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Supplements Help Prevent Heart Rhythm Changes

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Q. After 30 years of atrial fibrillation (A-fib), I started taking magnesium, fish oil and vitamin D daily. I think this regimen keeps my A-fib spells down to one every few months, usually triggered by caffeine.

A. Atrial fibrillation requires medical management from a physician. We do NOT want anyone to experience a stroke because of home treatment. Make sure your doctor knows about your supplements. Symptoms of A-fib are not always detectable by the patient. But we're pleased to hear you have been able to reduce your episodes.

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I have had A-fib for years. I've always known when mine hit. It feels like my heart is trying to jump out of my body. I was origionally put on Beta Pace, but then went to the cheaper generic Sotolol. I very seldom have an attack now, and when I do, it is nothing like what it was. Since those of us with A-fib are more prone to strokes, we need to be on blood thinner also.

This is a serious disease, and I think only a qualified Doctor is able tell you what is going to handle your situation. My Doctor is an Electrophysicist. Gambling on over-the-counter remedies could be pretty dangerous.

PEOPLES'S PHARMACY RESPONSE:

We second what Juanita says above. This is a serious condition that requires expert evaluation and treatment!

With regard to articles/comments regarding Atrial Fibrillation, it would be very helpful if the writer is referring to valvular or non-valvular Afib.

My husband suffers with this and is taking pretty much the same as the original poster with success his is also less often now.

I always brag about how healthy I am at age 64 (as of this month). I'm strong and fit with no Rx meds & no major health problems. BUT, I do have to admit I've had what I THINK is A-fib for a couple of years now. Seems it happens ALL THE TIME, especially at night. I've got very "good numbers" (BP, cholesterols, etc.) -- and I eat exquisitely well, a very heart-healthy and low-inflammation diet of mainly fruits, veggies, legumes and whole grains. BUT, I've drunk about 3 alcoholic drinks per day for years and years as I'm quite high-strung. The alcohol intake is very stable, and I never drink more than one drink at any time. I also drink green tea (caffeinated) off and on all day.

When I read up on A-fib, it always says stuff like "nothing to be that concerned about," and "probably won't hurt you," etc. Also says A-fib is usually caused by caffeine, alcohol or anxiety (BINGO). It also says A-fib usually means a "racing" heart. Well, mine doesn't really race as much as it's VERY UNEVEN, in both the rate and also the (perceived) strength of the beat.

Here's what I'm trying to find out now: Is there a difference between "A-fib" and just "irregular" heartbeat? Should I make it a priority to get rid of the caffeine &/or alcohol (which I do love)? Is it better that the problem is caused by KNOWN factors so at least it's not some insidious "heart disease??" Could the known factors (caffeine, alcohol and anxiety) CREATE a more serious heart disease all by themselves?

I have to research all this myself because I have never had health insurance and so always have had to be my own doctor. And these days I cannot find a job and am utterly, totally broke, so a "real" MD is totally out of the question.

Any help or advice would be appreciated!

That's all well and good if the medication doesn't do you in first. I speak with unfortunate experience. My body reaction to the blood thinners and heart beat regulators was really awful and I'm still suffering from severe muscle aches months after. There are weird people out there like me who simply cannot take most medications!

If anyone has ideas of how to get rid of the muscle aches, please let me know!

What did work for the A-fibs was Ablation. I had lots of pieces of nerve nodes on the top of my heart, probably from an auto accident where the shoulder harness damaged my heart. The first Cardioversion (shock treatment) didn't work so they did an Ablation (destroyed the excess nodes) and the A-fibs and Tachycardia still went on. After another Cardioversion, my heart is finally in rhythm. My heart rate isn't the low normal 45-54 it has been for most of my adult life but the procedure worked and the heart rate is acceptable!

