British Heart Foundation
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But I am fit and healthy!

But I am fit and healthy!

53 years old and just had two stents fitted. Just feeling angry at the moment and can't understand why I have coronary heart disease. I have never smoked, have low blood pressure, low heart rate, low cholesterol, am not overweight, go to the gym regularly, don't have diabetes etc etc etc. Annoyed that I can't find any advise or information on what I can do to avoid a heart attack when I already seemed to be doing it all in the first place. Anybody else out there like me?

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Good afternoon, sorry to hear about your current situation. As someone who was fit and healthy but got bowled over by a similar situation at a much younger age I fully appreciate why you feel so angry. All I can say is that after years in and out of cardiac units there really isn't an answer to the "Why me"? question. Genetics play an unavoidable part.I would strongly recommend going on the cardiac rehab course, which you should be offered as they will be able to answer some of your questions. Easier said than done but try to stay positive, there is life after stents as I can vouch for.

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Thanks - will definitely take up the rehab when offered. I’ll just have to get over the ‘why me’ navel gazing!

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This is a very familiar post on this forum. So many of us, myself included, don't fit the stereotypical image of a heart patient. I was diagnosed with heart failure at 31 - had never smoked, been vegetarian since the age of 10, led a busy and active life, was only very slightly overweight...then, completely out of the blue, my health/world/image of myself was turned upside-down.

I think anger is a very common and natural response. I was angry with people who looked like they should have heart issues and seemingly didn't and would rage internally at fat smokers on the streets. When I attended various clinics, I felt like I didn't belong, like the other patients in the waiting room were the "type" to have heart problems while I was not. When people tried to tell me I was lucky to have had my condition picked up, it was all I could do not to scratch their eyes out! So angry!

As time passed and I learned more about heart disease and met more heart patients, I realised that we come in all shapes, sizes, ages and types. I think that really helped me manage to accept my situation and begin to feel more positive, but it took a long time. I'm sure this forum will show you a similar picture quite quickly, hopefully it will lessen the "why me" feelings for you too.

I know it's frustrating to live well and then be hit with a diagnosis like this, but your healthy lifestyle prior to this, while it hasn't prevented this happening, will definitely help you deal with your diagnosis and hopefully make a good recovery, so please don't feel like it's all been for naught. You'd be far worse off if you hadn't lived well up to this point.

My heart condition is quite different to yours, but I know there are many on this forum who have experienced similar and come out the other side feeling positive about the future and living life to the full. I'm sure some of them will stop by to share their experiences with you soon.

Good luck going forwards, it will get easier.

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Hi Laura - you’re much more eloquent than I am and I can see from other posts that I am definitely not alone. That in itself have been a great comfort. I’m already turning the corner on being more positive, the self pity is beginning to fade;-)

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I think I may be the person Laura is referring to. I was really healthy, and a month ago had a heart attack and cardiac arrests. I really sympathise with how you feel. There really doesn't seem to be any rhyme nor reason for what has happened to us. But if it is any comfort, you are not alone. There are many of us on this forum who are struggling to understand the 'why us' situation. I have found the mental side to be almost harder than the physical side. I suspect, and hope, that, with time, we will come to terms with this. But do vent here - I have found it helps! With best wishes.

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I’ll be sure to vent when I need to. I’m coming to terms with what has happened which pales into insignificance when compared to the events you and others have had to face. Thanks for you kind and supportive words - much appreciated.

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Similar situation here. Was diagnosed with diastolic heart failure in November. Primary treatment for diastolic heart failure is to treat the underlying condition(s) that caused it. Only problem is that, as far as we know, I have no underlying conditions. I am angry and grieving the life I had and the life I hoped to have. After eight years of looking after a nasty and vindictive elderly parent, I was looking forward to an active retirement with my husband. Now I have to find a new “positive” focus for the future.

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Hi Pam - I’m totally with you on the no underlying conditions to treat! And sorry to hear that you have had such a hard time. I hope things work out better for you from now on.

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Hi my condition is very different to yours but 5 years ago my life was out of the blue turned upside down. Like you I was fit & I thought healthy I just had my 40 year mot 2 months prior which all came back tip top! 5 years down the line my condition has flared again & I am still asking myself why me but since joining this group I feel a little more positive I hope you do too x

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I’m feeling more positive too. Thanks for your post. I am really appreciating all the wise words and supportive ideas.

