Afib and alcohol: Holiday Heart?

Posted by catmom777 @catmom777, Mar 18, 2019

The last time I was at the ER I asked the doctor what causes afib, and she said the #1 cause is alcohol abuse. She said that’s why it’s called the Holiday Heart. Has anyone else been told that? I did not consider myself an alcoholic. I had usually 1.5 glasses of wine after dinner about four nights a week, then I would not have any alcohol for a day or two. I did drink more when I was younger, but found as I got older if I drank more than 1.5 glasses in an evening, I didn’t feel good, so I cut back. I used to drink two glasses a night, and occasionally, maybe once a month, would get carried away, usually when I was with family or friends. Now I’m wondering how much harm I did to my heart without knowing it.

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@afrobin

Sorry to hear you are having such a rough time with your pounding heart. Does it stay in rhythm when it is pounding? This may not be Afib but something else. So, it always happens when you are lying down. Google this. Are you lying on your left side? When I lie on my left side and not my right, my heart beats harder and I am aware of it (but it is not pounding hard) and so I shift my body a bit to unsquish my heart. It doesn't sound very technical or medical. but it works. If you get up in the night once it starts to pound, does it stop or it continues. Does bearing down help?

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Also besides bearing down hard caughing can help stop an arrythimia. I also seemed to have most of my attacks towards the end right around midnight while laying down. But the pounding heart i still get even with my new heart wen on a certain side sometimes. I that that part is just that now we who have heart issues are hyper sensitive to what's happing on in our bodies.

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The first episode that landed me in the ER, my heart was not in rhythm. I've checked since then when it's pounding, and it is, plus I hook up to my blood pressure monitor and it doesn't show any afib. Bearing down did not help, although splashing very cold water on my face several times seemed to help. But, last night no pounding heart, so my hopes are up. I came to dread going to bed, even though I was so tired. It was such a battle for me–trying to sleep or waking up with a pounding heart and then trying to get back to sleep. But, just saw the doc. She said my thyroid meds could be contributing to this so she's taking me off them for now and sending me in for a blood test in two months to see if my thyroid levels are too low again. She said the generic thyroid meds aren't consistent in their dosage and can put too much of the chemical into the system which can put my heart in afib. I'll try whatever might work.
I just picked up cod liver oil capsules for vitamin D. She said she'd never heard of that to help with osteoporosis but didn't shoot it down. I'll go for a long walk later, after I feel better, and check in with a gym to see how much it will cost to get on a regimen.
One day at a time. I hope I feel better one of these days. It sucks to feel like this. Yesterday I woke up feeling awful, but as the day wore on I felt better and could get some things done. The doctor has no idea why I am feeling like this.

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@danab

Also besides bearing down hard caughing can help stop an arrythimia. I also seemed to have most of my attacks towards the end right around midnight while laying down. But the pounding heart i still get even with my new heart wen on a certain side sometimes. I that that part is just that now we who have heart issues are hyper sensitive to what's happing on in our bodies.

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I have not been successful with that technique, but splashing very cold water on my face several times helps calm my heart down so it doesn't pound so hard. And yes, ALL of my attacks are at night. My sister thinks I have sleep apnea. Hopefully I will get an appointment with a cardiologist soon and maybe he will have me do a sleep study. Maybe the reason I feel so rotten most of the time is because I can't get enough sleep.

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THYROID!!!! I kept asking you for a good reason, cat mom if you are any other drugs. You are on thyroid meds!!! The very first test EVERY cardiologist does when one presents with a heart arrhythmia is,…A THYROID BLOOD TEST. So you have your answer. As we age, medications are often stronger and need adjustment. See your GP and ask for an adjustment and you will be back to your old self again. I'm glad for you that the mystery is now solved.
The reason one must know one's conditions, medications, side effects etc…is exactly this. If you had known that a side effect of your thyroid meds or condition can be palpitations, you could have avoided all this; pounding heart, feeling anxious, going to the hospital, seeing a variety of doctors and taking a drug that is making you sick etc.. I am really surprised that no doctor figured this out. And no nurse or pharmacist either. When I had Afib, every single medical person I saw immediately asked, "Are you being treated for a thyroid condition." It's the number one cause of heart palpitations, arrhythmias etc.. So you had a rough week. Now you can rest easy and get on with your life. Good luck, cat mom!!!

