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  1. #126
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=skydive69]
    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    From my listserv on AFib - the worst scenario seems to be for those folks who pop back in and out of AFib (paroxysmal). Those folks in NSR (normal sinus rhythm) dread when they go into AFib and will do practically anything to avoid it, including all sorts of special diets, etc. They get dizzy, strange feelings, shortness of breath, etc.
    QUOTE]

    Good point. I know that it was not a fun experience as a guy with a resting heart beat of 44 to suddenly be 100 beats above that exacerbated by an irregular rhythm. I must admit I am not excited about the feeling of wondering and waiting to see if and/or when I might suffer another episode.
    The chances are pretty good you will go into AFib. You might consider some of the factors which might help to stay out of AFib:

    1. No caffeine of any kind - that means chocolate, even decaf coffee which contains some caffeine. Also, epinephrine type cold remedies and similar.

    2. Is there ANY possibility of sleep apnea? I had NONE of the typical symptoms, except my cardiologist picked up on two things a) The echocardiogram showed mild pulmonary hypertension; and b) the veins at the side of my neck are raised more than normal. Also, the very fact of my having AFib correlated strongly with SA.

    3. Hypertension is likely the number one factor for AFib.

    4. Size - the bigger the heart, the more chance of AFib. All whales have AFib, no mice do. Overweight is not good, so while you can't reduce your body size or your heart size, you can lose weight.

    5. Some folks on the AFib list drink or no dairy products????

    6. You might consider some of the drugs which DO tend to keep you out of AFib.

    7. Once you have had an AFib episode, it is likely you will have more.

    8. Stress - a MAJOR factor in AFib. I have had so much stress over the years, that I am surprised I am still alive! Last year I simply walked out the door of a pretty good job and never returned - the stress was intolerable. But, it had already damaged my body.

    Just some good (?) thoughts for you!
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  2. #127
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Fox:

    Thanks for the great list of information. The emergency room sent me home with an informational packet that did mention some of what you said - particularly in regards to avoiding caffeine (chocolate) and alcohol.

    The day of my AFib, I was undergoing a particularly stressful day. The year before, I also lost my job when my company went out of business. That had happened to me once before when I lost a 25 year career as an Eastern Airlines pilot when the company went bankrupt in 1991.

    I do take drugs for hypertension, but control it nicely. I am 5' 11", 155 pounds with a 30 inch waist. I am in great shape, but as you say, AFib often strikes athletes.

    I know in my heart (no pun intended) that one episode enhances your odds tremendously for further episodes, but maybe Santa does exist.

    It is great to have a forum where these things can be discussed.

    Not sure about the apnea, BTW, I have no evidence of it, but of course that means nothing.
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  3. #128
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    It is great to have a forum where these things can be discussed.
    Sadly, not all agree with you. I guess we are supposed to be "superhuman" bicyclists our whole life with no physical problems! Don't we wish!

    I am not a happy camper this am.

    So far, the diagnosis and treatment for my "Sleep Apnea" has resulted in 5 nights with little or no sleep. Going to call the doc this am and loudly complain. Something has to change. Been up since 3:30 am.

    Seems to me like I am going backwards here.

    On the positive side, my blood pressure is doing great - why?
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  4. #129
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    Sadly, not all agree with you. I guess we are supposed to be "superhuman" bicyclists our whole life with no physical problems! Don't we wish!

    I am not a happy camper this am.

    So far, the diagnosis and treatment for my "Sleep Apnea" has resulted in 5 nights with little or no sleep. Going to call the doc this am and loudly complain. Something has to change. Been up since 3:30 am.

    Seems to me like I am going backwards here.

    On the positive side, my blood pressure is doing great - why?
    You did seem up a bit early. There is nothing worse than sleep deprivation - I simply don't function well with little sleep. I just love hammering with the young cycle studs, but we old farts need our rest to do so!

    You would think your BP would be negatively impacted by the lack of sleep and hence the cortisol released into your system from stress, etc.

