A-Fib patients around the world are reading our A-Fib Alerts September 2016 issue.
Special Signup Bonus: Subscribe HERE and receive discounts codes to save up to 50% off my book, Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to finding Your Cure by Steve S. Ryan, PhD.
We have loads of A-Fib-related videos in our Video Library. For the reader who learns visually through motion graphics, audio, and personal interviews, these short videos are organized loosely into three levels: introductory/basic, intermediate and in-depth/advanced. Click to browse our video library.
Steve Ryan Videos: We’ve edited Steve’s most interesting radio and TV interviews to create several short (3-5 min.) videos. Check out Videos Featuring Steve S. Ryan, PhD, publisher of A-Fib.com.
A Popular Video: ‘Buyer Beware of Misleading or Inaccurate A-Fib Information’
Beware of misleading and incorrect A-Fib information published by reputable sources on the internet and in print media. Steve S. Ryan, PhD, gives three specific examples of why you need to be on the lookout for inaccurate statements about Atrial Fibrillation. 3:59 min. Click to Watch video.
Have you ever wished you could give your doctors an episode of Atrial Fibrillation, just so they would understand what you are going through? That’s what I did in Zurich last week (well, sort of).
I’m back from Zurich, Switzerland, where I was the only patient speaking at the 2-day 2016 Multidisciplinary Arrhythmia Meeting (MAM), a gathering of cardiologists and surgeons from leading institutions in Europe, the US and Asia who treat Atrial Fibrillation.
The Patient’s Point of View
After dinner on the first night, I spoke to a room of 200+ cardiac electrophysiologists (EPs) and surgeons. I was there to help them better understand A-Fib from the patient’s point of view. I focused on the psychological and emotional impact of A-Fib on patients―how the anxiety, fear and stress of the disease can be as bad (or worse) as the physical symptoms.
My Wish: Let Doctors Experience A-Fib for 60-Seconds
I shared my own journey with A-Fib and described my own stress, fear and frustration; then how I did extensive research and found my cure in Bordeaux by a catheter ablation (one of my Bordeaux doctors, Dr. Dipen Shah, was in the audience).
I next shared my wish that each of them could experience an episode of A-Fib for just 60-seconds―it would change their perspective of A-Fib forever. They wouldn’t soon forget the fear (am I going to die?) and anxiety (God, please stop this!).
My Challenge: Be a Resource for Your Patients
Then, I challenged them to go beyond the physical symptoms and help patients deal with their anxiety and fear. Knowledge is empowering so I recommended they personally check out and be ready to recommend at least two books and 2 websites about Atrial Fibrillation. In addition, I suggested they vet at least three psychiatrists who understand A-Fib and who could help patients in need of counseling and medication to address their anxiety.
Being Back in Normal Sinus Rhythm: Life Changing
And finally, I thanked them, on behalf of all the patients they have made A-Fib-free. There are few medical procedures as transformative and life changing as going from A-Fib to Normal Sinus Rhythm. For me, it was getting my life back.
I think I really made an impression. I don’t think anyone had ever talked to these doctors like that before. I hope my efforts will trickle down to helping others with A-Fib.
Multidisciplinary Arrhythmia Meeting 2016
The goal of MAM was to improve interaction between cardiac electrophysiologists (EPs) and surgeons who treat difficult A-Fib cases through a new Hybrid approach. Both a surgeon and an EP work together, one from inside the heart, the other from outside the heart. (Note: In the past, it’s been a rare occurrence for a surgeon to work with a cardiac electrophysiologist.) To learn more about the hybrid approach, see THE HYBRID SURGERY/ABLATION.
I want to thank my host, Dr. Stefano Benussi, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland, for his personal invitation to attend and speak at MAM 2016.
Look For My Reports
I’ll soon be writing reports on the key presentations. Just look for 2016 MAM.
I’m proud to announce the launch of The A-Fib.com Advisory Board.
Since the start of A-Fib.com in 2002, many cardiac electrophysiologists (EP) and surgeons have given me invaluable advice and support. They have helped make our website the ‘go-to’ destination for over 350,000 visitors a year. In fact, for three years running, we’ve been recognized by Healthline.com as a top A-Fib blog.
It’s a great blessing to be able to tap into the knowledge and experience of these talented professionals when writing on a difficult A-Fib subject or to get help for an A-Fib.com reader with a difficult case.
From all regions of the U.S., and from France, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Australia, these doctors may not always agree with all my positions, but they try to point me in the right direction.
The A-Fib.com Advisory Board is my way to publicly thank them and acknowledge their continued support. We invite readers to browse the names of members and their affiliations.
