All I need is some honest advise - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation
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All I need is some honest advise

Im 28, overweight (put 2 stone on this year due to drinking energy drinks and esting take away) and up until about 3 months ago hadn't seen a DR in about 6 years other than when my partner gave birth. My apologies for the length but please read.

I was short of breath and had some weird pain in my chest so went ER/A&E, after having Blood Tests, Blood pressure, Chest Xray and an ECG done was told it was anxiety to see my GP.

Saw my GP who gave me sertraline but I didn't feel comfortable taking them so went back a week or so later explained I didn't want an SSRI and had my Blood Pressure done again which was raised still.

Was sent for a blood test for Renal Profile (UE), Liver Profile (LFT), Bone Profile (BONE), Thyroid (TSH), FBC (F), HbA1c (A1C) Fasting Lipids (FL), LDL, HDL and all have come back fine (cholesterol ratio was 3.2)

Again told its in my head and to take atenlol to lower the blood pressure but I didn't want to be on a beta blocker and agreed to start the sertraline after being reassured they were pretty safe and given some diazepam/valium. I have also had another ECG at my doctors which appparnelty is perfect.

It has now being 11 days on sertraline 50mg and taking 1 diazepam 2mg daily but blood pressure still sitting on average about 130/90 but anywhere between about 115/65 - 165/95 whilst at home but today at the doctors it come back 144/111 which made the doctor decide to put me on amlodipine and told me that the only real side effect is swelling of ankles but I have read 100's of users tonight saying otherwise so will not be using these.

Are there any relatively widely used drugs to lower blood pressure where the majority dont seem to moan about them and even call them "poison"

I have tonight bought Garlic capsules to take with cod liver oil and magnesium what I started a couple weeks ago myself.

Please can some one help, advise or user experience would be great. My DR has begrudgingly reffered me to a cardiologist but appparnelty there is a 6 month wait! In that time i guess this will either sort it self out or ill be dead or rushed to hospital with a heary related problem...... what can I do though

31 Replies

You haven’t got diabetes, and hopefully never will, but you have several symptoms of metabolic/insulin-resistance syndrome. Your impaired ability to cope with stress may be due to the hormonal imbalance.

Follow the ICS-NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme dietary approaches and you should see improvements.

Mediterranean portions per day, fruit and veg (mainly berries and/or non-starchy veg) 5 to 9, natural fat (favouring monounsaturated) 4 to 8, low Gi carbohydrates 4 to 8, protein 2 or 3, full-fat dairy 2 or 3.

Low-carb differs with natural fat 5 to 10, and low Gi carbohydrates 0 to 4.

Intermittent fasting is suitable for some.

Try doing some aerobic exercise for 15 minutes, two or three times per week, and learn relaxation such as progressive muscular relaxation, and visualisation/meditation.

Continue to consult your GP for medical matters, and don’t bottle things up; confide in someone.

All the best!

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Thankyou for replying, It is weird you mention about the insulin resistance as my father is insulin resistant aswell as being a diabetic.

I shall have a look into the ICS-NHS diet,I have being looking at the DASH diet as have heard that this is good for hypertension with regards to exercise I feel trapped as I almost go into a sense of panic when im out and think im going to faint.

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Hi Turtle. I had a mild HA this year due to a blocked artery, my experience is that a HA would have shown up in your blood test as they measure the Troponin enzyme that your heart gives off when it is unhappy. If after all those tests the hospital says it’s Anxiety then it most likely is. I too have suffered from anxiety post HA and I recognise your symptoms. Deal with that and your blood pressure will come down and with it the weird feeds off the other leading to panic. This is what I did....I lost 2 stone in weight, I go out walking everyday in a local country park as this keeps my stress levels down and gives me the exercise your body needs to control its blood pressure, you don’t need to go mad just brisk walking will do it. I also downloaded the Headspace App which is free, this helped me learn breathing techniques to relax and control the feelings of impending doom. Also distraction so you are not dwelling on it or becoming fixated by every twinge.

Hope this helps, take care x

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Thankyou for replying, I am unsure what a HA is but I hope you are recovering well.

I find it hard to believe it is anxiety but slowly am starting to accept that it may very well be and have being taking sertraline/zoloft and also diazepam/valium, I also have the initial assesment for CBT next Tuesday but it is the blood pressure that I am struggling with.

It is a vicious circle as like I say I put about 2 stone on at the start of the year, I was about 15 stone. I have always being on the bigger side (my family all do) but I started the gym and was walking there 3 days a week and doing an hour or so there but after about 6 weeks didn't really lose no weight and gave up borderlined depressed and ate junk and drunk energy drinks hence the increase of weight.

when I walk just round the block I have thoughts that my heart is pounding and then I get extremely dizzy and feel faint which have literally scared me from nipping to town or even up the shops. I now wake up lightheaded daily and do seem to dwindle on that all day long.

