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BTD Forums  /  Live Right 4 Your Type  /  Abnormal heartbeat
Posted by: Adopted4, Thursday, January 10, 2013, 3:25am
I am posting this on behalf of my father. He is 82 years old and just before Christmas was hospitalized after a routine doctor's visit was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. Nothing conclusive was discovered after multiple tests and again had a recent follow-up appointment yesterday. His doctor is recommending he sees a cardiologist to have a heart catheterization done where dye is injected into the blood vessels to reveal if there are any blockages.

The risk of not having the procedure done is the possibility of heart attack or stroke in the future, which his father actually had I think multiple times in his lifetime. My dad is not taking the risk too seriously and my husband and I tend to think that maybe the whole thing is being blown out of proportion since he isn't or hasn't felt any symptoms or warning signs. Sometimes we question the traditional medical establishment for insisting on expensive and uncomfortable testing in situations that don't necessarily warrant them.  My dad is also very concerned about mounting doctor's bills and has always had a tendency to stress about financial situations. My dad is a type A and really doesn't eat well for his type-lots of meat, potatoes, bread, and processed foods although he does like various fruits.

This whole thing has stirred up a lot of controversy in the family as my mom is insisting he sees the cardiologist and my dad is insisting that enough is enough and he feels fine. I come from a family of 5 children, and we all tend to have somewhat different opinions about how to support our mom and dad.

Can anyone who knows about irregular heartbeat offer any advice about how to approach this complex situation with my family? Thanks in advance.
Posted by: Lola, Thursday, January 10, 2013, 3:28am; Reply: 1
if he is an A, tends to get stressed and eats red meat......I would definitely take him to the cardiologist and in hopes he is open to a lifestyle change according to his BT
Posted by: DoS, Thursday, January 10, 2013, 10:29am; Reply: 2
I could recommend a fair bit of supplement type stuff, but it won't do much in the face of a really poor diet.

Could it be caffeine related? Hard to know GenoType...
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Thursday, January 10, 2013, 3:07pm; Reply: 3
Would he be willing to see the cardiologist for a consult, and get a second medical opinion on whether or not he needs this test? My own doctor wanted me to have a radioactive dye test after an abnormal EKG, but when they told me "don't go within 6 feet of children for 24 hours after" I insisted on a second opinion. (um, hello? Single mom here- how can I not go near my kids?) The cardiologist listened to my heart, did another EKG, and listened to me- and determined that I didn't need the stress test.

That might be a reasonable compromise- meet with the specialist to assuage the fears of "everybody else" but your dad doesn't agree to yet another invasive test. Either the cardiologist will agree with your father that the test isn't needed, or s/he may be able to convince your father that the test truly IS needed.
Posted by: Joyce, Thursday, January 10, 2013, 4:18pm; Reply: 4
Best area for advice on atrial fibrillation with no known underlying causes [or even with IMO] is the forum of

My mother lived to 90+ with it, no treatment and died of pneumonia.

My brother and I have it - he has no treatment, I decided to take nattokinase NSK-SD to hopefully mitigate stroke risk.

Good luck.
Posted by: Adopted4, Thursday, January 10, 2013, 4:22pm; Reply: 5
I think my dad leans on the side of the Genotype Teacher if my assessment is correct, but I don't see him doing anything different in terms of his lifestyle. He overall has had very good health over the years in spite of his diet and he likes to remain as active as he can physically tolerate. But he has battled joint pain, back pain, and bouts of anxiety/depression which I have no doubt are primarily consequences of poor diet. It's my mom that really needs to step up and take the initiative to make simple dietary changes for my dad as she is the one that shops and does all the meal preparation. Talking to either them about eating right for their type(s) seems to fall on deaf ears.

Perhaps my dad will be more open to more frequent general exams with his doctor if he is adamant about not seeing the cardiologist. If clear warning signs start cropping up over time, which I think is very possible, perhaps he will be more open to tests and procedures in the future.

How compelling is it that his dad suffered numerous small strokes in his lifetime as well as at least one heart attack? If my dad could at least understand the role genetics plays then perhaps it will be taken more seriously.

