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Living With Atrial Fibrillation

People who have atrial fibrillation (AF)—even permanent AF—can live normal, active lives. If you have AF, ongoing medical care is important.

Keep all your medical appointments. Bring a list of all the medicines you're taking to every doctor and emergency room visit. This will help your doctor know exactly what medicines you're taking.

Follow your doctor's instructions for taking medicines. Be careful about taking over-the-counter medicines, nutritional supplements, and cold and allergy medicines. Some of these products contain stimulants that can trigger rapid heart rhythms. Also, some over-the-counter medicines can have harmful interactions with heart rhythm medicines.

Tell your doctor if your medicines are causing side effects, if your symptoms are getting worse, or if you have new symptoms.

If you're taking blood-thinning medicines, you'll need to be carefully monitored. For example, you may need routine blood tests to check how the medicines are working. Also, talk with your doctor about your diet. Some foods, such as leafy green vegetables, may interfere with warfarin, a blood-thinning medicine.

Ask your doctor about physical activity, weight control, and alcohol use. Find out what steps you can take to manage your condition.

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July 1, 2011