Ectopic heartbeat and AFIB management. So simple!

My practical and free heart rhythm management tool.

Photo by Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash

This is not something out there, airy-fairy, it is my way of dealing with 49 years of heart disease, arrhythmia, and ectopic heartbeats.

I think you’ll agree with me when I say that dealing with AFIB or any palpitations is actually a type of heart arrhythmia management. People that have had some experience with AFIB know that the end of it is not always the end of it. The promise of a cardioversion or even an ablation may not be the final word on your arrhythmia.

That is why journaling may be one of the best ways of heart arrhythmia management for you. And the best part? you can start it here and now!

You can actually improve your heart palpitations management by writing more about what your heart is doing, and what you are doing. On Newlifeoutlook I read a very interesting article written by Eric Patterson on how journaling can help you cope with AFIB.

Thanks to his article I have yet again seen what the benefits of journaling are especially in heart arrhythmia management, and how I have applied it in my life.

WHAT CAN JOURNALING DO FOR YOUR HEART?

The two main benefits mentioned in his featured article are very important. He mentions that a journal (this can be your own website or blog) can help with data collection and stress reduction. How can you actually use this?

Photo by Trent Szmolnik on Unsplash

DATA COLLECTION

My own experience with heart arrhythmia management is that I wrote down how I felt, what my pulse was, what I ate or drank, and what I have done that day. I did not keep a daily journal, but I did keep it most of the “out off sinus rhythm” times.

With journaling, you will be able to tell your doctor what really happened, and stop “thinking” what happened and why. It is like your own personal heart arrhythmia management checklist.

Your doctor needs that information, may I say he/she craves for it?

Some of the most important things to jot down is the following:

HOW AND WHEN

How and when did your heart go out of rhythm? This is not just important for the future correction of “trigger habits” but also of the utmost importance to your doctor. This information will help him make the decision to cardiovert immediately or not.

The shorter the time span that your heart has been out of rhythm the greater the possibility that the doctor can give you a cardioversion. The chance of your heart “converting” back into normal sinus rhythm is then also bigger. The other variable that the doctor must take into account is the possibility of a blood clot, this I discussed in STROKE PREVENTION.

TYPE OF EXERCISE

In my case, this has been very important. Some exercises have been documented as not being very rhythm friendly for me. I play much less squash (racquetball) now. During a normal squash came I noticed that my heartbeat went up to 190 beats per minute like a flash! With cycling, it took me a while to get it up to about 160 b/m and it did not go up much more than that. Running was sort of in the middle of these two sports.

The nature fo squash is just that you chase a ball, start and stop, and most of the times (well for me) I do not think about what I’m doing to my heart, but just chase the ball.

Exercise is very important for any heart! Find an exercise that you enjoy, that is heart-friendly.

SLEEP ….. zzzzzzzz

Track how many hours of sleep you have had the night before. The type of sleep that you had is also very important. Lack of sleep can have an influence on the heartbeat rate and rhythm of your heart.

ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION

Alcohol is a stimulant! The impact that alcohol has on every person will differ. Most people drink alcohol for the stimulant effect, but it is actually classified as a depressant. I know there is a big debate about what it is. My googling said it is a depressant.

Either way, it has an impact on ectopic heartbeats and heart arrhythmia. It’s just the amount that differs from person to person.

Note the type of alcohol that you drink and the volume, in your journal (if you can remember?!*%$). It is also important to know the alcohol content or percentage in each type of drink.

I drink light beer and red wine, but some a-fibbers and ectopic sufferers have to stay away from alcohol altogether.

CAFFEINE ⇓

There is a big debate about coffee and how it can or might affect your afib. Do your own research with your journal at your side. You can even go so far as to mention how big the scoop on your teaspoon was.

Coffee is only one place where caffeine lives. When writing your journal, and having to take note of what contains caffeine you may be surprised. Look for the phrases “added caffeine”, “energy drink”, “psyched up” or “wired” and look at the amount of caffeine added.

If you are an a-fibber be careful of caffeine! It is the most commonly used drug in the world today, according to MNT (Medical News Today).