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@afrobin

THYROID!!!! I kept asking you for a good reason, cat mom if you are any other drugs. You are on thyroid meds!!! The very first test EVERY cardiologist does when one presents with a heart arrhythmia is,…A THYROID BLOOD TEST. So you have your answer. As we age, medications are often stronger and need adjustment. See your GP and ask for an adjustment and you will be back to your old self again. I'm glad for you that the mystery is now solved.
The reason one must know one's conditions, medications, side effects etc…is exactly this. If you had known that a side effect of your thyroid meds or condition can be palpitations, you could have avoided all this; pounding heart, feeling anxious, going to the hospital, seeing a variety of doctors and taking a drug that is making you sick etc.. I am really surprised that no doctor figured this out. And no nurse or pharmacist either. When I had Afib, every single medical person I saw immediately asked, "Are you being treated for a thyroid condition." It's the number one cause of heart palpitations, arrhythmias etc.. So you had a rough week. Now you can rest easy and get on with your life. Good luck, cat mom!!!

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Yes, but I had a low thyroid. My hair was falling out and I was tired all the time, and the test showed a low thyroid. My test results now, while on a low dose of levothyroxine, is within the normal range. But, she says quit it anyway. Last night though I was watching TV in my recliner and dozed off. I was awakened suddenly choking because I could not breathe. This has happened before. I think I have sleep apnea. It all makes sense–tired all day (I wake up tired most mornings–it's a rare day when I don't), pounding heart in the middle of the night or just after falling asleep (like my heart isn't getting enough oxygen), sometimes have morning headaches, coughing a lot despite not having a cold in a year. I finally got an appointment with a cardiologist, but it's not until May 3rd, and that's only the beginning of figuring out why, so this could go on a while before I get an answer. In the meantime, I have to stay on Eliquis to prevent a stroke I guess. Long journey. Thanks for all your ideas on what is going on. It could be all the above, that everything is intertwined.

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@catmom777

Yes, but I had a low thyroid. My hair was falling out and I was tired all the time, and the test showed a low thyroid. My test results now, while on a low dose of levothyroxine, is within the normal range. But, she says quit it anyway. Last night though I was watching TV in my recliner and dozed off. I was awakened suddenly choking because I could not breathe. This has happened before. I think I have sleep apnea. It all makes sense–tired all day (I wake up tired most mornings–it's a rare day when I don't), pounding heart in the middle of the night or just after falling asleep (like my heart isn't getting enough oxygen), sometimes have morning headaches, coughing a lot despite not having a cold in a year. I finally got an appointment with a cardiologist, but it's not until May 3rd, and that's only the beginning of figuring out why, so this could go on a while before I get an answer. In the meantime, I have to stay on Eliquis to prevent a stroke I guess. Long journey. Thanks for all your ideas on what is going on. It could be all the above, that everything is intertwined.

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@catmom777 yes sleep apnea can contribute also i have it and the cpap works great. Maybe see a sleep specialist and do a sleep study definitely worth it. My Ear Nose and Throat doctor handled mine. Good news on the good night last night

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You want to go first to the obvious. Students in med school are even taught: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck. You go straight to the most obvious first…the thyroid medication.
You take thyroxin. Read the side effects here: https://www.rxlist.com/levoxyl-side-effects-drug-center.htm It's everything you are going through including 'pounding heart and fluttering heartbeat". As we age, drugs can become more potent in our systems so question the obvious; your dose is likely too high. You are taking Eliquis needlessly and making yourself sick with that drug's side effects….since it looks like you just need to lower the dose of thyroxin.
I still can't believe that no doctor went straight to the 'quacking duck'.
We all need to be very attentive to the side effects of ANY and ALL drugs we put into our systems. Lesson learned late is better than lesson NEVER learned, right, catmom?

Afib is skipped beats. You have pounding beats so be thankful that you don't have Afib but almost 100% surely and plain and simply a reaction to thyroxin. REJOICE!

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