Our new Frequently Asked Questions & Answers (FAQs) is about the heart’s blood pumping capacity after an ablation.
“I’m a life-long runner. I recently got intermittent A-Fib. Does ablation (whether RF or Cryo) affect the heart’s blood pumping output potential because of the destruction of cardiac tissue? And if so, how much? One doc said it does.”
As a fellow runner, I understand your concern on how an ablation might affect your ability to resume your athletic activities.
Seek Your Cure: Keep in mind, with Atrial Fibrillation you lose 15% to 30% of your heart’s normal pumping volume along with lower oxygen levels. Your body and brain aren’t getting the blood and nourishment they need. An catheter ablation is an important way to improve or restore your heart’s pumping volume.
Ablate as Little Tissue as Possible: A common ablation technique for paroxysmal A-Fib (using RF or Cryo), ablates only around the opening of each Pulmonary Vein (PV) and isn’t likely to affect the heart’s output.
On the other hand, more extensive lesion patterns affecting more tissue may affect the heart’s output. For example, during a PV Wide Area Antrum Ablation, instead of just ablating around each of the PV openings, large, oval lesions are made in the left atrium encircling both the upper and lower vein openings.
My Best Advice to Runners with Atrial Fibrillation
For a runner, a more extensive ablation of the left atrium may affect heart output more than circular lesions of each vein opening. …Continue reading my answer…
This is the month we focus on reaching those who may have Atrial Fibrillation and don’t know it.
An estimated 30%−50% of those affected with Atrial Fibrillation are unaware they have it—often only learning about their A-Fib during a routine medical exam.
Of untreated patients, 35% will suffer a stroke. Half of all A-Fib-related strokes are major and disabling.
To spread the word about Atrial Fibrillation, A-Fib.com offers a new infographic to educate and inform the public about this healthcare issue.
See the full infographic here. (Then Share it, Pin it, Download it.)
We’ve posted a new personal experience story. Terry Traver of Thousand Oaks, CA, shares his 15-year battle with A-Fib.
“For over 15 years I suffered with A-Fib. It was not so bad [at first]. I stopped using caffeine and chocolate and cut back on my [alcohol] drinking.
Every three months or so I would have an episode that would last about 15 hours and then I would be fine. Meds never really helped in my case.
A-Fib Progresses to Severe and Incapacitates
In 2011, my A-Fib became severe to the point where I was almost completely incapacitated [Persistent Atrial Fibrillation]. I was not even able to work. …Continue reading Terry’s story…
Are you using the latest AliveCor ‘Kardia™ Mobile’ heart monitor? The current model (Model 1141) has been out since February. I want to update our February 2015 review.
The AliveCor Kardia attaches to an android or Apple device. And by pressing the sensors with your fingers (or thumbs), it capture single-lead, medical-grade EKGs in just 30-seconds. Instantly it shows if your heart rhythm is normal or if atrial fibrillation is detected.
How is the AliveCor Kardia Working for You?
If you are using the AliveCor Kardia, how do you typically use it? Regularly? Or only when you think you’re in A-Fib?
Do you take readings just for your own peace of mind or do you transfer the data to your doctor? Are you satisfied with its performance? Do you recommend the Alivecor Kardia or other brand monitor to others with A-Fib?
Share Your Insights
Do you have first-hand experience? I’m asking any A-Fib.com readers using the latest AliveCor Kardia model to share your product experiences with me. Just send me an Email with your impressions.
Other Heart Monitors: I’m also interested if you are using another brand of handheld heart monitor, such as the BodiMetrics Performance Monitor.
by Steve S. Ryan, PhD
When you develop A-Fib, you have to think seriously about changing your exercising routine. In general, you want to do whatever you can to stay active and exercise normally. Review these articles to help you determine the right choices for you.
1. Exercising During an Episode: “When I’m having A-Fib symptoms, should I go ahead and exercise as I would normally?
2. Returning to “Normal” Exercise Level: “I love to exercise and I’m having a catheter ablation. Can I return to what’s ‘normal’ exercise for me?“
3. Exercise to Improve Circulation: “Is there any way I can improve my circulation, without having to undergo a Catheter Ablation or Surgery?”
Do Whatever You Can to Stay Active
Having Atrial Fibrillation doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising, but you have to be smart about it. (In some people, light exercise helps get them out of an A-Fib attack. In others, like me when I had A-Fib, exercise makes it worse.) Do whatever you can to stay active even though you have A-Fib.
By Patti J. Ryan
Do you struggle with the daily mix of supplements and prescriptions you take? Some are small, but some are horse-pill size! Some you take in the AM, others you take in the PM.
