3.10 pm Sat 7th Sept 13
Re Atrial Fibrillation
I am 61, and am an outdoors person walking dogs on my farm, and fit and not overweight and enjoy organic food and healthy diet.
However, I retired (financial services) at Xmas, and am selling our family home farm - i.e. quite stressed out - and fainted (first time ever) one evening - only for a few seconds, in front of my wife and dropped to the floor dazed - soon after retiring, and have been diagnosed with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.
I am asymptomatic, since I do not know when I am in AF, and for this reason may have had an irregular heartbeat for many years.
Looking back I believe this has been caused by stress, though my father had a heart problem from age 59, and took drugs including Warfarin until he died, after several small strokes, at 82.
I have been prescribed 2.5 mg Biosoprolol, which I did not take at first (in May), since I do not like drugs.
Instead, I researched on the internet, and changed my life style and took constitutional supplements. Thus, I stopped drinking my one whiskey per day, and over 12 cups of tea (which has amphetamines) and say 1 cup of coffee to reduce caffeine, and changed to non-fluoride toothpaste, which I understand inhibits magnesium absorption, a significant mineral for the heart. I am also taking antioxidants, DHA and EHA fish oil, ginger, garlic and magnesium/calcium/zinc tablets, and homeopathic Arnica – all of which have favourable supporting – real life – AF patient testimonies.
My blood pressure is sound – lower than the normal 120/80.
However, I then had a 6 day cardiac monitor test, and was advised by my cardiologist (2nd visit - 10 days ago, who I advised fully the above account) – that my paroxysmal AF was now more persistent – reaching into 145 +beats /minute, and I must take this beta blocker drug and increase it to 5mg after a week, and if my heartbeat is still irregular to have a Cardiac Version in 6 weeks’ time to try and regulate my heartbeat. To prepare for the CVersion, I would need to take Warfarin for 4 to 5 weeks prior to this – i.e. now, so as to avoid potential clotting as a result of the electrical stimulation.
Nevertheless, should the drug therapy work meanwhile, then the C Version would not be necessary – since both the drug therapy and/or electrical shock treatment aim is the same, namely to put the heart back to a normal sinus rhythm heartbeat.
2 days ago, I had an ECG check-up, and was fortunately back into normal sinus rhythm, after taking the drug for less than a week.
My GP has phoned me to say the CVersion as a result will now be cancelled, and no Warfarin is thus needed, but that I should stay on this dose for life, without needing for the present to go to 10 mgs/day.
I said to him, that I had discussed with the Cardiologist that should the drug work, could I wean myself off it after a few months, to see if my sinus rhythm is still maintained. He said yes, since once the heart beats regularly, e.g. after a CVersion, then often this will last for a few months or several years before another C Version is required – especially for younger patients than me – though because I was fit, I also stood a good chance.
My GP agreed but said to take it for say 6 months, since I did not seem to suffer any side effects (e.g. lethargy, weight gain, numbness and nightmares/sleeplessness), and this might help the heart to effectively get used to the normal electrical pathway to control my heart beat again.
I intend to continue with my holistic remedies and life style changes as summarised above, and hopefully have a good rest and long family vacation once I have sold the farm – so as to completely let the stress out, and to continue with a good exercise regime, e.g. swimming once a week and daily outdoor walking, tennis etc.
Given the above, my question to you is as a cardiac specialist – from an orthodox medicine viewpoint, would you draw my attention to the use of other drugs e.g. Flecainide - used to treat arrhythmias within the heart (where there is no degenerative problem diagnosed with the heart itself), such as myself. I say this since an article in the press described its use by Prof. Schilling of Barts and London Bridge hospital for an Olympic British rower – suffering from a fast heartbeat, who went onto win gold.
Also are you happy with using holistic remedies to complement the orthodox approach.
Is there anything else you would do in my shoes.