I will grab headspace and see whether that can help also. I have tried using faith hunters 30 day meditation on youtube to stay relaxed and if I check my blood pressure after following the video it is lower but within 15/20 mins the blood pressure raises back up to 140/150 over 90/95 then that gets me down.


HA= Heart Attack.

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Would having a gym buddy have helped you?


I did but he kept on letting me down which is half the reason I gave up and ended up feeling the way I did


You say you've put on two stone in the past year because of take aways and energy drinks. That's quite a lot of weight to put on in just 12 months.

Fix that and I bet you'll feel a lot better.


Thankyou for replying, it is and it is stupid to be honest but I went on a depressive one and that was my escape. I am now stuck in a rut that even walking round the block I am borderlining panicking about my heart and lightheadeness.


Lifestyle measures are the first line in hypertension control. Definitely ditch the energy drinks and takeaways and stick to the DASH diet, which is a good healthy diet as well as being specifically for high blood pressure. It's really important to get down to a healthy BMI. This and a good diet with plenty of vegetables and low in salt, saturated fat and sugar will do you far more good than taking unnecessary supplements. Spend the money on fruit and veg! Portion control and cooking from scratch are your friends in keeping at a healthy weight, and good for your family too. There are a lot of good recipes on the BHF site.

According to the NICE guidelines younger people with hypertension should be offered first an ACE inhibitor or a ARB. I myself take an ARB, candesartan, which has a very good side-effect profile and causes me no problems. With all drugs the majority of people don't have side-effects, but it's the ones who do who post on forums! You can only tell whether you'll have side-effects by taking the drug.

But losing weight and taking exercise should bring your blood pressure down. The NHS recommends a 10-minute brisk walk 3 times a day as a good start ( google 'NHS active 10' and you'll find an app for your phone). I find a fitbit very helpful to stop me being a couch potato. I appreciate it's really difficult when you have panic attacks but try to stick with it, as the more you do it the easier it is. A park is good - nature is very helpful for stress and anxiety.

It's clear from reading your other healthunlocked posts that you have anxiety issues, particularly health anxiety. The Cognitive Therapy should help. According to NICE guidelines you should not be prescribed diazepam for more than a couple of weeks.

I suggest you google 'health anxiety NHS' and on the NHS site you will find a link to a very useful pdf NHS booklet to help you deal with it.

This is a miserable problem which can take over your life and make you feel every twinge is a symptom. You are young, with children, and these are years you should be enjoying - they won't come back again. Try to keep your focus outside yourself and your body on doing enjoyable activities with your children and partner.

All the best


Thankyou for your reply, yes I have ditched the energy drinks a couple of weeks before this all started to be honest, I was also a smoker for half my life but went cold turkey almsot 2 months ago to try and help things. I dont drink caffeine and only really drink cordial/squash with water.

Its the food side that I struggle with, I looked at the DASH diet but I struggle with knowing what to cook/make using grains, oats etc. I am introducing more fruits into my diet such as bananas and apples but I hear conflicting stories that to much fruits are bad due to the sugars in them.

I have never being this way, I used to be able to walk miles and at this time of the year would be out christmas shopping and what not but now I am so fatigued and panicy that I slouch around doing not an awful lot. I dont even have concentration to be a couch potato and watch a film, truth be told I seem to spend half the day looking at what these pains in my chest "might" be for example..... I know that probably makes everything worse but again im stuck in this cycle.

With regards to diazepan the Dr only gave to help with anxiety originally 2mg 3 times a day but I didn't and dont want to be addicted so I was/have being taking 1 a day, there has being once or twice I have had an additional tablet later in the day but the dr was quite shocked and when put me on the sertraline said he would give me another 14 to take to help prevent the anxiety whilst starting them (I currently have 8 diazepam left and am on day 11 with the sertraline so hopefully side effects will be wearing off)

I will google health anxiety like you advise and have a read, my biggest concern is blood pressure which in turn is causing yet more anxiety/panic because I fear the tablets I have being given not once but twice now (antenlol and andeplide) i think its worse because I got it in my head that if I take these tablets and have a reaction I wont be here for Christmas and will end up in hospital which is making me even worse



Loose weight. I had to I put on a lot of weight from steriods I have for a lung condition. The consultant said loose weight. I lost 10kg in six months with diet and walking. Breakfast was a slice of toast with salt and pepper. lunch was a tuna sandwich I walked home from the bus stop for an hour got off the bus early. I ate well in the evenings.

Five years ago I used to swim a mile every lunch time. struggled and got diagnosed with a lung problem. Then cycled the same route I walk now. had to stop that, recently couldnt walk that walk.

