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British Heart Foundation
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So scarred, anyone help

So just come from hospital, and just told me my heart isn’t pumping blood around as it should,and I have heart failure, I have also been diagnosed with high cholesterol .im 60 years old quite fit. Now I’m really scarred. What does this mean for my future? Do I have one?

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Hello Yildez. How have you been feeling prior to the diagnosis? Were you poorly? I also have high chlosterol. Am trying with diet and exercise to lower it. Awaiting tests to see if I have microvascular angina

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No not been feeling ill , just dizzy most of the time, dr said vertigo , but I knew it wasn’t, as had it b4. So for over 6 months kept going to doctors, so send me for ecg to rule anything out. N got told that today,so yes I’m in shock, due to go away 19 th may. So she’s rushed me in for treadmill test as I was going away for 7 weeks.

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Hi Yildez. I think your doctor is yourself. You know when things aren't quite right. The BHF is a good place for you to start to find out all your information needed. I think you have to try and stop worrying. I most certainly think you have a good future. I think now they know what is going on with you they will be able to sort out your meds. I worry too. I am only 53 and like I said I'm waiting procedures to see what is the underlying cause of my pains in chest. Good luck. Keep positive x

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Thank you, it’s hard, just saying you have heart failure, sends you in to a panic. Hope you get sorted

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It’s normal for you to feel this way, but don’t panic. Don’t worry. No good will come of it.

“Heart failure” is a very emotive term but it just means that your heart isn’t working as well as it should. Have you been told what your ‘ejection fraction’ is? It is the percentage volume of your heart in blood that is pumped in each heart beat. It is normally around 65%. At my worst point, mine was just over 20%. When measured later it was back up to 45% and I am looking for further improvements.

Although I didn’t exercise, as such, I considered myself to be in very good condition for 64.

Doubtless you will have been given some medications to take. You will most likely be lined-up for a raft of tests to try to identify the cause. Your task is to consider what lifestyle changes you can make to improve your outcome.

Great advances have been made in cardiology in the last few decades. Perhaps you can’t see it at the moment, but you do have a future.

Best wishes.

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No have not been given any ejection fractions, will they give me this when iv done treadmill test? Had a ecg end echocardiogram , treadmill next week

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The echocardiogram should give the ejection fraction. It’s helpful to attend consultations with a prepared list of questions. Do you have someone to go with you? Two heads are better than one when it comes to remembering what you are told.

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I will write this question down and ask on Tuesday , and let you know. I went alone today, but didn’t expect that result

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To be honest my go sent me, he didn’t give results, just said he had to refer me to a cardiologist .

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So rang hospital for friction results, receptionist says it dose not say, just says impaired,and conclusion mild to moderate?. Don’t know what this means

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Mild to moderate impairment of heart function sounds a lot better than the phrase ‘heart failure’. Don’t worry and make a list of the questions you want answers to when you meet the specialists.

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Thank you.hopefully she might be able to tell me the cause on Tuesday and the friction results

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Hi there sorry to hear your news, same thing happened to me 12mths ago. It is devastating news and very frightening. I'm your age also and thought I was very fit. It takes to time to come to terms with it, I still am but I am excepting it's not the end of my world and I can live with heart failure. The meds are my worst problem as I'm very sensitive to them but they keep us going and I believe eventually the experts will get them right. You will have good and bad days, listen to the docs and nurses and talk to them about your worries. Take care you will get through it.

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Thank you sueithy.are you just on meds?

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Yes i am my heart is weak but not failing at the moment. I go back to cardiologist in september to have another echocardiogram and mri to see how heart is doing. I see heart failure nurse every month at the moment they are a godsend hopefully you should get help from them in your area,someone to turn to when needed. Just had ramipril increased so feeling a bit tired at the moment hopefully it will pass. It is early days for you but try not to worry eat healthier for your cholesterol. Hope you get sorted quickly.

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They have put me on ramipril 1.25 and 40 mg statin, has it maid any difference for you?

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I'm not on statins I am on ramipril 5mg and carvedilol 6.25 and ivrabradin 5mg.They start you usually on a low dose. If I didn't have side effects I would feel better but we need the meds so I just hope that eventually my body will get used to them. It's a slow prosess but we to be strong.

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Twice a day the meds.

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Yes you have a future. Heart failure means your heart isn’t pumping blood as effectively as it might. There are medications and interventions to help you and foremost try to cut down on cholesteral as build up impedes how open our veins etc for blood flow. It’s startling to learn you have a heart condition but you can still function and advice from your cardiology department will guide you will help ease your mind.

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Thank you, for your reassuring words, I’m sure after a few days, I will calm down a bit, the cardiologist might be able to tell me more after treadmill test next week

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That will certainly let you know your function and then what needs to be done if anything can follow. Try to relax. Hard when you are worried, maybe even frightened. Let us know how you get on. In the meantime I hope you can enjoy the blossoms of spring/summer.

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Thank you, I will keep you up dated

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To reduce your cholesterol, eat some nuts:

healthunlocked.com/bhf/post...

healthunlocked.com/bhf/post...

