Addressing your chaotic heartbeat



February 13, 2019 - 10:21 AM

DEAR DR. ROACH: I am a 72-year-old man. I thought I was in excellent health until I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation in a routine physical exam with an EKG about six months ago. I was and continue to be asymptomatic.

I am 6 feet, 1 inch tall and weigh 173 pounds. I do weight training and stretches at the gym two or three times each week and get cardio exercise by bicycling distances of 20-60 miles another one or two times each week. I am active and busy in other ways, though retired. I have never been a smoker and do not drink. I make an effort to eat healthy foods. Unlike most atrial fibrillation patients, my blood pressure and heart rate are very good. My resting heart rate is always around 50. Typical blood pressures are around 106/70. In a stress test at the time I was diagnosed it was 20 minutes until my heart rate reached 127.

In a later routine physical, my family physician again picked up AFib, and said, “I wish you were on some kind of medication for this.” Although I feel good and seem to have no other health issues, I am concerned, as I understand that asymptomatic patients are still at risk. I would appreciate your thoughts and suggestions. — D.B.

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