I had a series of small heart attacks two weeks ago Of to A&E which resulted in the discovery of a narrowing of an artery and a stent being put in. The rest of my heart is thankfully in good shape. I am fifty one. Would I have been a worse state if I hadnt been so active or my wife so concious of our diet.

Your twenty eight young and should be fit as a fiddle and you might just have done nothing more than scare yourself. You probably had a moment of clarity if you like. Dont depend on anyone else for your fitness take responsibility for it yourself. If you have stopped the energy drinks then you might be having caffine withdrawl. Cut out the sugar and get some excersise. Try and fit it into your day.

Dont worry, just make changes diet and walking are easy and will save you some money.

Good luck.


Firstly sorry to hear about the heart attacks and I hope you are recovering well from them.

I rarely eat breakfast and skip lunch but eat a relatively large meal in the evening and then used to snack through the evening right up to when I went bed something else I have now changed.

I really hope it is nothing more than a scare, but really struggle to ignore the weird feelings that come and go around my chest aswell as the lightheadeness every day. I am currently taking the sertraline after a reassuring word with my doctor who basically said "Tom you got children do it for them if no one else, what you got to lose" but rhe blood pressure just doesn't want to go again. It could have also started as a caffeine withdrawl but my last energy drink was about 3 months ago, I have given up smoking aswell so I could also be experiencing a withdrawal to that I guess as I smoked from about 14 years old.

Im stuck in a rut because even walking to the doctors (about 15/20 minutes from where I live) causes what I would call panic attack (heart beats harder, sweat, feel like im walking in space) but although BP is high my heart beat has being perfect and even had an ecg withij 5 mins of doing this walk and was told that was lovely so deep down i know its not my heart...........

It is hard and I wish I never done what i done it was nothing but stupid and is quite possibly the reason for the aches, twinges, high blood presusre, light headediness as I saw I had put alot of weight on before these side effects kicked in and It got me down

Again I hope you are recovering well


Thank you for your concern and yes I am doing really well. You said you have kids if thats right then THERES your motivation. The thought of my two hoys growing up without there dad was enough for me to give up smoking fourteen years ago. Two weeks ago in the cardiac ward the only thing that broke my heart was the idea that my now teenage boys might have to grow up without there dad. I was worried about them having to come to hospital to see their dad. I meet some great old fellas on the ward. Interesting people all non drinkers, slim. All with multiple conditions but all fighters you can see it in their eyes. It was clear to me that they all are determined indivules and that's the kind of man we should all choose to be in control of our diet in control of our wellbeing and in control of our lives. We do from time to time let it all go drink to much eat to much and sit on our backsides. This should be the exception not the rule and we should know when and how to get it back on track. Your doing this now and unless your superman there will probably be other times in your life too. You have done probably the most difficult thing stopping smoking. This is easier just "keep calm and carry on"

There is no greater motivation than your kids. Loosing weight and changing life style is infinately easier than giving up smoking itsvl a walk in the park. Get a small dog your kids will love it and you'll have to walk it. Just get out there everyday for ten minutes. Next week add five more find a bench and take a seat for five minutes to break a longer walk down. don't make it difficult for yourself make it easy find a nice walk, take the kids with you take them to the playground.

Think about when it might be nice to get out sunset frost leaves turning etc. Make it something you enjoy as a family you will have enough distraction to stop worrying and start enjoying to walk. Its much easier with family.

There is a NHS weight loss section on the site get in there! You've made a u turn already you just need to keep going in the right direction and it will all be good.


Stick to coffee as less sugar and better for u, I’ve done energy drinks before and choose healthy options wiv takeaways or cook more. As wiv the heart meds listen to ur dr and work alongside them. I’ve found wen things aren’t right it’s my heart condition not the meds but I have a heart defect so unsure for ur heart condition.


Thankyou for replying, I have avoided coffee, tea even coca cola since stopping energy drinks. I am starting to eat better and will be asking my Dr for a DASH meal plan or something similar.

I am scared to take meds for several reasons 1) I am 28, 2) I suffer anxiety (so im told) and this makes it worse 3) Im just generally scared something is going to happen

Other than high blood pressure there are no symptons and my dr has laughed at me for thinking im having a heart attack or got an AAA.

I think I need to man up and just take the anlodopine amd hopefully feel better by Xmas and in the new year seriously diet and exercise.


A friend's wife was badly obese! She joined Slimming World (GPs can now prescribe a starter course). After losing a significant amount of weight she is free of the joint pains, breathlessness and occasional chest pains that plagued her. You will also get support from people in a similar position.


Im obese and If I didnt have this light headeness/dizzyness from as soon as I wake up I would for sure be exercising and walking..... I used to walk miles but literally over night it feels like I cant. The Dr have said lightheadeness is because of anxiety and possibly blood pressure being raised hence why I have being put on sertralines, diazepams and now amlodipine to bring bp down.

