Heart & Cardiology/afib triggers

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QUESTION: Hi, how are you.

In April 2012, my afib triggered, which sent me to the emergency room and I had to be cardioverted.

At that time, I was smoking 3 to 4 cigars a day and i was experiencing skipped heart beats frequently.  I am also way overweight.  At the time of my last afib attack, I weighed in at 480 pounds.  I have since lost 50 pounds and feeling much better.

My question to you is...If I got back to cigar smoking, maybe not 3 or 4 a day but maybe 3 or 4 a week, do you see this as a risk of triggering my afib again.

I never had issues smoking cigars, at least none that I know of.  I am now using a cpap machine to sleep, eating much better and exercising each day.  The skipps have stopped dramatically, in fact that only time i seem to get the skips are if i eat a bad meal or if I self inflict them by checking my pulse.

My cardiologist has also put me on 25mg of Atenenol.

I would love your feedback to the cigar smoking.

Thanks

ANSWER: Hi Raleo,
1. It appears that decreased smoking plus atenolol etc. have made a difference.
2. Checking your pulse does not trigger AF.
3. Don't expect a physician to ever condone smoking (whether more or less).
4. Be glad your new lifestyle is working. Don't spoil it!
Hope this helps,
Dr T
http://www.cardiachealth.org/

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I don't plan on smoking cigars on a regular basis again, but from time to time, I would love to enjoy one or two

I was just wondering more or less, have you ever heard of cigar smoking being a trigger to afib.

If you have any feedback on this, that would be great.

THanks again for the reply

Answer
Hi Raleo,
1. Sleep apnea - this is a common disorder in which the patient has one or more pauses in breathing, or shallow breathing, during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea commonly causes high blood pressure (hypertension), which in turn raises the risk of heart problems and stroke.
2. Alcohol abuse - regular, excessive, long-term consumption of alcohol is closely linked to a higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation. A study carried out by scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center showed that risk of atrial fibrillation was as much as 45 percent higher among heavy drinkers than abstainers.
3. Smoking - smoking has been linked to several heart problems, including atrial fibrillation.
4. Excessive caffeine consumption - this could include too many coffees, energy drinks, and or sodas (fizzy drinks). Many sodas have caffeine in them.
With smoking there is no minimal threshold - You WILL increase your risk of triggering afib.
Dr T

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