How long do people life with paroxysmal afib before it gets worse?

Does living on beta blockers prevent you from doing physical exercise as i am only 41 but i feel breathless when i do any kind of what i would class as heavy exercise - cycling or running up stairs?

Does your heart change radically in the first year after implantation?
(I wonder about this as your heart would have been stuggling with the too slow bradacardia not being oxygenated enough while you sleep then all of a sudden it has the correct amount surely that must have some reverse side (mending)effects.

I dont want to fall into the fear(lazy) trap of backing away from all forms of exercise as i am scared it will bring on the afib sooner as we all know that afib is a degenerative disease and people with it are 50% more likely to die than people without it.
I guess what I am asking is Can you exercise with afib????


Afib & Beta Blockers

by SMITTY - 2008-05-09 02:05:02

Hello Allan,

On your question "How long do people life with paroxysmal afib before it gets worse?" I'm not trying to be a smart a--, but that is about equal to asking "how long is a piece of string?" Afib can come and it can go. By that I mean we can start having episodes of afib and have them continue for a few weeks to months or much longer and then have them stop just as suddenly as they started. My experience has been that each episode is an event unto it's own. By that I have found that some are hardly noticeable and some are bad but the severity of each episode is not necessarily worse than the previous one. Again, using my experience with afib, I had episodes for several years and was prescribed medication to prevent it. I stopped the medication, over the protests of my doctor, because of the side effects. It was then I found that my afib had stopped completely on its own and I went for a few years with no attacks. Then one day I had a humdinger that caused me to pass out. I ended up in the E.R. for that one. That was a couple of years ago and I've had only two bouts, that I know of, since and they were very minor. So in my opinion afib is something to live with and hope it doesn't happen again unless the attacks become debilitating. There are medications, beta blockers and/or others to treat afib. The effectiveness and side effects of these can vary from person to person.

"Does living on beta blockers prevent you from doing physical exercise?" For some, yours truly especially, beta blockers prevent them from doing many things. I can't honestly say they prevent me from exercising because after taking them for a few days I don’t feel like exercising or doing anything constructive. I have tried light exercise, such as walking while taking a beta blocker and I do get more tired much quicker.

To be truthful, I'm not a good one to discuss the effects of beta blockers because I think they are concoctions invented by the devil. Although some people get excellent results form beta blockers. If you think yours is causing you a problem, you certainly should discuss it with your doctor. There is more than one kind of beta blockers and as I said there are other medications for afib so possibly some other one would serve you better.
Does your heart change radically in the first year after implantation? Possibly yes. But in my opinion any change for a person that got a pacemaker because of bradycardia, the change would be for the better. Your slow heart rate prior to the PM could have been depriving your heart of some of the oxygen it needed. Speed up your heart rate and you increase blood flow which means your heart has to work less to accomplish the same or better results.

As for the amount of exercise you can do, I do not think the pacemaker will be a limiting factor. In fact it may allow you to do more quicker as you will start out with a body more ready to do exercise as it will be receiving a higher blood flow due to the increase heart rate. However, that beta blocker may have a limiting effect on your exercise. So I say talk to your doctor, about this and if he agrees do all the exercise you feel comfortable doing.

I'll not argue with your statement "we all know that afib is a degenerative disease" but that does contradict what I have been told about my afib by my doctor. One pamphlet I was given during my tip to ER with afib contains the statement "If treated appropriately, atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter seldom cause serious or life threatening problems." I guess the key words here are "if treated appropriately."

Good luck.


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