Its a vicious circle for sure, I think I am going to just take the amlodopine and see what it does if anything, just hopefully I dont get no negative side effects. I was hoping that taking magnesium, garlic allium, cod liver oil would be enough to help lower but It clearly isn't......


Yes, I have quite a few friends who have lost a lot of weight on the Slimming World diet.

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My heart meds don’t interfere wiv my emotional issues.


Hi there immediately stop energy drink I drink last 10 years I wish never drink and caused blocked my arteries I had triple bypass last April. And my blood pressure gone very high. You young my advise don't drink energy drink they really dangerous.

Good luck


Oh believe me I have stopped, had a crazy 3 months on "monsters" but realised I was putting weight on and waist size went up so stopped then this started happening now i have high BP and pains that although arent very painful are annoying. And to add scared to take medication which now adds to the anxiety....... just hoping its not to late and I can kick this hypertension.

I hope you are recovering, what medications do you take for your bp?


hi there I take 3.5 mg bisoprol ,amplodine 5 mg and 75 mg aspirin also 20 statin


What type of statin? 20mg is a relatively low dose for some and a very high one for others.


Hi I was on 80 mg atorvastatin and after doctor dropped 20 mg atorvastatin. Colestrol 3.9 but I have lot of muscle pain and I did ask doctor to drop to 20mg. What do you think about dropping to 20mg. I mean I feel bit better now.


That is not a particularly high dose of Atorvastatin but would be a high one of Rosuvastatin. My statin dose was quadrupled post quadruple bypass (would it have tripled for a treble :) ). My cholesterol has only stopped 0.1 so I will question it down the line. If your increase is similar you will still be in range. Response to drug dose tends not to be linear which is why they often combine two BP medications.

I had awful muscle pain (legs and shoulders) with Simvastatin (on a low dose) but none with Atorvastatin. Pharmacist has advised me to ask for a review of Atorvastatin and Bisoprolol on first anniversary as just getting repeats can cause over medication.


Hi Michael

I been told after year they going to review my medicines but I hope I will be able to drop bisoprolol which is before 1.25 after by pass they increased I don't want use any medicine but unfortunately 75 mg aspirin I been told use lifetime I had operation 7 months ago and I start working light duties and I still can't lift heavy things. I am plumber and I am 51 years old I am hoping after year I will be lift heavy things but I don't know at the moment I am try to lose weight and doing exercise. Also extremely hard get appt local gp. I would like to see my hearth surgeon hopefully next April


Hello Turtle90. I guess we all have different patterns of how we eat but just to say if I ate nothing during the day I would keel over. So maybe skipping breakfast and lunch is not helping you. If you spread your food intake over the course of the day you've got a more even flow of energy than if you eat nothing and then have a very large meal in the evening. Also less hard on the digestive system. It's got nothing to work on most of the time and then suddenly gets hit with a load of food to process.


We've been told for years to eat little and often, but it was just another theory and it's been disproved The important thing for sustained energy is to allow your insulin to return to a lower, baseline level, enabling you to tap into your fat reserves.

We have glycogen reserves that we can draw on for intense activities.

When we eat, it tends to raise insulin levels, causing highs and lows. When we fast there is a much more even delivery of energy by drawing on our reserves.

Years ago I needed to eat every three hours or so, but it's because I was eating too much carbohydrate (albeit low Gi). The body has to be geared to cope with such repeated exposure to carbohydrate quickly because all carbohydrate is converted to glucose in the body, and high glucose levels are toxic.

Two or three meals a day are probably best for most people to get enough energy without stretching your stomach, but occasionally (not on consecutive days) having just one normal-sized meal (1/2 to 1/3 or less of maintenance daily calorie intake) for 24 hours is fine.

The hunger-thing rights itself when you eat healthily. When fasting, the body only uses about 13% of its energy in the form of carbohydrate, so the greater one deviates from that when eating, the more likely one is to suffer hunger i.e. high carb, low fat is not healthy and sets one up for a fall.

Good luck!


Lifestyle changes are essential. Check what your bmi should be (take the midpoint-not the highest possible) and shift yourself by eating properly- cut out all the junk, sugar and fatty stuff, alcohol and get rid of caffeine. Start an exercise regime for life, if you do these things then you will most probably be ome very healthy without the need for medication. Man up!


Absolutely agree, my BMI currently is over it should be and I am aware of this, I know the cause and I also know what O got to do BUT and its a big one, its kicking the vicious circle...... on paper (screen) its very easy but physically it is very hard. I am slowly trying to keep my head above water and have someone from this site who have helped loads ans pointed me in the roght direction aswell which I appreciate. I dont drink Caffeine (havent for several months), stopped smoking and rarely touch alcohol my downfall now days is my food whether that be being lazy and having takeaway or snacking past 8pm which is frowned upon. But again i know this and I WILL kick it all....... I promise that much


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