British Heart Foundation
5,863 members3,697 posts

Heart attack aged 42, female

Hi I am feeling very scared and down about a heart attack I had just over a week ago, I was sent for urgent angioplasty and received 3 stents to LAD and 1 stent to right artery. I am constantly worried about dropping down dead of another heart attack and think that if this has happened at the age of 42 it doesn't bode well for a long lifespan. I'm shocked it's happened this young. I've read that 25% of ppl have another heart attack within the first year which to me is not very encouraging. I have instantly stopped smoking, eating well although I did eat a lot of healthy foods before but also ate junk food at weekends in addition to drinking too much. I am having to force myself to eat now as I have very little appetite and weight is dropping off. I feel hopeless and wish I could turn back the clock. I feel sad that I have caused this through unhealthy lifestyle mainly smoking and being sedentary. I am also experiencing burning sensations in chest and stomach and have been told I have pericarditis too which is hampering recovery. I'm worried that the chest pains are due to more than just pericarditis. I guess I need some light at the end if the tunnel, I feel lost and alone in all of this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I love reading other people's success stories.

19 Replies
oldestnewest

Hi Andie....just want to say stay strong and although it is early days for the diagnosis and treatment and all that it means in the long term, dont kick yourself harshly as there are so many people who only ever eat junk and smoke their whole life and never suffer what we have. It is so many other things that are involved.

It is a scary place but believe me it does get better. The initial feelings are going to subside I promise you. Give yourself space and time.

stay in touch on this site And and trust in the good to come. x

4 likes
Reply

Thanks for your response and kind words KT, it helps just seeing everyone's plight on here and I think for a lot of people it's fear of the unknown. I think the pericarditis is holding me back as it feels sort of similar to what I felt before the heart attack. I'm just going to arm myself with knowledge, read other people's stories and try my best to look after myself the best I can. I need to try to remain positive.

Best wishes

3 likes
Reply

good one Andie. But dont rush yourself....one day at a time. We do know what you are going through and like you, I found it so immensely helpful to read other peoples posts and to feel part of the bigger picture.

take care and speak again.

1 like
Reply

Hi andie, sorry to hear of your problems. Glad to hear you've stopped smoking that will help. The change in diet and cutting down on the alcohol will help too. You should get invited to a cardio rehab, this will give you more of an insight, exercise, diet and living more healthily.

The lack of appetite is normal, it will return, what you need to do now is build some stamina, get out walking, free, fresh air plus less strain your heart.

We all wish we could have done things differently, anything to avoid this, but we don't have that chance, what we did get was a warning, one that needs heeding.

You've turned the corner, we're here to help you with life going forwards.

Get well soon

Mark

Reply

Hi Mark

Thanks for your response. I feel like my world has been turned on its head. I think until something like this happens you are kind of lulled into a false sense of security but as you say this is a warning that you cannot ignore. Part of me is grateful that I have had a warning and am still alive (some people aren't that fortunate). I just hope that I get chance to turn things around in time.

It helps reading other people's stories and realising I am not alone in this. I just hope the pericarditis settles down soon as it is rather debilitating at times, in the meantime I am eating extremely clean whole foods and trying to catch up on much needed sleep and doing gentle exercise.

Thanks again for your kind words and best wishes in your journey for health.

Andrea

1 like
Reply

Hi Andie, just keep doing what you’re doing with the healthy eating etc and trust the medication will do the rest. Give yourself time to recover - it takes months not weeks my friend. I felt pretty good physically after my heart attack but then had to battle anxiety and fear .... it all faded eventually.

I found prayer and a return to church was a huge help but appreciate it might not be for everybody.

Good luck with your recovery.

David

3 likes
Reply

Hi David

Thanks for your response. Your history is kind of similar in that I have suffered from SVT since the age of 23 and had a curative ablation for it 3 years ago. It has been lovely to be cured of SVT as the monthly trips to ER for adenosine were not fun, however this heart attack has happened out of the blue!

I thought I had put my heart worries behind me. I had been to ER a few times prior to the attack last week and was told it was likely esophagal pain and that it was highly unlikely I had heart problems. I was given stomach tablets. I sat in ER waiting room for nearly 4 hours on the night of my heart attack (non stemi which didn't show on ecg in ambulance) and it was only later in the evening when bloods were taken that it was confirmed I had had a heart attack. I knew all week something was very wrong.

When I get odd pains now (supposedly due to pericarditis following the attack) I can't help thinking it's my heart again.

I can see how turning to faith would help you greatly. I have turned to meditating to try to detach from the worry.

I'm glad to hear you worked through it all and have come out in a better place. Anxiety can be tough and exhausting.

I just find some statistics sobering and worry I am going to have another attack and not be so lucky next time. I have to try and stay positive and take one day at a time. It helps knowing that there are others out there who have come through this.

Thanks again and best wishes for your health going forward.

Andrea

1 like
Reply

Hi Andrea... thanks for your reply. Yes I have suffered with SVT for years and only needed to call an ambulance a couple of times when I wasn't able to get the heart rate back to normal rhythm through breathing techniques. I've never had to have any adenosine as it's gone back to normal on its own - usually in the ambulance! I've also had an irregular heart beat all my life but not really noticed it - until my heart attack - now everything feels more noticeable.

I'm due to see my cardiologist next week about having an ablation. In my head I've told myself that it will help make my heart "normal-ish" again i.e. stop the SVT and reduce the skipped beats - if it does then I'll have two less things to worry about.

