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Dr. Douglas L. Packer, MD, FHRS, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

"Jill and I put you and your work in our prayers every night. What you do to help people through this [A-Fib] process is really incredible."

Jill and Steve Douglas, East Troy, WI 

“I really appreciate all the information on your website as it allows me to be a better informed patient and to know what questions to ask my EP. 

Faye Spencer, Boise, ID, April 2017

“I think your site has helped a lot of patients.”

Dr. Hugh G. Calkins, MD  Johns Hopkins,
Baltimore, MD

Doctors & patients are saying about 'Beat Your A-Fib'...

"If I had [your book] 10 years ago, it would have saved me 8 years of hell.”

Roy Salmon, Patient, A-Fib Free,
Adelaide, Australia

"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

"...masterful. You managed to combine an encyclopedic compilation of information with the simplicity of presentation that enhances the delivery of the information to the reader. This is not an easy thing to do, but you have been very, very successful at it."

Ira David Levin, heart patient, 
Rome, Italy

"Within the pages of Beat Your A-Fib, Dr. Steve Ryan, PhD, provides a comprehensive guide for persons seeking to find a cure for their Atrial Fibrillation."

Walter Kerwin, MD, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA

11 Ways A-Fib Robs You of Your Heart Health

Atrial Fibrillation is a disease of the heart but affects your overall health as well. It is often said, “A-Fib begets A-Fib”. It’s a progressive disease and is self-perpetuating.

Here are the many ways A-Fib can affect you:

1. Risk of stroke. The biggest danger from A-Fib is stroke. Because your heart isn’t pumping out properly, blood can pool in your atria then form clots that travel to the brain causing stroke. Use of anticoagulant drugs reduce, but don’t eliminate, the risk of an A-Fib stroke. Anticoagulants are high risk drugs. They don’t cure or improve your A-Fib.

A-Fib reduces your heart’s pumping ability by 15%–30% decreasing blood flow to the brain….

2. Reduced Blood Circulation. A-Fib reduces your heart’s pumping ability by 15%–30%, decreasing blood flow to the brain and to the rest of the body. This may cause weakness, fatigue, dizziness, brain fog, fainting spells, swelling of the legs, and shortness of breath. Over time, reduced blood circulation contributes to many other health issues.

3. Fibrosis (Structural Remodeling). Over time A-Fib produces fiber-like scar tissue in place of the normal smooth walls of the heart. Fibrosis makes the heart stiff, less flexible and weak with a loss of atrial muscle mass. It overworks the heart, reduces pumping efficiency, and leads to other heart problems. Fibrosis is considered permanent and irreversible.

Over time, the left atrium tends to stretch, weakening the heart muscle.

4. Atrial stretch/expansion (Structural Remodeling). When in A-Fib, your left atrium has to work harder than normal. Over time, the left atrium tends to stretch or dilate thereby weakening the heart muscle. An enlarged left atrium can be diagnosed and measured using an echocardiogram (ECHO). (A normal size is 2.0-4.0 cm; over 5.5 cm is considered chronically enlarged.)

5. Electrical Remodeling. A-Fib causes electrophysiological changes in the heart which are self-perpetuating, make the heart more prone to go into and remain in A-Fib. This Remodeling develops quickly, is progressive, and may be persistent. For instance, an A-Fib episode once a month may escalate to once a week and might become longer than before.

6. Heart Failure. Researchers have found that A-Fib is strongly associated with heart failure which is five times more likely in people with A-Fib. When in A-Fib, your heart isn’t pumping properly. So it’s not surprising that A-Fib leads to heart disease, heart failure, and sudden death. A-Fib affects your whole body. It damages your heart, brain, and other organs.

Most A-Fib patients have at least one comorbidity such as diabetes, hypertension or sleep apnea.

7. Coexisting Conditions (Comorbidities). The symptoms of one illness can predispose a person to another. Most A-Fib patients have at least one comorbidity such as diabetes, hypertension or sleep apnea. A somewhat surprising association with A-Fib is kidney disease and peripheral arterial disease.

8. Dementia. A-Fib has been independently associated with dementia. Leaving patients in A-Fib doubles the risk of developing dementia. Current drugs, even statins, don’t work or have mixed results in preventing dementia. Because your heart is being remodeled electrically, your A-Fib may eventually worsen to Long-standing Persistent A-Fib (which is harder to cure).

“I have never been mentally so incapable…even the simplest work-related problems seemed impossible for me to handle.” — Max Jussila

9. Brain Atrophy, Reduced Brain Volume and Cognitive Function. Research shows A-Fib patients experience loss of both grey and white brain matter, as well as white matter brain lesions. Cognitive function and processing speed decline significantly.

Mental skills and memory are also affected. Max Jussila, a Finnish executive, recalls his challenges. “I have never been mentally so incapable. My memory was gone, my speech was gone (I speak five languages), even the simplest work-related problems seemed impossible for me to handle, let alone solve.”

10. Reduced Quality of Life. For many patients, A-Fib disrupts both work and family life. They are often preoccupied about the next A-Fib attack. When will it hit? How bad will it be? Where will I be at the time? When you travel, you first research the location of the nearest emergency room.

A-Fib can have significant consequences on your social interactions with loved ones, friends and colleagues. The patient’s livelihood may be impacted. Family life may be unsettled. In one study the partners of A-Fib patients reported a significant reduction in their quality of life, to the same degree as the patient.

11. Psychological and Emotional Effects. A-Fib wreaks havoc with your head as well as your heart. Anxiety, fear, frustration, worry, confusion, depression and anger can be as debilitating as the disease itself. Psychological distress worsens A-Fib symptoms’ severity. Physical ailments like colds may be more frequent because of a depressed immune system.

How Much Will You Pay to Stay in A-Fib?

A-Fib costs you in many ways. Beyond the physical, mental and emotional toll, staying in A-Fib is costly to your wallet too. Besides the annual costs of your medications, ER visits, etc., the odds of your being hospitalized increases (each year 750,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. are due to A-Fib).

Don't Settle for a lifetime on medication - Seek your A-Fib Cure

According to the CDC, just in terms of dollars and cents, A-Fib on average costs you an additional $8,700 a year.

When you add up all the costs (physical, emotional and monetary) of living in A-Fib, doesn’t it make sense to ‘Seek you Cure’?

Don’t Settle for a Lifetime on Meds―Seek your A-Fib Cure

Today’s TV advertisements for anticoagulants talk about “living with A-Fib”. They show patients living happy, healthy, care-free lives while still in A-Fib. That’s a Pollyanna fantasyjust take an A-Fib pill and live happily ever after.

Contrary to today’s media, your goal shouldn’t be to just ‘manage’ your A-Fib. For patients with A-Fib, it isn’t enough to simply take an anticoagulant.

Your goal should be to get your A-Fib fixed and have your heart beat again in normal sinus rhythm (NSR). Educate yourself. Learn all your treatment options.

Don’t just settle. Seek your A-Fib cure.

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