.

Meditation is also a great way to ‘escape’ from the stresses of the day and again… you can do it easily and it’s highly effective.

Choose relaxing activities and don’t choose that which is too demanding or stressful as it serves no useful purpose. (After all, we are retired now and life should be less complicated.)

Best to you,

Re: Anxiety and the role it plays
December 27, 2017 08:25PM
i always feel i have friends on here who are willing to help a fellow fibber. Over the years Jackie has helped me and so many others on here its incredible Thanks for all the
Ideas and help i have anxiety issues beside afib so it is difficult at time and i dont like to use drugs if possible thanks again to everyone.
Re: Anxiety and the role it plays
December 30, 2017 09:16AM
Steve I concur too with Carey’s suggestion to park the KARDIA in your drawer for a while. It is a very handy tool but overuse beyond the initial intro phase can be a real problem often only feeding and encouraging a neurotic relationship between the device and excessive anxiety. Just try to use it only once on rising or when you notice an arrhythmia, but don’t reach for it every time you get an ectopic beat. Use it sparinglyand focus more on ways to lessen your anxiety to begin with. For Afibbers making getting rid of the AFIB itself is Exhibit A among ways to lessen that core anxiety.

Be well,
Re: Anxiety and the role it plays
January 02, 2018 01:09PM
Oh, do I know about the anxiety issue. Ever since having my first afib this year, I sit awake some nights listening to my beat. I sleep on my side so the heart beat is easily - all too easily - felt. I am driving myself insane with the constant fixation on my heart. My wife is also worried about my new obsession. I just don't know how to get over it.

As far as I understand it, everyone has a skipped beat now and then in life. But whereas I might have dismissed such things in the past, now I hone in on them when they occur. I, too, have the kardia and pull it up every time any hiccup occurs.

I'm afraid to have a glass of wine, which is the biggest problem I'm having, for fear it will send me into afib.

I'm driving myself crazy,.
Re: Anxiety and the role it plays
January 03, 2018 03:56PM
Re: Anxiety and the role it plays
January 04, 2018 10:14AM
Can a Kardia device identify a flutter?
Re: Anxiety and the role it plays
January 05, 2018 09:14PM
Can a Kardia device identify a flutter?

No, not really. It can be suggestive but identifying flutter reliably requires a 12-lead ECG.
Re: Anxiety and the role it plays
January 15, 2018 06:13AM
Everybody get anxious, but you do learn to live with th AF. Stress can be a trigger so try and relax. Think of it as a nuisance rather than a threat. Yes it can be dangerous, it can cause strokes and clots, but mostly it cause one to freak out.
I’ve had it for 15 years, 4-5 times a month, extremely chaotic and fast, HR up to 210 bpm ,nausea,dizziness, chest arm and jaw pain, can faint so need to lie down. Usually around 8 hours on average. If I’m at work I try and go with it,if it gets too bad I go home. Because of my age and medical conditions I’m cautious about ablation and medication doesn’t really help anymore but I do use supplements especially magnesium which is vital. I’m still here and living a relatively good life. I’d like not to have it but right now I’m stuck. I’m telling you this because you have to be proactive. Read, read, read, There is a wealth of information on this site. some very knowledgeable people, tons of articles and ideas. Trial and error, find what suit/helps you. Instead of listening to your heart try you tube and listen to a normal heart beat when you are in bed. There are plenty of extended recordings which you can listen to on your phone or iPad. I also listen to rain or waves on meditation sites.
All the best.
Re: Anxiety and the role it plays
January 28, 2018 04:49PM
Hello...I am new to this site, and I have already found it very helpful. I find the anxiety afib causes is the worst part, just never knowing when it will start. My biggest challenge right now is my son is getting married in august and they have chosen to get married in Las Vegas, we live in Ontario Canada so it will be a 4.5 hour plane ride and I'm very nervous. I have had afib since I was 32 and I am now 53, for the most part I only had episodes once in a blue moon now I have had six since last august, three episodes happening in January alone. How do others cope with flying and afib. Thanks for letting me be part of this site
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