ABOUT 'BEAT YOUR A-FIB'...


"This book is incredibly complete and easy-to-understand for anybody. I certainly recommend it for patients who want to know more about atrial fibrillation than what they will learn from doctors...."

Pierre Jaïs, M.D. Professor of Cardiology, Haut-Lévêque Hospital, Bordeaux, France

"Dear Steve, I saw a patient this morning with your book [in hand] and highlights throughout. She loves it and finds it very useful to help her in dealing with atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Wilber Su Cavanaugh Heart Center, Phoenix, AZ

"Your book [Beat Your A-Fib] is the quintessential most important guide not only for the individual experiencing atrial fibrillation and his family, but also for primary physicians, and cardiologists."

Jane-Alexandra Krehbiel, nurse, blogger and author "Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness"



ABOUT A-FIB.COM...


"Steve Ryan's summaries of the Boston A-Fib Symposium are terrific. Steve has the ability to synthesize and communicate accurately in clear and simple terms the essence of complex subjects. This is an exceptional skill and a great service to patients with atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Jeremy Ruskin of Mass. General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

"I love your [A-fib.com] website, Patti and Steve! An excellent resource for anybody seeking credible science on atrial fibrillation plus compelling real-life stories from others living with A-Fib. Congratulations…"

Carolyn Thomas, blogger and heart attack survivor; MyHeartSisters.org

"Steve, your website was so helpful. Thank you! After two ablations I am now A-fib free. You are a great help to a lot of people, keep up the good work."

Terry Traver, former A-Fib patient

"If you want to do some research on AF go to A-Fib.com by Steve Ryan, this site was a big help to me, and helped me be free of AF."

Roy Salmon Patient, A-Fib Free; pacemakerclub.com, Sept. 2013


medical id card

Print a free Medical Alert I.D. Wallet Card

Do you carry an emergency medical alert I.D. card? When you have A-Fib and you’re taking a blood thinner or other medications, you may want to carry your medical information.

Free Online Medical ID Wallet Card Generator

MedIDs.com offers a free online generator tool for a fully customized medical info wallet card. Go to Free Printable Medical ID Cards, type in your information and print. (Note: none of your personal information is stored on their website.) Trim the paper and fold to fit your wallet or purse. Add a label, “In Case of Emergency” (ICE). A Few More Tips:

• Laminate your wallet card to prolong its use (an office supply store can help you).
• Why not print a card for each member of your family?
• If you also wear a medic alert bracelet, inscribe it with the message “See wallet card”.

Money clip from Universal Medical Data

Money clip from Universal Medical Data

Additional Ways to Carry Your Emergency Medical Alert ID Information

There are many new styles of Medic Alert IDs bracelets and necklace pendants using different materials like waterproof foam, leather and stainless steel. Don’t carry a wallet? Consider a Money clip with compartment to slide in your emergency contact info.

USB bracelet from Medical Alert Drives

USB bracelet from Medical Alert Drives

Or, if you carry a paper-based day planner or calendar, add the same information to your address book.

For much more information about what and how to carry your emergency medical information, see our A-Fib.com article, Your Portable Medical Information Kit. 

FAQs from Newly Diagnosed Patient

You are not alone. A-Fib.comFrequently Asked Questions by Newly Diagnosed Patients

Newly diagnosed Atrial Fibrillation patients have many questions about living with A-Fib. These are answers to the most frequently asked questions by patients and their families. (Click on the question to jump to the answer)

1.  My doctor says I had an attack of A-Fib. How much trouble am I in?

2.  Did I cause my Atrial Fibrillation? Am I responsible for getting A-Fib?

3.  “Could my A-Fib go away on its own? I don’t want to take any medication. Can I just wait and see?”

4.  “Is Atrial Fibrillation a prelude to a heart attack?

5.  “Can I die from my Atrial Fibrillation? Is it life threatening?”

6.  “Is Atrial Fibrillation curable? Or can you only treat or control it? Should I seek a cure?

7.  “Is there a diet I could follow which would cure my A-Fib?

8.  “Should I cool my sex life? Can I exercise if I have Atrial Fibrillation? Should I exercise?

9.  “I have a lot of stress at work. Does this stress cause or trigger my A-Fib?”

10. “Can I drive my car if I have Atrial Fibrillation?

