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Heart & Cardiology/connection to A fib & panic attacks


George Foreman wrote at 2007-07-25 23:15:55

I have had atrial fib twice before and it is no surprise that I had heavy anxiety each time.  

Since it only occurred on two occasions, my cardiologist recommended eating more potassium rich foods, magnesium and selenium supplementation.  

I am not so sure that untreated anxiety/depression cannot cause or contribute to atrial fib.  It is well known that older people can get atrial fib after emotional distress, such as the loss of a loved one.  The adrenaline and stress hormones (cortisol, etc.) cannot have a positive effect.  

Smoking won't help you. Get on nicorette fast. The nicotine is what keeps you smoking, but you can get that in the gum without all the other side effects of the smoke.  

If you are not walking or doing some other exercise, start that as soon as you can.  It improves your mood and energy levels and will help you lose weight.  Work up to one hour or so of walking per day.  Try to find a walking trail or quiet neighborhood that does not have too much traffic or noise.  

Diabetes and overweight go hand in hand. There are lots of reasons that people eat--one of them is stress.  (the carbs help you relax)  Try substituting more potassium rich fruits and vegetables (apricots, peaches, kiwis, peanuts, spinach, tomatoes, etc.) for the "heavier" carbs such as breads, pastas, and potatoes.  

For reading material, I recommend "Healing Anxiety and Depression" by Daniel Amen.  This is a book about more than anxiety and depression--also talks about the brain more generally, including dietary tips.  It also has a nice self-diagnostic test in it.  

I also recommend Barry Spears nutritional books.  One of his earlier books "The Zone: A Dietary Road Map to Lose Weight Permanently" is a bit dated, but a helpful foundation for understanding his other books.  

Mike wrote at 2014-06-04 20:08:35
I had constant Afib for a year, and Tykosyn finally worked. When I was going through it, they did a sleep test on me and told me I had Sleep Apnea and that may be causing it. I'm here to tell you my "Sleep Apnea" went away immediately when I went back into rythym. Also, I had some pretty bad anxiety through all of this, and they said that could cause it, but that immediately went away as well. Some could argue it was the relief that my heart was back in rythym, but it occasionally goes out now, and the way I can instantly tell, before I even take my pulse, is the anxious feeling I get, or I wake up gasping.

In my unprofessional opinion, AFIB caused these symptoms in me, not the other way around.

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David Richardson


Adult heart function and disease. Not very good about children lesss than 12. Hypertension is o.k. Heart rhythm a special interest.


Certified in cardiology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Was chairman of division of cardiology at the Medical College of Virginia. Am now mostly retired.

Fellow of American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology and member of American Physiological Society..

Circulation, American Heart Journal, Hypertension.

M.D. from Harvard Medical School. Residency training at Yale Uhniversity School of Medicine and Medical College of Virginia.

Awards and Honors
Gold Heartt Award from American Heart Association in 1995.

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