Trying to find the right pill organizer has been a trial for me. Most often the compartments are too small and hard to open.
I Found the Best Organizer
After years of trial and effort, I’ve FINALLY found a great pill organizer―the EZY Dose AM/PM 7-Day Push Button organizer.
This 7-day organizer has two rows for AM/PM dosages with large letters for the days of the week.
Compartments are extra large―about 1 1/8″ wide by 1 3/8″ deep. That’s large enough for those ‘horse pill’ size tablets. The compartments have rounded bottoms― making it effortless to get the pills out. And the cherry on top? Push button lids―easy open and easy close.
Do you carry your meds with you? The EZY Dose is also compact and portable for carrying in your purse or jacket pocket.
Note: If you take pills four times a day, there’s an EZY Dose for you too: 7-Day XL Medtime Planner
Use our Link to Amazon.com and Support A-Fib.com
For my needs, I bought two 7-Day EZY Dose organizers from Amazon.com, so I’m set for two weeks at fill up time.
Use our Amazon.com portal link: Here’s a link to get two EZY Dose AM/PM 7-Day Push Button organizers and Free Amazon Prime shipping. (Purchases through our portal link helps support A-Fib.com―at no extra cost to you!)
The EZY Dose AM/PM 7-Day organizer is also available from other retail and online sources.
In his personal A-Fib.com story, Tom Lisak wrote that his A-Fib disappeared after taking the supplement combination BCAA+G twice a day.
Personally, I take BCAA+G after running and after working out at the gym. (For recommended products: see ‘BCAA+G’ under ‘Natural’ Supplements for a Healthy Heart.)
Branched Chain Amino Acids coupled with L-Glutamine (BCAA+G) helps builds muscle. Athletes and weight lifters use BCAA+G to improve exercise performance and decrease post-exercise soreness and recovery time.
Our body doesn’t naturally manufacture Branched Chain Amino Acids. They’re essential nutrients that the body obtains from proteins found in food. All of your muscles, including your heart, could suffer if you are BCAA-deficient. Continue reading...
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Not a subscriber yet? Special Bonus: Sign up for our A-Fib Alerts and get special discount codes to save up to 50% off my book, Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure, by Steve S. Ryan, PhD.
By Steve S. Ryan, PhD
While not considered “A-Fib specific” like your medications, these minerals and supplements may improve overall heart health and thereby help your Atrial Fibrillation.
Recommendations for Heart Health
For a detailed discussion of these minerals and supplements along with recommended dosages, see our article, ‘Natural’ Supplements for a Healthy Heart. Our seven recommendations are:
For a detailed discussion of these seven nutritional supplements, see our article ‘Natural’ Supplements for a Healthy Heart.
• Coenzyme Q10
• Omega-3 Fish Oils
• Ribose (D-Ribose)
• Hawthorne Berry
Many Sources and My Amazon.com List
These minerals and supplements are available from many reputable retail and online sources. To make shopping easy for you, see my ‘Wish List’ on Amazon.com. (Note: Use any of these Amazon portal links, and your purchases help support A-Fib.com.)
To get you started choosing brands, tablet size and forms of each supplement, we offer you 2 brands that meets our requirements.
Taurine, along with Magnesium and Potassium, have been described as “the essential trio” for treating nutritional deficiencies relating to A-Fib. Taurine protects potassium levels inside the heart, regulates cellular calcium, and improves heart muscle contraction. Suggested products:
Coenzyme’s ability to energize the heart is perhaps its chief attribute; improves heart functions and heart rhythm problems. Coenzyme is a naturally occurring enzyme and plays a key role in producing energy in the mitochondria. “Ubiquinol” is a more readily absorbed form.
L-Carnitine is a vitamin-like nutrient; a derivative of the amino acid lysine which helps to turn fat into energy. Considered by some to be the single most important nutrient in cardiac health. It reduces the incidence of cardiac arrhythmias and premature ventricular contractions (PVCs).
Essential fatty acids like EPA and DHA are considered by some to be natural defibrillators, lessening the incidence of cardiac arrhythmias and A-Fib. Krill Fish Oil 1000 Mg; Essential Fatty Acids (EPA and DHA) make blood platelets less sticky, less likely to form clots (cause of strokes). Some prefer Krill oil to fish oil as it’s exacted from organisms living in pristine deep-water seas.
Ribose increases tolerance to cardiac stress, lowers stress during exercise, and maintains healthy energy levels in heart and muscle. The heart’s ability to maintain energy is limited by one thing—-the availability of Ribose.
