It is estimated that more than 6 million adults in the United States suffer from atrial fibrillation, also known as AFib, atrial fib or AF. Its prevalence is projected to increase to 13 million by 2030. Brought to my attention recently is the startling information that Google receives on average, 130,000 AFib searches each month.
I am not a doctor, a drug manufacturer or an organization collecting funds. I’m a patient who suffered with AFib for 35 years and I’ve written a book about it. IN A HEARTBEAT: The Ups and Downs of Life with Atrial Fib is my story. It is not a medical book but has been reviewed and recommended by several doctors relating to their specialties treating AFib and other heart arrthymias.
I haven’t had an episode of atrial fibrillation since 2008. However, when I had AFib, I had other related and unrelated heart and health problems at the same time. None of them are cured, but they have become manageable through medication, surgical procedures and ongoing visits with electrophysiologists, cardiologists, endocrinologists and pharmacologists. Diet along with exercise were and are my primary regimen for feeling healthy.
After years of battling AFib and other chronic health issues, I have learned that to know your body and what you put into it is key. Be truthful with your doctors. Ask questions, especially if there’s something you don’t understand. Learn about the medications you are prescribed and why you are taking them. How will they interact with other meds, food and life style? A friend once told me that she was tired of taking pills, so she decided to take Sundays off and not take any pills on that day. When asking others what medications they take, I’ve heard replies that they didn’t know. The doctor told them to take them, so they do.
Besides 35 years of atrial fib, I’ve had 2 heart attacks, a robotic heart bypass and recently had a 3rd pacemaker implanted. My doctors at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Ross Heart Hospital say that I have reversed any and all heart damage incurred from past heart attacks. This, I am told, is highly unusual. We credit exercise and personal trainers.
On my 75th birthday my personal trainer had me do 75 push-ups, 75 squats, 75 crunches with treadmill and spinning bike in between. Before celebrating my 80th birthday I did 100 pushes and the rest of a morning workout.
For me, this story is happy and meant to be inspiring. I feel better than I have in over 20 years. I know my limitations and work around them, learning to pay attention to my body, grateful for each day that I do.
In a Heartbeat is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.
The book is also available at Barnes & Noble as a paperback and Nook book.
Digital versions are available on Kobo and iTunes.
Soon available as audio book.