    BTW, high BP was the most difficult thing for me to accept. I was an ex national running champion, and an airline pilot who took 4 physical exams a year. Physicians would often comment on my extraordinarily low BP. One day during a physical, the nurse said that my BP was elevated. I knew it was a momentary fluke, and when I finally saw the doctor, I asked him to personally take it. It was elevated, and there started the adventure into high BP land.

    BTW, is the sleeplessness due to wearing apnea defeating devices?
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  5. #130
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skydive69
    In that you went out of AF without drugs, I am curious as to why your cardiologist put you on drugs with only one event. I had an event about three weeks ago, but went back to normal in a couple of hours. I have my fingers crossed in that I am not anxious to take drugs.
    I will be reviewing that very issue with the Docs in a week or so... I was not entirely with out drugs when I went back into sinus, they had been injecting my IV with drugs to slow my heart rate for a couple hours, then elected to watch the results.

    They were on the verge of shocking me when I converted.

  6. #131
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec
    I will be reviewing that very issue with the Docs in a week or so... I was not entirely with out drugs when I went back into sinus, they had been injecting my IV with drugs to slow my heart rate for a couple hours, then elected to watch the results.

    They were on the verge of shocking me when I converted.
    Keep us in the loop. I had an IV attached in the ER, but went back to normal before they shot me up with drugs.
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  7. #132
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    If anyone will give me your emails by PM, or DnvrFox@aol.com, I will send you a current and lengthy article on AFib, which is too long for private forum mail. I already sent one to Skydive69 email.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  8. #133
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Thanks Fox - very informative (albeit scary) article. It seemed so uncomplicated until I read that article.
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  9. #134
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skydive69
    Thanks Fox - very informative (albeit scary) article. It seemed so uncomplicated until I read that article.
    I just sent you an informed and comforting response.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  10. #135
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    I just sent you an informed and comforting response.
    Yes it was on both accounts! One question. You allude to a prolonged period of undiagnosed AFib. Does it sometimes manifest itself in such a way that it is not completely obvious as was my one experience?
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  11. #136
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skydive69
    Yes it was on both accounts! One question. You allude to a prolonged period of undiagnosed AFib. Does it sometimes manifest itself in such a way that it is not completely obvious as was my one experience?
    Well, I allude to nothing as I didn't write the article!

    But, yes, it is my understanding that it may manifest itself in different ways. However, I don't REALLY know, as mine manifests itself all the time. One of the docs I worked with mentioned "silent AFib" to me.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  12. #137
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    Well, I allude to nothing as I didn't write the article!

    But, yes, it is my understanding that it may manifest itself in different ways. However, I don't REALLY know, as mine manifests itself all the time. One of the docs I worked with mentioned "silent AFib" to me.
    True, but it is difficult for me to conceive of non diagnosed AFib based on my experience, but then again if there is truly silent AFib, I guess it is possible.
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  13. #138
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Slept all night with the CPAP!! Never thought I would do it. Went to sleep in my easy chair with the CPAP on, slept several hours - which I don't usually do in my easy chair - that in itself is interesting - then moved me and the CPAP to the bed and slept some more. Was it perfect? No. Was it adequate - yes. Just the confidence that I CAN do it is a tremendous step forward!

    Now we are awaiting the ins co authorization for the oxygen concentrator rental, and we can really see if, just perhaps, this treatment, along with losing weight and lower blood pressure (by the way, the BP is WAY down the last week or so) might reverse the AFib.

    Certainly worth a shot, and besides, has lots of other positive effects on the body.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  14. #139
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    Slept all night with the CPAP!! Never thought I would do it. Went to sleep in my easy chair with the CPAP on, slept several hours - which I don't usually do in my easy chair - that in itself is interesting - then moved me and the CPAP to the bed and slept some more. Was it perfect? No. Was it adequate - yes. Just the confidence that I CAN do it is a tremendous step forward!