Hawthorne Berry reduces tachycardias and palpitations and prevents premature ventricular contractions (PVCs). Hawthorne Berry can energize the heart without prompting arrhythmias. It has a normalizing effect upon the heartbeat. Dosage 300 to 510 Mg
‘Branched Chain Amino Acids’ (BCAA) are critical to the repair and maintenance of strong heart muscle and function. Be sure to get BCCA in combination with L-Glutamine (though challenging to find). We like the powder form. Suggested products:
Note: Mineral supplements may interfere or interact with your prescription medications, so always consult your doctor before adding any supplements to your treatment plan.
Many Physicians are Not Well Versed in Nutritional Support
Don’t expect a lot of support from your doctor. Unfortunately, a great number of doctors are not well versed in recommending or supervising nutritional support. Quite often, they may dismiss your inquiries about nutritional supplements.
You may need to work with (or educate) your doctor to determine the benefit of supplements for your A-Fib health.
Learn about Mineral Deficiencies and Atrial Fibrillation
AliveCor, maker of the Kardia ECG smartphone attachment to detect Atrial Fibrillation, may be a big winner in a plan by the British National Health Service (NHS).
Dr. David Albert, AliveCor founder, said the British plan opens the door to the NHS buying AliveCor devices for all 2 million atrial fibrillation patients in England.
The NHS has announced plans to give millions of patients free health apps & connected health devices in a bid to promote self-management of chronic diseases.
The plan is expected to “save money and lives by preventing strokes.” About 20 percent of British A-Fib patients have strokes. The program will start in April 2017.
The AliveCor Kardia, cleared for use in the US by the FDA, attaches to Android and Apple Devices and by pressing the sensors with your fingers (or thumbs), capture single-lead, medical-grade EKGs in just 30-seconds. Instantly you know if your heart rhythm is normal or if atrial fibrillation (A-Fib) is detected in your EKG. Data can be captured and sent to your doctor.
Request to Our Readers
Is anyone using the latest AliveCor® version, ‘Kardia™ Mobile’? (Model 1141, out since Feb. 2016) I want to update our Feb. 2015 review.
How do you typically use it? Are you satisfied with the performance? Do you transfer the data to your doctor?
Will you share your product experiences with me? Just shoot me an Email with your impressions.
We corresponded recently with Jon who’s been A-Fib free since 2011. He agreed to share his story with our A-Fib.com readers:
“I struggled with A-Fib for almost eight months in the year of 2011. It began in January, and I had episodes of it throughout the year. My episodes weren’t too bad—as in I never had any side effects of the A-Fib like fainting or clotting.
The only real thing I had during the episodes was an irregular heartbeat and a fast heart rate. Being as young as I am and having a family of my own, it was a lot to have on my shoulders.
I wanted the A-Fib gone, and the medication I was taking did not make it go away.
The Power of Prayer
I knew of another way that the A-Fib could go away—by God supernaturally healing me. Well, in August of 2011 I asked the pastors of my church to pray for me that God would heal me. After the Sunday service...”.Continue reading Jon’s story…
A-Fib reduces the amount of blood flowing to the rest of your body by about 15%–30% and can have damaging effects.
That’s because the upper parts of your heart (the atria) aren’t pumping enough blood into the lower chambers of your heart (the ventricles). At the same time, your heart is working progressively harder and harder.
Here’s what can happen to your heart if you choose to just ‘live with Atrial Fibrillation”:
Don’t Just Live With Your A-Fib
Don’t listen to doctors who advise you to ‘live with A-Fib’ and who prescribe a lifetime on medication. Get a second opinion, or even a third! Educate yourself.
Seek your A-Fib cure!
We’ve answered a new FAQ under the category: Understanding Atrial Fibrillation. Thanks to Thomas Scheben for this question:
I have paroxysmal A-Fib and would like to know your opinion on which procedure has the best cure rate.
The best cure rate isn’t the only criteria you should consider when seeking your Atrial Fibrillation cure. Let me first review your top three procedure options: cardioversion, catheter ablation, and surgical Maze/Mini-Maze.
Atrial Fibrillation is not a one-size fits all type of disease.
Electrocardioversion: When first diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation, doctors often recommend an Electrocardioversion to get you back into normal sinus rhythm. But for most patients, their A-Fib returns within a week to a month. (However, you might be lucky like the A-Fib patient who wrote us that he was A-Fib free for 7 years after a successful cardioversion.)
Catheter Ablations: Radio-frequency and CryoBalloon catheter ablations have similar success rates 70%-85% for the first ablation, around 90% is you need a second ablation.
How to achieve these high success rates? It’s crucial you choose the right electrophysiologist (EP)…Continue to read my full answer.