Since my diagnosis is new it’s only natural that I start hunting for words of wisdom as to dealing with the anxiety and heart sensations I get when out of rhythm.
I came across this article and it has some interesting ideas that I think are worth trying out. Mind you, we do not have a medical reason for my A-FIB at this point, there may be no other cause at all. The ideas in this article all seem safe and make sense so we’ll see what happens. If you’re dealing with A-FIB please let me hear you’re story.
ARTICLE : Emergency! How To Manage an Afib Attack
If this is the first time you’re having symptoms of atrial fibrillation— palpitations, rapid or irregular heartbeat, chest pain, anxiety—you should consider calling 911. These symptoms may be indicators of a more serious problem, including heart attack. But if you’re confident that you don’t need to go to the emergency room, here are some tips that may help you manage atrial fibrillation in the middle of an attack.
➡️ First, note these warning signs of heart attack:
❗️Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
❗️Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
❗️Shortness of breath. Often comes along with chest discomfort. But it also can occur before chest discomfort.
❗️Other symptoms. May include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or light-headedness.
—From the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute’s site, Act In Time to Heart Attack Signs
If you feel comfortable enough not to call 911, here are some alternative steps you can take that may help you convert to a normal sinus rhythm (normal heartbeat):
Drink a glass of water. Palpitations are sometimes caused by dehydration. Don’t drink any alcohol, coffee, tea, or soft drinks. Alcohol and caffeine can trigger atrial fibrillation, and the phosphorus in soft drinks can deplete magnesium (see below).
Eat a banana. Atrial fibrillation can be caused by a lack of potassium, usually because of too much salt in the diet. Bananas are high in potassium, as are tomato, prune, and orange juices. But read the labels; some juices have high amounts of salt. Stay away from salt! See this list of high potassium foods. Note: Most vitamin supplements that have potassium also include large amounts of calcium. I don’t recommend taking extra calcium if you have atrial fibrillation; calcium is excitatory to the heart.
Eat some pumpkin seeds. Magnesium is essential for a normal heartbeat. Try eating some pumpkin seeds, which are high in magnesium. If you don’t have any pumpkin seeds, try brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, pine nuts, or any of the foods on this list. If you have a magnesium supplement, you can take that, but only if it doesn’t include calcium. If you have some epsom salt, you can take an epsom salt bath. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate; you’ll absorb it through the skin. If you can’t take a bath, try adding water to the epsom salt to make a poultice and apply it to your wrists.
Dunk your head in cold water. Fill a sink with cold water and plunge your face in it. Sometimes this little jolt can help.
Lie down. Or, do some exercise. Some people find that symptoms improve if they lie down and try to relax. Others find that doing a little exercise, which makes the heart beat faster and then slow down, helps even more. You’ll just have to experiment to find out if either of these suggestions work for you.
Try some belly breathing. Lie down or sit comfortably, and relax. Breath through your nose to a count of four, slowly filling your belly. Exhale through the nose or mouth for the same four count. Breathe deep into your belly, not your chest. Make the inhalations as long as the exhalations and breathe in a circle, i.e., don’t hold your breath on the inhale or exhale. You can also try breathing into the belly and holding the breath for a count of ten (stopping if you feel uncomfortable), then resume breathing rhythmically to a count of four.
Listen to a normal heart. If you’re not alone, ask someone if you can listen to their heart. I know this sounds strange—and you’ll want to be selective about who you ask—but I have found it surprisingly helpful. The phenomenon is known as entrainment. Your heart will tend to slow down to match the slower, normal heartbeat. Try it.
If your symptoms continue or worsen, go back to the top of this post. It may be time to call 911.
When you’re feeling better, come back and read my other recommendations for managing atrial fibrillation.