Genetics and my heart attack...anyone... - British Heart Fou...

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Genetics and my heart attack...anyone similar with hope


I'm having one of those days. Having had a HA last week stent fitted and further tests to be done, I'm trying to get my head around why this has all happened. I know that its down to family history as generally I have led a healthy lifestyle as possible. Does anyone out there have a similar cause and can you tell me that if you are doing ok (preferably with many years behind you lol) .Despite not really knowing what caused things in the first place. After all, what can you do to help yourself if it is in your general make-up. I'm Feeling a bit low. I kind of wish i was overweight or had high blood pressure then at least i could blame it on something concrete.

7 Replies

Just dodged a heart attack last year, two stents fitted. Always healthy, though diet and lack of exercise can't have helped. My mother had heart disease for years though. it does run in families. I'm doing really well. Once out of hospital, if not before, you will be offered cardiac rehab. Grab it with both hands. The hospital will have saved your life, but rehab is what will give you quality of life back. It will get you moving again, put you in touch with others who have been through the same experience, and get you healthy again.

My CAD is completely genetic. My dad and his two brothers and their mum were all dead before the age of 60 with heart disease. I made a conscious decision when i was young not to smoke or drink, and in addition my BP and cholesterol were fine. I am a little overweight but my doctor was not at all concerned about it!

However, last year , following unstable angina I ended up with 5 stents and a diagnosis of coronary artery disease. I was horrified, upset and scared but also felt mad. Mad because whatever I had done (or had not done!) would have made no difference. I felt that all I had done was delay the inevitable. Maybe if my risk factors were higher I would just have had it even earlier in life (I am 51 now).

However, my dad never had the benefit of stents, was hugely overweight and was a heavy smoker. He had his first heart attack at 38. Even without all the added benefits I have (stents, meds, non smoker, non drinker, normal-ish weight, low BP, low cholesterol etc ) he still lived another 22 years.

I'm hoping I can do that too - as a minimum!


Could I suggest a different approach? Genetics may have given you a predisposition to heart issues but maybe a focus on the “what next” is more productive?

You have had your immediate problem addressed with stents (same as me 18 months ago) and the likelihood of recurrence reduced by a variety of drugs. This will be enhanced when you are likely referred for cardiac rehabilitation classes where you will regain fitness and confidence in your body. Quite possibly you were previously labouring as a result of a growing blockage which is now clear! I certainly felt better very quickly and found a lot of lethargy and tiredness I felt was not age but an impending heart attack!

I don’t have the requested years post heart attack experience, many here do, but certainly see no reason why I will not be around for many years to come. I have now resumed scuba diving and I did the London to Brighton cycle ride on Sunday for the BHF. At 65 that’s not too bad so you have a lot to look forward to.

I think it’s down to managing the things under your control and trust the medical advice to handle the things you can’t

All the best

I really agree with the others, as someone with ‘hearty genes’, a gift from my Dad. But I would add something more. Since my 3 heart attacks, and starting coronary rehab (three times!) , I have slowly got much fitter than I was before. Circuit training three times a week, and fast walking on 2 other days, now adding Zumba. The consultant said my heart had become (measured objectively) stronger than before.

I thought I was fit before, weight (truthfully) half a stone higher than advised, good diet, no smoking, very little alcohol, Now I’m much fitter, and lighter.

I’m 74.

Hi, I’m just recovering from a triple bypass after an angiogram showed I needed the op rather than stents as the blockages were very bad. My dad died of a heart attack when he was only 41 many years ago in 1962. I was only 12 but I can remember him complaining of bad indigestion several times before the actual attack but back then it wasn’t known that indigestion radiating down the arm was a sign of Angina. I asked about a genetic link when I saw my cardiologist but he just said it can be a factor. Like you I’ve tried to keep healthy over the years so my diagnosis came as a shock & I think the family history played a big part. Still onwards & upwards I start cardiac rehab next week delayed a couple of weeks cos I had complications caused by low potassium & magnesium post op which had to be sorted out. Jean

Family history will get you every time. Both parents died in their early 40s from heart disease. I worried about this through my 30s, and 40s, but when I reached 50 thought I had dodged a bullet. Pulmonary embolism and leukemia diagnosis at 62, but no heart issues. Then March 2018 at 65 I had NSTEMI. Stent and coronary artery disease. It finally got me. Oh well, I’ve only used 3 of my 9 lives.

Hidden in reply to kc1953

Hi kc1953

Do you mind me asking when your heart issues started was you still on anticoagulants from the PE?

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