    Now we are awaiting the ins co authorization for the oxygen concentrator rental, and we can really see if, just perhaps, this treatment, along with losing weight and lower blood pressure (by the way, the BP is WAY down the last week or so) might reverse the AFib.

    Certainly worth a shot, and besides, has lots of other positive effects on the body.
    Super!
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  15. #140
    Jungle lady cbhungry's Avatar
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    yes, that's great!
    Ride forever, work whenever.
    XX power
    Eat more mud, mountain bike 'till you die!

    http://www.pnhp.org/

  16. #141
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Journeyed to Colorado Springs today to visit with Christopher Cole, MD, trained at the Cleveland Clinic (CC), who is doing the trials for the new technique of cryogenic ablation, along with a couple of other sites in the USA.

    After usual EKG, filling out reams of medical history, etc., and meeting with the aide and the NP, we got to talk.

    Some thoughts:

    1. The success rate for the first cryogenic trial (done less than 6 months) ago is 50%.

    2. We discussed about the two techniques - the one similar to a MAZE procedure and the PVI, which is used at CC. He stated that he is moving more towards the modified MAZE, along with the guy at Michigan (morardi or something like that), but the CC is still using the PVI. The EP that I consulted here in Denver believes that the modified MAZE is the procedure of the future.

    3. Dr. Cole worked with and was trained directly by Natale.

    4. Dr. Cole stated that the success rate on first ablation at CC was 70-80%, and higher for those that failed the first but had a 2nd.

    Okay - I am going to get my name on the wait list for CC, but in the interim, I am going to see if the treatment for sleep apnea in itself reverses the AFib. Dr. Cole felt there was a possibility that this could happen, especially if helped with a cardioversion.

    Right now, I am going to get on with my life!

    Thanks
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  17. #142
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update Fox!
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

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    Sleep w/o a doubt helps relieve this. I've had it most of my life to varying degrees, sometimes bad enough that i feel i may pass out. Been a while since thats happened tho. In any case, sleep seems to make a huge difference for me.

    but i wanted to mention something that may help. About 6-7 years ago i had been going thru this 24/7 for months and it was getting intolerable to concentaret on living. i began taking 400 units a day of vitamin E. I kid you not, it stopped completely ! The unfortunate part for me is that for whatever reason after about 3 or 4 years the E stopped working and the problems re-ocurred. they haven't been as bad since tho. But it may be worth a shot for anyone with these types of problems. I hear 400 is a bit much, but i don't think it caused me any problems. The 200 unit caps may be a better choice to be safe, tho whether that would be enough i don't know. Anyway, just thought i'd chime in and maybe help someone with this advice.
    I keep telling my lungs this is a normal healthy activity, but they just won't listen.

  19. #144
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dazco
    Sleep w/o a doubt helps relieve this. I've had it most of my life to varying degrees, sometimes bad enough that i feel i may pass out. Been a while since thats happened tho. In any case, sleep seems to make a huge difference for me.

    but i wanted to mention something that may help. About 6-7 years ago i had been going thru this 24/7 for months and it was getting intolerable to concentaret on living. i began taking 400 units a day of vitamin E. I kid you not, it stopped completely ! The unfortunate part for me is that for whatever reason after about 3 or 4 years the E stopped working and the problems re-ocurred. they haven't been as bad since tho. But it may be worth a shot for anyone with these types of problems. I hear 400 is a bit much, but i don't think it caused me any problems. The 200 unit caps may be a better choice to be safe, tho whether that would be enough i don't know. Anyway, just thought i'd chime in and maybe help someone with this advice.
    It may or may not work, but I have been taking 400 units of E daily for at least 30 years, and I sufferred my first (and with great luck, my last) event of AFib about 5 weeks ago.
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  20. #145
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    hello
    i will be going in on manday to have an av ablation to correct tachycardia. last week on a 90 minute bike ride my heart rate was over 200 4 times and as high as 225. at my age that is way to high. i already have the pacemaker so the ablation is all that is required monday. benifits are not the tired feeling all the time, can get off the beta blockers and get back to somewhat nsr. the atriun will still be in a-fib but the signals will not reach the lower chambers. will advise results next week.
    thanks