11. “Is drinking coffee (tea, colas, other products with caffeine) going to make my A-Fib worse or trigger an A-Fib attack?

12. “Is there anything I can do to get out of an A-Fib episode? How do others deal with their episodes?

13. “Should I carry a wallet card or a medical ID? I have A-Fib and take Coumadin. In case of an A-Fib emergency, what information should I include?

14. “I live in fear of my A-Fib. I never know when I’m going to get an A-Fib attack or how long it will last. How do I deal with the anxiety? 

15. “Should I see a cardiologist for my A-Fib and not just my primary care doctor? He wants to prescribe medication. Should I also see a specialist?”

Last updated: Monday, July 13, 2015

Return to Frequently Asked Questions

Your Personal A-Fib Medical Summary

Your Personal Medical Summary

Your Personal Medical Summary

Your Personal A-Fib Medical Summary

by Patti J. Ryan

Doctors appreciate knowledgeable, informed, and prepared patients. Each doctor will probably ask you much the same questions. For efficiency, prepare your ‘Personal A-Fib Medical Summary’ and include a copy with each packet of medical records you send to doctors.

In their special report Atrial Fibrillation: The Latest Management Strategies, Drs. Calkins and Berger suggest before your appointment that you prepare answers to the following questions about your Atrial Fibrillation.

•  What particular symptoms are bothering you?
•  When did you first begin to experience these symptoms?
•  Did you start taking any new vitamins, supplements, or prescription drugs before the onset of symptoms?
•  Are these symptoms paroxysmal (occasional or intermittent, beginning and stopping on their own), or persistent (present all the time, or lasting at least a week at a time continuously)?
•  On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being little of no bother and 5 being severely bothersome, how would you rate your symptoms?
•  Is there anything that appears to worsen your symptoms?
•  Is there anything that appears to lessen your symptoms?

Include other pertinent information such as names and contact information for doctors you see regularly and why. Type up your summary and attach a copy to each set of medical records you send to doctors. And add a copy to your three-ring binder.

Healthcare trend: ‘The Personal Health Record’ (PHR)

There is growing momentum to encourage consumers to take another health-related step: to maintain their own health records.

The idea behind the personal health record (PHR) is that the more consumers know about their health, the more control they will take over it and the healthier they will be. PHRs also encourage consumers to collect and share more health-related information with each of their providers. For this reason, healthcare providers, employers, insurers, vendors, and the federal government are all interested inpromotingPHRs.

What is a personal health record (PHR)?

Shoe pocket by Vital ID;  Your Portable Medical Information Kit

Shoe pocket by Vital ID

USB credit card-size by ER Card

Credit card-size USB by ER Card

A personal health record (PHR) is a means of storing, managing, and sharing your personal medical information. PHRs can be paper based or electronic. Electronic records can be kept on different media, including personal computers, “smart” cards, thumb drives, CDs, or web-based applications.

Of the two types, paper records may be easier to secure, but electronic records are more convenient.

If you are considering a PHR to maintain your health records, look for a list of resources and a ‘Quick Guide to Creating a PHR‘ from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), a national non-profit professional association.

Also see our article, Your Portable Medical Information Kit for a sampling of small, easy to store and carry USB devices for the print and digital versions of your PHR info.

References for this article

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Last updated: Monday, August 24, 2015

Your Portable Medical Information Kit

Your Portable Medical Information Kit

Medic Alert Bracelet by Emerg Alert

Medic Alert Bracelet by Emerg Alert

by Patti J. Ryan

When you have A-Fib and you’re taking a blood thinner or other medication, you may wonder if you should carry an emergency I.D. card or wear a medical bracelet.

According to a paramedic with 25 years of experience, emergency measures to stop bleeding such as compresses, tourniquets, etc. will be used whether or not the paramedic knows one has A-Fib and is taking a blood thinner like Coumadin.

But in general it’s a great help to emergency personnel if you carry one or more forms of emergency medical ID. The author of The Patient’s Guide to Heart Rhythm Problems, Dr. Todd Cohen calls it a “portable medical information kit”.

what should be in Your emergency medical information ‘Kit’

This is an excerpt from Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure, by Steve S. Ryan, PhD (page 20).