By the way, my dad doesn't have issues with caffeine as he is not a coffee drinker and occasionally drinks pop during the daytime. He does not appear to have the "slow acetylator" liver issue that I know my mom does regarding caffeine.
Posted by: Andrea AWsec, Thursday, January 10, 2013, 4:23pm; Reply: 6
I tend to lean on the side of getting the test done. It is just a test--- :)

He might need stents then things get more interesting-- he might then have to be on plavix, asa or coumadin.   Those things create all sorts of issues.

How active is he? Does he drive? Is he alone at times in the house?

My FIL had a heart arrthymia and ended up having a bad car accident thankfully he was OK and no one was injured. Then they put the pacemaker in that he needed.

Just cause we don't have symptoms does not mean something isn't wrong, get more information.

Posted by: AKArtlover, Thursday, January 10, 2013, 7:45pm; Reply: 7
Quoted Text
Heart palpitations are often caused when the heart skips a beat. It is not serious, but needs attention to determine & address the cause. Some of the most common causes of heart palpitations include a magnesium deficiency, B12 deficiency, thyroid imbalance, hormonal imbalances, or other nutritional deficiencies. Heart palpitations do NOT mean you are having a heart attack, but if they are frequent they can cause extreme fatigue. They always need to be investigated.

Someone just posted this. I don't know if it is serendipity, but I also know that the majority of doctors seldom look at these things.

If it were my dad, I would still encourage him to have the test and I would encourage him to have these others checked by someone who gets more than surgery and pharmaceuticals.
Posted by: DoS, Thursday, January 10, 2013, 9:14pm; Reply: 8
Irregular beat or pauses are more likely that palpitations sometimes, just to note. Easy to confuse the two. (I did, but a very veterand EMT corrected me)
Posted by: Lin, Thursday, January 10, 2013, 10:51pm; Reply: 9
Interesting as My Father is 6 years older than yours, also Type A, also probably a Teacher. Perhaps some explorer.
My Dad started having dizzy/not feeling well spells than turned into passing out and after some testing they found he needed a pacemaker and that did the trick. Possibly different symptoms to yours. I also trying to convince my mother to change his diet to more Type A but it all sounds new and not believable to her, so yes deaf ears.

My dad also eats  meat, potatoes, toast, and loves his chocolate biscuits/cookies and cake.  Sugar in his tea.   My father has always been an anxious type also, but that is a blood type A thing, which I inherited also.
I understand it is frustrating to watch as I've been doing the same, but they are still in charge of their lives.Reality is they have their system and at that age it is hard for them to believe there is a better way. My father also had had  small strokes.  Unfortunately about 5 years ago he started with vascular dementia.  That might be the thing to mention to your Dad that he would want to avoid.
My family are in the UK so I have been dependent on my sister ( have three brothers) who has taken an active role in researching the health issues and options.  
This is a tough stage dealing with aging parents, and it does bring up a lot of anxiety among siblings.  One thing to keep reminding yourself and them if possible, that while your parents still have their faculties you have to respect their wishes.  You can share information to help them in their decision making but at the end of the day even if you don't agree with their decisions it is theirs to make and as their children it is better to suppor them in whatever they chose to do.  No point adding more tension.  
good luck, Lin

Posted by: Adopted4, Friday, January 11, 2013, 3:23am; Reply: 10
Thank you for all the good feedback regarding my dad's condition. I'll be talking to my parents this weekend, so I hope it will be a good productive conversation. At this point I"m starting to change my original opinion on my suspicion over why the doctor's keep pressing the issue of further testing. At his age and with the family history of heart attack and stroke, maybe more testing is necessary.

I'll let you all know if and when I hear anything more definite.
Posted by: Adopted4, Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 1:31am; Reply: 11
Update on my dad: He will not be visiting the cardiologist anytime soon. The appointment was canceled, but the main reason given was that the flu is really hitting my hometown hard and my dad doesn't want to visit the clinic there for fear of catching it. Perhaps it's a convenient excuse, but my mom is going along with his wishes to not pursue anymore testing at this time. They both believe that there will be warning signs if his health deteriorates and if it's necessary my dad will see a cardiologist if they believe it's necessary.

I don't know if this is the wisest choice, but it is what it is so I"m hoping for the best outcome. In the meantime, I tried to discuss with my mom how to better feed my dad for his type. It's a shame that none of the doctors he has seen has ever discussed nutritional strategies to reduce his risk of heart attack or stroke. Even general statements like reducing his red meat or processed food intake would be taken much more seriously from an MD than from me. And it would be good advice for a type A. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, though.