Use Rooibos Tea as an alternative.

STATE OF MIND

Where you stressed out when your heart went out of rhythm or was it just after a stressful period that your ticker went out. Stress can be an important factor in your heart arrhythmia management journey.

The benefit of a journal is that it can help paint a better picture of what your stress levels were during a specific time. This is not always that easy to understand if you just have to rely on vague memories.

Something I have found is that during a specific stressful time in my life, I really feel that pressure and can pin that down in a journal. Just thinking back and seeing a positive outcome, the stress does not seem that bad. You have the benefit of looking into your mind during that “stress time” if you put it down in words.

With the thoughtarrest technique, you must also write down your emotions and fears.

PEOPLE, PLACES, AND SITUATIONS

Need I say anything about this? Writing down your PPS palpitation triggers may not be news to you, but it is good to get it out!

TIME OF DAY

My heart rhythm has never gone out while I was sleeping (and most of the time during the day). I know of other people that mostly go out of sinus (NSR) while they are sleeping.

This is important information that your doctor must know, to try and establish what your triggers are. That’s not all……

My ectopic heartbeats usually come when I have overindulged and used some alcohol.

STRESS REDUCTION

This is the “soft” side of heart arrhythmia management that is not so easy to explain or measure. You can see writing as your own stress release therapy. The stress reduction part of writing your journal is aimed at emotional and confidence building.

Some of the reasons I believe writing your journal will reduce your stress levels are:

THE BEST PART!

YOU ARE STILL ALIVE!

Your journal confirms that your doctor was right. Afib is not life-threatening, but you have to take care of yourself and monitor what your heart is doing. Celebrate life by writing down how good it feels to be alive, even if you may still be in afib…..there is hope!

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED?

You can describe to yourself what really happened during an afib attack. Try to make sense of how things happened. Where you scared, relaxed agitated, or indifferent about the whole AF thing.

WHAT SHOULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY?

We all know that feeling. Man, I should not have done that! Sometimes you are guilty. Take stock of what and why you drank too much coffee, overtrained, or stressed too much. Identify what could have been a trigger and figure out what you are going to do differently.

GETTING IT OUT!!!!

This one is wonderful and liberating. Only a-fibbers know how it feels when the life gets sucked out of you, that kryptonite that takes away supermans power. Yes, that’s how it feels. It’s good to get it out and onto paper, sometimes scary. It also seems more real when it is on paper or on a computer screen.

COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY

It may help you to communicate your symptoms and feelings better to a family member or doctor. This is very important with heart arrhythmia management. We have all heard or used explanations like, flopping fish in my chest, racing heart, a hard heartbeat, changing gear heart, it beats, and then when the next beat must be there it’s not, skipping beats.

This could also help to distinguish between Atrial Fibrillation and Ectopic heartbeats.

And that is just the heart! We have not even begun to describe the symptoms yet. In many cases, your doctor must make a call on how to treat you based on your description of your heartbeat and your symptoms. He may not have any hard and fast data to work from. Write your own STORY ON A BLOG

If you have paroxysmal afib (occurs sometimes and then stops by itself) or ectopic heartbeats (extra or skipped heartbeats) it may take your doctor a while to pick them up.

READY FOR TOMORROW?

Plan for tomorrow by thinking how to cope with a possible skipped heartbeat, or symptoms that you experience from being in afib, or getting an afib attack. Try and take the shock and panic away from a sudden skipped beat.

TIME TO REFLECT

Be thankful that the thing you thought was a fatal heart attack, was a treatable thing like afib. Concentrate on all the positives and opportunities. Doctors may sometimes only give you the worst-case scenario, it is their work to tell you what can go wrong.

Reflect on how it could have been worse.

Read stories of people that have overcome this afib and ectopic thing.

THANK YOU!

For reading my story. If you liked it other people will also. Clap and share. They will thank you.

www.myafibheart.com Blogger, Tetralogy of Fallot(TOF), AFIB(Atrial fibrillation) and panic! survivor. Mountain Biker.Married and father of 2.South African.

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