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Joe asked...

Tags: heart

I am 60 years old and suffered my second atrial fibrillation (AF). What is the reason that triggers an AF and what is best to do about it? Thank you.

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The Answer

There are several factors which may trigger an episode of AF - atrial fibrillation, some of which will depend on the cause of the atrial fibrillation. General causes which could trigger an attack include tiredness and fatigue, stress, excess intake of alcohol and excess intake of caffeine. It is recommended that you try to avoid too much caffeine in your diet, rest, take gentle exercise and try to keep alcohol consumption to a minimum.

Other factors which some people have found to trigger an attack include, sleep deprivation, physical illness, strong emotions such as fear, worry or stressful events, and certain over the counter medications, so it would be wise to consult with the pharmacist before buying any of these, particularly decongestants and cold and flu remedies.

If you are finding that your attacks are not being controlled with medication, it is always prudent to consult with your GP about your progress and the frequency and duration of any attacks you experience. Medications can be titrated very often to lower the frequency of these attacks occurring. Depending on the cause of the atrial fibrillation there are other treatment options sometimes applied where appropriate. Cardio version can restore the heart’s natural rhythm and there is also a surgical which can do the same using implantation of a pacemaker device.

Very often the atrial fibrillation can be successfully controlled with medication, so do have a chat with your GP if you continue to be troubled with frequent or prolonged attacks.

Answered by Health at Hand nurses.


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