  21. #146
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dharleyd
    hello
    i will be going in on Monday to have an av ablation to correct tachycardia. last week on a 90 minute bike ride my heart rate was over 200 4 times and as high as 225. at my age that is way to high. i already have the pacemaker so the ablation is all that is required monday. benifits are not the tired feeling all the time, can get off the beta blockers and get back to somewhat nsr. the atriun will still be in a-fib but the signals will not reach the lower chambers. will advise results next week.
    thanks
    Good luck, hope all goes well. We will be thinking about you.

    I am in contact both with the Cleveland Clinic and with Marin County General Hospital in San Francisco. Dr. Natale (The world's expert in Atrial Fibrillation ablations) does the PVI ablation procedure in both locations and is the consulting Medical Director for the EP lab at the Marin County General Hospital.

    The soonest I can get in for the procedure in Cleveland is about December, 2005. I can get in to see Dr. Natale in SF in August. I would much prefer SF to Cleveland, as my faimly is in CA. The procedure takes just one night in the hospital and one night in a nearby close Hotel.

    So, that is our current plan.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 02-19-05 at 03:49 PM.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  22. #147
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    I just stumbled upon this thread as I am a newbie on the 50+ forum. Read every post and found it quite compelling. Keep up the detailed reporting DnvrFox the chronicle you have provided and the discussion it provokes may indeed help others. Plus it must act as some form of therapy for you to vent and express and I would guess this is one reason you have kept it up.

    I found your post about your first night in the sleep testing centre both hilarious (I am sure it wasn't at the time but you describe it really well) and saddening, especially to hear about all the hardship you and your wife have had to endure with health related issues in your family. Who said life was fair? But is has to go on and we have to make the best of it and can overcome almost anything with a good attitude. My mother suffered with one of the most advanced cases of MS for 25 years until her death at age 59. My father took care of her at home (while working) so I know 1st hand what illness in the family is like. In fact never a day goes by that I don't stop and reflect how lucky I am not to have these issues to deal with in my life (at least for now). All the other problems of life seem trivial when compared to illness.

    I had a weird tachycardia event about 2 years ago which people who follow this thread may find interesting.

    I was alone in the house around supper time, and had eaten a pita bread sandwich too fast. I was also in a reclining position on my side on the bed watching TV in our bedroom. You know that feeling of a knot in your sternum when you eat something too fast? Usually takes a minute or 2 to pass but is very uncomfortable.

    Well that is what happened to me that evening, but the feeling did not pass. What did happen though within about 4 minutes of eating was a heartbeat from hell. Out of nowhere my heart started to race a million miles an hour, at a much higher rate than at my peak performance i.e. busting a lung up a mountain.

    I tried to relax and calm down, but it didn't change. Then I started to get worried and looked around to see where the phone was in case I had to call 911. It was not near the bed, I had to get up to get the cordless and bring it near my side. Still didn't get any better and was about to call for an ambulance.

    I started to feel light headed, like you do when you stand up too quickly. I did a dumb thing and went to the bathroom in our bedroom to get a glass of water to try to wash down what I had eaten, it wasn't really stuck it was just there.

    One second I am standing in the bathroom (it's a small one, no shower or tub), next thing I am face down spread eagled on the floor. Miracle I didn't crack my skull on the toilet bowl. I knew that I came to almost as soon as I hit the floor, but that was the first (and only time I hope) that I had ever fainted. Still had the crazy heart rate (it was a good 15 minutes at this point) and managed to get back to the bed with the phone in my hand ready to call for help.

    Then just as quickly as my heart rate shot up, it returned to normal. It was a moment of relief but immediately a type of panic set in. While it was happening I was so focused on surviving, that I did not worry, I was only thinking of what I needed to do so that I didn't croak then and there. Going to the bathroom while dizzy like that was in hindsight really stupid.