As you've had it done - is there anything I should be aware of or ask my cardiologist about next week?

Regards

David

Reply

Hi David

with regards to having an ablation, go for it as it cured my SVT once and for all. I used to get 300 Bpm which started getting more frequent and I just couldn't go on like that. as with all procedures it carries a small risk but nothing to worry about. You do feel warmth in the heart when they ablate but that's the bit where you know it's almost over. Do be aware that if they are unable to trigger the SVT they won't be able to ablate.

It's a no brainier to have this done as it can cure you completely of it. I had AVNRT and apparently was born with an extra pathway, that is fairly common and the cure rate is very high. They can tell from your Ecg sometimes where the pathway is but sometimes it's not until they are in there can they confirm it. SVT is largely harmless unless you have WPW syndrome but I gather they would have told you if you had this condition?

I'm quite an anxious person so wanted to know all the ins and outs of the procedure in detail but to be honest your best off not complicating things and worrying needlessly. I spent weeks going over things and worrying when in fact I was whipped in there, done in a few hours and out later that night. Few little ectopics and very mild ache in chest for a day or two but back to normal in days never to have SVT again, amazing really. You will still get the odd ectopic as that is separate to SVT but it won't trip into SVT.

I'd say go for it definitely!

Best wishes.

Andrea

1 like
Reply

Thanks Andrea... definitely going to get it done now :)

Reply

Brilliant. Just think, no more SVT. My only regret was wishing I had had the procedure done in my 20's!

Reply

Hi Andie stay strong and carry on what your doing .rehab worked wonders for me after my heart attack 7 years ago at 43 years old .met some wonderfull people going through the same things as me and i still have a great friendship with .it is hard to except what has happened to yourself but it will get much easier in time .stay positive and strong and stay off the cigs.

1 like
Reply

Hi Phil

Thanks for your encouraging words. I just want so much to be able to relax. I've been on edge since the night it happened (that was a Halloween I won't forget!). I just read sobering statistics which I know I shouldn't and it's worrying. I'm not tempted by the cigs but I do wonder if some of the chest tightness and achiness is due to tension and anxiety as I have given up a 20 yr old habit cold turkey. My rehab will start in about 10 days and a district nurse is visiting me tomorrow to explain what's next etc, which I am looking forward to. I haven't really had much reassurance from doctors etc. Everything happened so quickly then I was sent home. Can't wait to connect with others in the same boat at rehab. I do worry if I will be the youngest there at 42. Still can't believe this has happened.

Keep up the good work and pleased to hear you have done so well, it's heartening.

Andrea

Reply

Hi Andie, I really feel your pain and anxieties. I also suffered an heart attack at 47 which has shook me. I am constantly in fear of another. They can sort out the medical side but not the emotional stuff. Every day is a struggle, pains here and there and tiredness of worrying! My 2 girls keep me focused and I hope you find the light of the tunnel and have something to look forward to. God bless you xx

1 like
Reply

Hi Nic

I totally feel the fear you have felt. I am on edge as if waiting for something bad to happen. I just want a day to come when I can relax again. This shakes you to your core. Me and my partner don't have kids but are going to get a dog in the near future, more excuse for walks aswell! It helps to remember all of us are in this together, and there is some comfort in knowing I am not alone. Take care.

Andrea xx

1 like
Reply

I echo just about everything everyone else has said here. What you are going through is actually quite 'normal' as you will have picked up from everyone else. I would like to add one thing however, and that is 'don't look backwards'. You cannot change your past but you can certainly shape your future. You have started doing all the right things, keep at it, it will take will power, but you know it makes sense! It will take time (months not weeks), but you will improve in time. Incidentally, I found I needed food with a bit of a kick (spice in my case) to help kick-start my appetite.

Stay positive.

Steve

2 likes
Reply

Hi Andie, I had a heart attack in April aged 48. I too felt somewhat overwhelmed to start with and petrified it would happen again. Fortunately, that early panic faded as I completed the cardio rehab sessions and had good results from a nuclear scan. Six months on I'm two stone lighter and still going to the gym. If I'm honest, the anxiety still sneaks up on me now and then but overall I'm feeling really positive about the future and just thankful I'm still here! Take care and make sure you take up any offer of support offered by your hospital - be it cardio rehab, cholesterol clinic, psychology dept, see it as a support network to help you x

1 like
Reply

Hi Kazzie

Thanks for your reply. I am awaiting a visit from district nurse tomorrow who is going to arrange rehab etc. What frightens me is the stats on repeat heart attacks although different sites seem to differ. Also I am 13 days post attack and I get tightness and pressure, burning in chest which really worries me. This tends to come on at night time. I am just wading through the days but can't fully relax. Even doing meditation makes me focus on heartbeat which kind of defeats the purpose lol. It's nice to read about your journey and your success in overcoming this. Hopefully I will too.

Best wishes

Andrea X

1 like
Reply

Hi Andrea, you’ve probably already done this but I found it helpful early on to write down any questions or symptoms I had so I would remember everything when I met with doctors and nurses as it’s so easy to forget stuff. Make sure you mention everything no matter how small it seems as although it’s a whole new world to us, the professionals have a wealth of experience to draw on. I personally stopped reading and searching the internet as like you say the information can vary so much. Hopefully cardio rehab will help build your confidence and reassure you if you have any symptoms. Good luck tomorrow x

Reply

You may also like...