British Heart Foundation
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Recently diagnosed with Unstable Angina

Hi everyone, I am new here and never written on a forum before but wanted to share what has happened and also understand how to move forward without feeling scared of the condition and the could have beens.

I had what I now know was an Angina attack three weeks ago, followed by a coronary artery stent fitted. Subsequently I have been told I had a myocardial infarcation as a result of unstable angina and have been given a number of medications to help manage/control the issues surrounding it. I also have a 1st assessment on 21 June with the local cardiac rehab team.

I have fantastic support from my husband, family and friends. But they cant be with me all the time and nor do I expect them to be.

Since being at home I have started to recognise what triggers an attack, and scarily understand that there had been several smaller instances before my "big one" 3 weeks ago. I also accept that I need to reduce my cholesterol levels and am working with my husband to change my diet - he is also going to chnage his with me.

How have others come to terms with their situations and managed the dark thoughts that seem to be an inevitable part of the process to accepting that this is real and potentially life threatening health issue?

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Hi Ynez,

Welcome to the community, you said that you had a stent fitted which artery? and what meds are you on.

I`m glad that you are able to start and recognise the some of the triggers to a angina attack, if the attack is resolved by rest and your GTN spray then there is little in relative terms to worry about.

However the unstable angina is a different matter firstly this will nearly always come on at rest though it can be triggered by exercise if it does not resolve with the GTN spray and rest within 10 minutes then this is a medical emergency and you should call 999 without fail and let the attending crew decide the best course of treatment (in my 7 years experience this is a trip to the local A&E for the usual tests) as my cardiologist put it make the call immediately as you probably won`t get a second chance to make the call. Plus the crews would rather attend a angina attack than a cardiac arrest.

Having said all that the better news is I had 2 heart attacks and a cardiac arrest 7 years ago and ended up with 3 stents in the LAD and 1 in the OM. also diagnosed with both stable and unstable angina as well as numerous other cardiac problems.

So my advice is take each day as it comes and make the best of the good ones because there will be some difficult days to manage. Listen to your body it will tell you what it needs.

Hope this has been of help and given you a little insight.

Regards

Steve

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Hi Ynez and welcome aboard. Try not to worry. It never solved anything. You are in good hands. If anything was likely to happen very soon they wouldn't be waiting until 21st June.

People on here are very helpful. If you need more support you can call the BHF Heart Helpline (trained nurses) on 0300 330 3311.

If you are considering life style changes, I would recommend that you watch the film "Forks Over Knives". It is on Netflix and YouTube. It is about global medical heart research and the findings, including a massive study of 800,000 Chinese people. You might find it helpful, I did.

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Hi Ynez. It’s natural to feel concern and have dark thoughts. The rehab programme really helps with confidence building so hopefully you will find that as you increase your confidence your dark thoughts will recede. However you may want to see a counsellor or health psychologist to help with coping strategies. I follow a strict vegan diet and that has helped my health no end. Losing 32kgs and reducing cholesterol as well. Do take care. Zena

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Hi Ynez

I had unstable angina too and a stent fitted in my LAD.

I agree with Jimmy watch forks over knives, it’s on Netflix. I’ve been completely plant based since coming out of hospital in September. My cholesterol is down to 3.1 (bad cholesterol 0.7). Lost 2 stone and not had reason to use my gtn spray.

Best of luck to you

Daren

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Hi Ynez and welcome!

I've had unstable angina for five years now, with a confirming angioplasty four years ago under anesthesia with my cardiologist presiding. Since then, I've had only one major incident requiring hospitalization, four years ago. I've managed to get it down to one or two mild incidents per year. I'm not sure how much of that is due to my research and effort and how much is due to luck. I also don't know how much is transferable to others (like you) or not, but I'll tell you've what I've done and you can pick and choose whatever you like or think is appropriate.

1. Stress: I was told not to engage in cross words with anyone. I have managed this by agreeing about 80% more than I used to. I agree with most people about anything. This has helped. I have also taken water aerobics, swim lessons, boat rides, and lots of concerts. Very helpful.

2. Medication: I am on Cardizem CD 120 twice per day. Don't get the regular; the slow release is the only one I can tolerate. My fingers and toes have improved nerve function since taking this medication, and it does remove angina incidents. It lowers blood pressure, but for me that is a side effect since my blood pressure was not high.

3. Diet: I have radically changed my diet. I don't care about labels like 'vegan' or whatever, but I now eat mostly dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe with blueberries, soups made with meat broths and lots of vegetables in them, and oats mixed with oat bran, ground flax seed, apple slices, blueberries and chopped almonds for breakfast each day.

4. Exercise: I walk 2 miles (sometimes with a short sit down at the 1.75 mile marker) twice a week and am looking for someone to walk with to take it up to four times a week.

I am still working on getting my cholesterol down, as I won't take a statin, but so far the angina has come under good control. I haven't had to go to ER in four years.

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