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Hi Patrick, apart from cholesterol (mine is high), sounds a bit like myself. I too have CHD though fortunate not to require any stents. Mine is hereditary so could this be the case with you?

Anger is normal and that will pass with time. I don’t think you will find any advice as you seem to be doing all the right things just now!!

As has already been said, stay positive, try not to get too stressed and, most importantly live your life to the full. Though nothing is guaranteed, you may never have a heart attack so don’t let CHD rule you. Take care and be happy🙂

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Yes I think there is an hereditary element. My Mum, aunts and uncles and grandma all had strokes rather than heart attacks - but I guess they are related. I had sort of discounted their conditions as all of them had many other risk factors - so I put their problems down to poor lifestyles. But the more I think about it the more likely it is that family history has a role here although it was masked somewhat.

I’ll certainly take you advice on not letting CHD rule my life.

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Helloe and welcome to the forum.

Like yourself, I am 53 years old fit and healthy marathon runner, running marathon every year around the globe for the last eight years. Like you said have low blood pressure, low heart rate (being a runner), low cholesterol, no family history, non-smoker, no alcohol abuse, great weight management. Naturally, I asked the same question, where did I go wrong? If you really want to know the full story look at my post, am sure you will find helpful.

healthunlocked.com/bhf/post...

What I found that while it may be frustrating at times to live with this conditions but my fitness levels and healthy lifestyle has helped me enormously to overcome the challenges and perhaps assisted greatly make a speedy recovery so rest assured you are on the right path.

Like I said in my other post to another runner that although we may be facing similar challenges but we overcome those challenges differently, it’s down to us as individuals to manage our conditions as best fit possible. We have all the tools/knowledge at our disposal and unfortunately there is no one solution fit us all.

One thing I strongly suggest that when presented do take the rehab option, it was really great for me, although you may find some of the chaps in the rehab class may think that you are at the wrong place :-).

I must admit when I joined the forum I did not think that I would be reading so many threads from runners facing these challenges, it really is shocking.

You might be encouraged to know that in the last couple of months, I managed to extended my runs up to10M (using HR monitor to keep an eye on HR) and I don’t feel any side/after effect. During the run, I keep a close eye on HR, ensuring I remain within my target zones.

So in conclusion, dont pay much attention to why me, it’s a history now, look at the positive outlook going forward, we are here to help each other to overcome our challenges and hopefully bring some sort of normality back to our lives.

Wish you a speedy recovery.

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Hi there Mandm65!

This is a wonderful comment you left, thank you! So fantastic that you are running again....and 10miles!!!! Wow! A real inspiration and exactly what I needed to read from my hispital bed. Maybe I'll be riding horses again soon :-)

Take care and all the best,

Drumstix

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hi Drumstix, no worries mate, its encouraging to know that posts are beneficial and somewhat inspiring. When I was writing the post, I hadn’t a clue that it could have been read from hospital bed.

Wish you speedy recovery and if you are reading posts here then take a look at my other posts, you may find those helpful, especially as you start your recovery journey.

Do keep us posted though!

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You put me to shame. And I thought I was pretty fit for my age! Great to hear your able to run so far now. I’m aiming to be back at the gym in a couple of weeks - will take it easy to start with and make sure the old ticker can take it.

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Hi Patrickir!

I'm 52 and in hospital as I type this. I've been here for two weeks. I'm rather geeky about my health; Ideal weight, exercise well (cycling, walking, horse riding....) non smoker, low sugar etc etc etc.... So far I have no idea what has caused my problems or what the future holds, however it's become clear to me that there are so many things that can cause CHD, and often the answers are just not obvious at all! It's often really complex which is tough to accept when all you want is 'answers' so you can do something about the future and get better!

As said above though, I'm sure that your good health prior to this will be standing you in really good stead now. For me i was told that it was exactly because I was fit and healthy that my heart was actually strong enough to survive my issues and recover. Try to take some heart (sorry!) from the fact that you were healthy before and hopefully you'll be able to build yourself up again. You need to be really kind to yourself, and go slowly. The human body has amazing capacity to heal so have faith in yourself.