One thing I might suggest is that folks who have Atrial Fibrillation pay particular attention to what you ate or drank before the A-fibs begin. Since the auto accident I have kept track and it was mostly the food additives that would set me off. I tried to be careful when eating out but of course sometimes I got bad stuff. When the A-fibs were continuous for over six months the cardiologist decided to take extreme action. Praise the Lord my heart is finally peaceful.

Do not — I repeat, NOT — depend on supplements to self-manage A-fib! Mine remained hard to control despite medications and I suffered a mild but still-scary stroke last summer. My electrophysiologist recommended an ablation, which I had last October, and so far I've stayed in rhythm. I would not dream of trying to manage this condition on my own, and no one else should. It's not worth the stroke risk.

After a disastrous encounter with pharmaceuticals used for my first bout of A-Fib associated with valvular heart disease and enlarged left atrium, I have managed my A-Fib for almost two years using the same supplements as the original posting (flax oil because I am a vegetarian) along with Dr Stephen Sinatra's "awesome foursome" which includes CoQ10, carnitine & ribose - the latter two added this year with greatly increased exercise tolerance. The CoQ10 is likely to ease muscle symptoms. He uses nattokinase from fermented soy as a clot buster.

Intermittent A-Fib is actually a higher risk factor for stroke so it is important to use some kind of anticoagulant. Studies show that sotolol is particularly bad for women so it is not a good antiarrhythmic if you are female. Long term it is important to know about "stiff heart", a problem that is insidious and brews for years and does not show up on EKG. The awesome foursome addresses this diastolic dysfunction which is associated with the greater energy needs of hearts with wonky valves.

This year I started using the People's Pharmacy recommended Certo in grape juice for arthritis symptoms and I suspect that may help with muscle aches & pains too. Ablation first used in Europe has proven to be a "for now" fix because the cells that are being zapped (in atrial muscle that extends up into the pulmonary veins) proliferate - they grow back. There are many reasons to use natural remedies one of which is you get to avoid all the sub-diseases associated with pharmaceuticals. There are integrative MDs such as Dr Sinatra who have extensive experience and Andrew Wile of the University of Arizona Integrative Medicine program has lots of info posted at his site DrWile.com. There are also a lot of natural medicine practitioners who have expertise, the trick being to find one with a good track record.

To Cindy,

I know what it's like not to have health Insurance. I went without it for quite awhile several years ago and developed some serious medical problems.

I finally had to go on Welfare until I could find a job. Is this something you could do for awhile? You may not want to, but, your health is very important and I think you should really be checked by a Doctor, just to be sure it is nothing serious. I wish you the best.

I have had irregular heart beat for years. It races, thumps, jumps. Some time ago it continued for months. Then it stopped for a while. Now it back once or twice a week and stays for about a whole day. I depend on natural supplements like, Turmeric, Cayenne, L Carnitine, Alpha Lipoic. The condition is uncomfortable, but I do not trust allopathy, since it do not cure, but treat symptoms. If we all work together, and continue research, we may come up with something really good.

People really aught to be in consistent consultation. One thing thing that seems to be a factor in patient success rates is whether or not they receive consistency in their Consultation.

After years of trying to control my atrial fibrillation with supplements, acupuncture, and medication, I am scheduled to have a catheter ablation in a few weeks. I'd appreciate any information on recovery from this procedure and/or your personal experience with it, including the success or lack of success with it.

ABT, it has now been two years since my ablation and I am still good. Make sure the Dr. that does it has a LOT of experience and good recommendations.

My pulse rate is back to my normal, 55-60, and the blood pressure is usually good. I am on no meds at all other than progesterone, natural thyroid and testosterone cream. I am disabled so have some bad pain days and my pressure does go up during those times.

There was virtually no recovery for me after the ablation. It was a big "ah ha" for my body and my heart is now happy and settled.

One thing I did have to deal with was some pain but I quickly discovered that it was from inflammation. I am very sensitive to all kinds of metals and plastics and I'm sure the four hours during the procedure was a stress. I took Anatabloc for several months and the inflammation settled down.

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