    Once I was stabilized HR wise I wanted to go the ER to get checked out in case I was having an MI or something. I thought of driving myself, didn't want to have the whole production of an ambulance when I was feeling ok and at that moment my son arrived. He took me to the ER and I made him go home, why wait hours on end and I was feeling fine by then, just worried.

    They treated me ok in ER, saw a triage nurse (1st line) who took my statement then my BP (it was surprising low she said even though it was 140/95) given the circumstances and she said they would do an ekg just in case. I was freaking out that I wasn't being seen quickly enough and that they were not taking blood for "enzymes" etc. The ekg was done within 10 minutes of the triage and it showed normal and then I waited a few hours to see the on call doc who after examining me said that he had heard of (but never seen) a tachycardia (abnormal very rapid heart rate) triggered by pressure to the chest. In essence whatever I had scoffed down had stuck in my esophagus and the funny angle I was reclining at was enough to trigger this type of pressure reaction.
    The fainting was due to low blood pressure cause by the tachycardia.

    I went the next day to my family doctor and a few months later was checked out by a cardiologist and given a clean bill of health. Never had it happen again.

    Talk about weird.

    My dad was a lifelong very high hypertensive who had a "mild" MI at age 70 that resulted in afib. So I know all about INR, coumadin, heparin, fractions, etc.

    Best of luck.
    Last edited by BaadDawg; 02-19-05 at 05:33 PM.

  23. #148
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Keep up the detailed reporting DnvrFox the chronicle you have provided and the discussion it provokes may indeed help others. Plus it must act as some form of therapy for you to vent and express and I would guess this is one reason you have kept it up
    .

    I keep "feeding" this thread, despite some rather extreme criticism, because I was one of those who felt I was invincible, (as I have noticed many in this forum also feel) and at times scoffed internally at others who had problems.

    I mean, I walked, I rode centuries, I weight lifted, etc., etc. Nothing could happen to me! But within a short 3 years, I had Trigeminal Neuralgia, Atrial Fibrillation, Sleep Apnea and continuing, increasing hypertension.

    So, I write as a reminder that NONE OF US are invincible, and that what I am dealing with is the most common heart ailment in existence, and YES, life goes on even with these problems, and, despite all, I rode 4,000 miles last year.

    I hope it has some meaning to a small percentage of folks out there.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  24. #149
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Well, count me in as a member of the AFib club. It was 15 years ago (age 37) and the doctors never figured out what triggered it but I did. Nothing like a huge dose of chocolate Easter candy along with a LOT of Michelob Lights to get the ticker out of rhytm. It also happened just 2 weeks after my last child was born-had my wife worried sick. My heart rate was in the 160's and I'd have to grab a wall while I was standing up to keep from keeling over as every once in a while I'd get very dizzy.

    The good news was the heart cath showed very clear arteries. I've been taking calcium blockers ever since and have not had any repeat occurrences. I quit caffeinated drinks-no tea or soft drinks- but still hit the chocolate pretty heavy.

    All of this was before I started riding just 3 years ago, though. I couldn't imagine riding while have a bout with AFib.

    I would think that would be asking for trouble--potentially a bad stroke........

  25. #150
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    All of this was before I started riding just 3 years ago, though. I couldn't imagine riding while have a bout with AFib.

    I would think that would be asking for trouble--potentially a bad stroke........
    I have permanent AFib - all the time. I do not even notice it any more, and the heart rate is controlled by beta blockers, and any potential stroke concern from blood pooling in the atria is controlled by coumadin.

    Doc is completely aware of what I do and encourages it. "Exercise is good." In fact, I have had two cardiologists and two electrophysiolgists applaud my bike riding, weight lifting and walking.

    I don't quite understand why you would think exercise, stroke and AFib would go together, except for the pooling of blood from the atrial quiver?
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

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