INFORMATION TO CARRY WITH YOU:

In his book, The Patient’s Guide to Heart Rhythm Problems, Dr. Todd Cohen recommends carrying a “portable medical information kit” with the following information:

1. Full name and date of birth

2. Medical conditions

3. Implantable devices and materials

4. Allergies

5. Medications (and dosages)

6. A copy of a recent ECG

7. Contact information (family, your doctor, and your Health Care Proxy agent)

Type up the information, print, and trim; add a copy of your most recent ECG, then fold to fit your wallet or purse. Add a label, “In Case of Emergency” (ICE).

Sample - MedIDs_com Wallet Card generator tool

MedIDs.com Free Generator

Print a free Medical Alert I.D. Wallet Card

MedIDs.com offers a free online generator tool for a fully customized medical info wallet card. Go to Free Printable Medical ID Cards, type in your information, print, trim and fold to fit your wallet or purse. Add a label, “In Case of Emergency” (ICE). (Note: none of your personal information is stored on their website.)

MedicTag.org offers another free service. This time it’s a free downloadable PDF form (this link will open in a separate browser window). Use your keyboard to add your information. Or, print a blank form and enter data by hand. Print, trim, fold and add to your wallet or purse. Save the PDF form to your hard drive for future use.

Tips to consider:

  • Laminate your wallet card to prolong its use (an office supply store can help you).
  • Why not print a card for each member of your family?
  • If you choose a medic alert bracelet with limited space, add the message “See wallet card,” and carry a wallet card with all your medical details.

 Additional Ways to Carry Your Medical Information

Money clip from Universal Medical Data

Money clip from Universal Medical Data

There are many new styles of Medic Alert IDs bracelets and necklace pendants using different materials like waterproof foam, leather and stainless steel. Don’t carry a wallet? Consider a Money clip with compartment to slide in your emergency contact info.

Or, if you carry a paper-based day planner or calendar, add the same information to your address book.

Here are more ways to carry your medical contact information:

Cell phone with ICE contact

Cell phone with ICE contact

Cell phone: Emergency personnel often look at your cell phone contacts list for an ‘ICE’ contact, that is, an In Case of Emergency entry. It’s easy to do. Add a contact named ‘ICE’ and enter your emergency contact’s name, phone numbers, email address, etc. In the notes field, you can add your vital medical information.

For the jogger or walker: A shoe tag or pocket with your emergency contact info can be attached to your laces. For cyclists and others who wear head gear, a Medical ID sticker can be attached to your helment.

Shoe pocket by Vital ID

Shoe pocket by Vital ID

Helmet sticker by Vital ID

Helmet sticker by Vital ID

High tech solutions: Flash Drives are one high tech solution to carry all your medical information. The specially labeled USB flash drive has a large storage capacity which means you can carry much more information than the conventional medical ID bracelet. Variations include bracelets, keychain fobs and pendants.

USB bracelet from Medical Alert Drives

USB bracelet from Medical Alert Drives

USB key from Stat Alert

USB key from Stat Alert

USB credit card-size by ER Card

Credit card-size USB by ER Card

QR code tag by Dynatag

QR code tag by Dynatag

The one product that caught my eye is the credit card-sized USB for your wallet. As seen on the daytime show, The Doctors, the tiny, slim USB bends out of the credit card frame and is inserted into your USB port. From there you add whatever documents you want. (Why not create a medical record page for each member of the family?) See The Doctors video clip: http://youtu.be/yt34KwEtrw8

Another new type of medic identification alert is QR code-based medical alert stickers. The QR code is added to a wallet card, pendant or keychain fob. To access the information, a smartphone scans the QR code then links to a web service with the individual’s emergency information.

Remember to Update Your ‘Kit’

Whichever methods you use to carry your emergency medical information, don’t forget to review and update the contents regularly especially when you change doctors, start (or stop) medications or have a medical procedure. Knowing you have up-to-date medical information gives you a little bit more peace of mind.


Patti J Ryan head shot

Patti J. Ryan

Patti J. Ryan of A-Fib, Inc., supports all aspects of A-Fib.com and often monitors Steve Ryan’s new articles—ever watchful of too much medical jargon and when necessary translates the terminology into everyday language. She is also publisher of Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure by Steve S. Ryan, PhD (BeatYourA-Fib.com), an Amazon.com Top 100 Seller in two health-related categories (order from Amazon.com and read over 60 customer reviews).

References for this article

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Return to Dealing with A-Fib

Last updated: Monday, August 24, 2015

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