Thanks for everyones concern and advice.
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 1:39pm; Reply: 12
Influenza would probably be devastating to his health right now. There's a lot of wisdom in his plan to avoid unnecessary "crowded places" this time of year- especially if the cardiologist shares a waiting room with PCPs who will be seeing sick people.

Is he open to taking supplements such as vitamin D or elderberry to minimize his chances of catching the flu?
Posted by: Joyce, Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 5:36pm; Reply: 13
For what it's worth I think he's right to stay away from illness waiting rooms.

I ventured out to the local garden centre and 2 days later went down with a gastric bug - norovirus was/is? rampant but not sure whether it was that or not and didn't take my daughter's advice to go to the doc either  ;)
I've kept away from people and am now recovered, need to be healthy for my pantomime booking next weekend  ;D
Plus it was an added incentive to get back on the BT wagon :)

Almost needless to say OH who eats whatever he fancies didn't catch anything  ::)
but just as well because he could at least walk the dogs!
Posted by: Mrs T O+, Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 12:48am; Reply: 14
"Atrial Fib" is relatively commmon. My dad figured he had it(formally diagnosed) in his 70s, but probably had it before. My sister had it(symptoms) the day after her 62nd birthday & was hospitalized. Thankfully, she works in a hospital (non-medical job) & I'm sure she got great care!
Other people have it & it can be controlled with medicine for many. I think magnesium is good for it, but I'll see what Lola or Dr. D have to say! :) :)

So many folks get ill after the holidays. I'm sure it is a combination of bad diet & cold weather. I hope your dad gets better & they are wise to stay away from clinics at this time.  Would he take magnesium? They say most of us are deficient in it. I even used to eat a diet with lots of 'maggie' but still needed supplementation. I apparently wasn't absorbing it properly!
Posted by: Adopted4, Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 2:43am; Reply: 15
I was just reading about cardiac arrhythmia on a website I frequently go to for alternative health advice, and it did list several testimonials of magnesiums effectiveness on regulating the heart muscle.  It had other suggestions of home remedies, though it doesn't take the blood type diet into account and mentions remedies like raw apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper which wouldn't be an optimal choice for a type A.

Again, the major hurdle is getting my mom and dad to take me seriously about nutritional advice. To them, if the "doctor" doesn't encourage it then why bother. I will mention it next time I talk to either one of them, as well as supplementing with Vitamin D this winter. For the record, I don't think I ever remember my dad ever having influenza, although he does get intestinal viruses occasionally which isn't a surprise given his eating habits.
Posted by: Joyce, Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 9:02am; Reply: 16
Adopted4, the best site I ever came across which has helped me deal with afib using non-medical means is the forum of

There, I learned about the use of magnesium, taurine and potassium to help prevent/control afib.

Self help, medications and surgery are all discussed, IMO there isn't a more informative afib site on the www.
Posted by: Adopted4, Thursday, January 17, 2013, 1:16am; Reply: 17
Looks like a great website Joyce. The information is very thorough and comprehensive. My parents don't have internet and wouldn't be able to look at the info firsthand, but I have a sister whose a nurse. She has some interest in alternative medicine, so I think if she could persuade my dad to supplement with magnesium he would take her advice seriously. I hope there's something I can do or say to encourage my dad to change something in his diet so his heart condition doesn't deteriorate.
Posted by: Lola, Thursday, January 17, 2013, 7:10am; Reply: 18
Posted by: Joyce, Thursday, January 17, 2013, 9:26am; Reply: 19
Adopted4 - your sister would probably find the afib site non-threatening to her orthodox training, there are/were doctor posters on there both receiving and giving help :)

Lola - yes the BTD definitely helps, it is linked from yourhealthbase too.... the amusing thing I found was that although many of the posters didn't 'believe' in it they ended up following it.

I haven't spent much time there recently, but used to ask BT's as I read what folks were finding worked for them  ;)

The most outstanding was an 'O' vegetarian who, after various tests, discovered his bad immune reactions to certain foods - after he bit the bullet and went 'paleo' he was virtually cured!

I did notice that the BT A's had a harder time finding a balance though.
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