I am a 27 year old male. I started smoking when I was 17 (pack a day) and drinking alcohol a few years later on a daily basis. When I was 23 I experienced an episode of irregular and rapid heartbeats. I went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. I was treated with meds and within 12 hours returned to a normal sinus rythem. I later followed up with a cardiologist who performed all required tests (stress test, echogram, holter monitor) All tests came back NORMAL. He told me the most likely cause of my episode was contributed to my drinking and smoking. Being young and stupid, I still continued to drink and smoke on a daily basis. Its been three years since the episode and within this time i continued to have palpitations and irregular beats every so often. A month ago they became so frequent (2 or 3 times a day) that i finally came to my senses and quit smoking and drinking completely. I have been clean for three weeks now but continue to have palpatations. My question is do you think i permanently damaged my heart and will continue to have palpatations for the rest of my life or will they gradually decline and go away completely? Since i stopped smoking and drinking i really do feel great except when i feel that terrible feeling of skipped beats and flutters in my chest.
Thank you for your question. Congratulations on your lifestyle changes. While it is possible I doubt you did any permanent damage. I would give it a bit more time to let your body recover from the stress of the abuse you put it through. Start to get some regular exercise and keep up the good changes.
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