Really wish you the very best!

Take good care

Drumstix

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Hi Drumstix - I hope all goes well with you hospital stay. CHD = complicated for definite. I wish it wasn’t as I like to get my head around problems and think then through. Very difficult with so much conflicting evidence and opinions. I think you’re right about prior good health. Hopefully that’ll help us both live for a very long time to come. Take care

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Hi Everyone - I'm not really a social media fan, so joining this forum was a bit of a punt for me - but for once I needed to reach out to a community in a similar situation as myself for support. Thank you for all your kind thoughts and comments - all of your stories and insights are very helpful in helping me come to terms with what has happened and how I will move forward.

I thought posting on the forum might help me find some explanation for recent events, but it seems that sometimes sh*t just happens.

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We have a stereotype view of what a person with heart problems is like, overweight, maybe a smoker, someone who maybe drinks a wee bit more than is good for you, does very little exercise. Well that’s out of the window , as many people on here are like yourself, looks after themselves, fit, enjoys exercise. I had my world turned upside down last July,at work in the morning and by the afternoon being kept in hospital for open heart surgery aorticvalue replacement. I had no idea I had a problem , birth defect, genetic , gave up 4days before my 57th Birthday .

7 months on and all is well and I see it as Thank god it was found, I wouldn’t of seen my 58th Birthday . It takes a while to get your head around it, but life will return to a new type of normal which is also good. So enjoy life we have all been given a great 2nd chance.Kaz❤️💕💖

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Hi Kaz - looks like you along with many others have had a much tougher time than I have had. Hope you stay well for a very long time

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Thanks I intend too 😂

Stay strong 💪

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My husband David suffered a heart attack in 2008 and was fitted with 2 stents. He had just had his yearly fitness review with Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade. He was diagnosed with famialhypercholesterolemia as his Dad had passed away at the age of 42. Sadly David had severe heart failure as he had numerous small heart attacks prior to the large one. 4 years ago a heart transplant was the only option for him but he was not suitable, and he passed away with a cardiac arrest in July 2014 at the age of 53 For years he went through the ' why me' which affected him greatly as he had never had a days illness in his life. He had a close friend who had a heart attack and was the fittest person ever and 15 years down the line is as fit now as he was then after 2 stents were fitted.

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Hi Moamos - I’ve been wondering how to reply to your message. I am sorry for your loss. David was so young and it looks like you had a tough last 10 year together with his illness. It is very kind of you to share your story. I am very lucky to have had warning signs and treatment early. I do wonder why me, but the more I hear through this forum, the more I am beginning to understand that I have had a lucky escape. Thanks for the warning about letting this bother me too much. Wise words. X

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Hi Patrickir,

I had a heart attack and cardiac arrest in 2013 at age 53. I was lucky to survive. Like you I don't understand why it had to be me. Unfortunately although I survived and had a stent fitted I cannot recall whether there was any prior warning.

I think two days in an induced coma in the ICU destroyed any memory I may have had.

I am now living well although I always wonder when I have a sharp pain or a twinge if I am having another heart event.

I am thankful for still being alive as it could have been so different but I fully understand where you are coming from.

Good luck and I wish you all the best for the future. You are not alone in how you feel.

Kind regards,

Ross

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Hi Ross - I think I’ve been very very lucky. I had warning signs over a period of about a month and was already engaged with doctors. Things got worse and preventive action (stents) was taken. It looks like so many people aren’t lucky enough to have warning signs and get hit out of the blue. Take care

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Thank you. You too.

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I know where you are coming from on this, stents despite being active and avoiding the obvious excesses. You need a reason. Similar for me, mine happened whilst working out. My pulse rate, blood pressure, blood sugar are all ideal especially for my age (similar to yours!). When you go deeper into the biomedical stuff, there are some significant factors we don't often consider - refined sugars having greater effect on bad cholesterol than saturated fats (I know, sounds like heresy), correlation with vitamin D. Its not just about not being overweight, but what we put in to our systems. That atheroma builds up, then if we are under heavy emotional stress narrowing our arteries even more, and exercising, the effect is sadly a surprise.

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