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Thank you, will do this

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Hi yildez, I know all too well how your feeling right now, the term "heart failure" is an instant kick in the guts isn't it? I associated it with early death for ages when my dad was diagnosed until it happened to me, I asked my Dr bluntly "am I gonna die?" 😂 he told me not on his watch I wasn't. .he also said he HATES the term "heart failure" for this reason, he also said any heart defect at all that isn't working 100% perfectly is classed as failure, my heart nurse also told me something that put my mind at rest a lot and that was that 80% of heart patients can be managed with medicine alone which is REALLY good, also if the usual drugs such as ramipril & bisoprolol are not helping then there is a "super duper wander drug" called entrexo (not sure of the crrect spelling) to try and the success rate of that is amazing, reason I know this is because my cousin (also diagnosed) has been put on them (she has severe left side and part right imparement) and at her last check up she was told her heart function had improved 😊 which is brilliant as her failure is quite bad..my heart nurse always says to me "use it or lose it" meaning keep active 😂 hope this helps settle your mind a little xx

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Do I just carry on doing the same as I did before I was told the bad news? Should I slow down at work? I do lots of pulling heavy things and lifting heavy things?

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Good question. I think until you have all you need to know off your Dr's it'd be a wise move to ask your employer to putyou on light duties if possible? Whatever you do for work it does sound quite strenuous so I'd definitely take it easier with that, use it or lose it just means keep active with gentle cardio I.E walking swimming cycling ect :) xx

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Hi Yildez

Unknown to me I had a bad heart attack when I was in my 50s One sat morning did nothing about this and was back to work on Monday. Ten years later and lots of fry ups and thousands of cigarettes later, while going on holiday had what I thought was indigestion. Went to hospital diagnosed heart attack. In for a week various check ups which showed earlier attack which had damaged the heart and was now malfunctioning. Offered med or bypass took meds and carried on working until 16 years on at 73years old had triple bypass. Now signed off by surgeon and looking for full time work. Life is what you make of it.

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How reassuring , thank you for that

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I have been through similar scary ‘news’ and I recall panicking in a big way. I am 48 and was given news of valve failure at 42. I’ve just had surgery and initial news and spontaneous anxiety was genuinely worse than the surgery. Easy to say but try not to panic. You most certainly have a future. The cardio doctors are amazing and now you are in the system they’ll sort you out. Try and think it’s positive you now know there’s an issue. Not knowing would have been worse . The cardio nurses here are v good for reassurance. I’d try and lower cholesterol via diet in meantime and do not google worst case scenarios. Just doesn’t help and is largely misleading. Good luck

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Hi hope u ok .I'm 56 and my cholestral was 9.i had small heart attack and stent in and I was petrified. Please don't be scared. I feel fantastic now and the statins wirk great.my cholestral us 5 now u will be fine honestly. .just eat healthy n walks too really help..x

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There is a charity called Pumping Marvellous which has an excellent website and leaflets for those with heart failure. I recommend it for reassurance. You are not alone. Heart failure is a scary term but it’s is a bit like most things..there are varying degrees of it. After your echo, do lots of reading about the condition and prepare for your meeting with a cardiologist, find out if you’ll be allocated a heart failure nurse and try not to worry. Good Luck!

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Hiya and welcome to the forum, sorry to hear that news, like most people here understand your pain. Sometime reading posts here feels like its all downhill from here but believe me thats not the case. We tend to read about the people who have ran into challenges and seeking help, but majority of the people live healthy and happy with their conditions without having the need to come the forums.

When you have a moment or two, please read below, hopefully it will give you positive energy, i am not suggesting that its something you need to try, its just an example of what can achieved with limitations.

Wish you best of luck.

healthunlocked.com/bhf/post...

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I can vouch for the comment on Entresto I have been on it now for around 3 months and have seen a marked improvement in my Breathing. Entresto can only be prescribed by the Hospital i.e. via Heart Nurse or Cardiologist (so I believe ) I think before Entresto is prescribed you have had to go along the route of Maximum dose of the other Meds like Bisoprolol. I was ramped up to 10 mg Bisoprolol and then checked after a few weeks by the Heart Nurse I have tried to stop calling her " Heart Failure Nurse " These Specialist Nurses can prescribe and change Medication, and what I like is they have a direct In to Cardiology dept at the Hospital.

I do have a couple of other things wrong with my Heart along with a less than 100% Ejection Fraction mine is between 30 and 40% which again sounds poor but when you understand 55 to 60 % = 100% it's not to bad. I emphasise I do live a Full and Active life even with these add on complications so don't despair. The comment on the Pumping Marvellous web site is worthwhile for following up on. Good information is key to understanding your present situation, I stress Good Information don't use Dr Google it only confuses with out of date Information.

When I asked my Heart Nurse how will I know if I am going downhill she just said you will, and we have a plan to help you through it should that happen. Hope that helps a little lots of support is available, any questions just ask and if people don't know on the forum they will point you in the right direction.

Best Regards

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Of course you have a future. With regard to your heart problem, this will (probably) be treated with medication to make its function more effective. My heart function was poor, which led to blackouts. Now I have an ICD in case of problems and my heart is much better. With regard to cholesterol, you fix this with an improved diet and LIGHT exercise. Marathons are out for the moment.

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What was the diagnosis from echocardiogram?

What was the cause of your heart not pumping properly?

Could be leaking valves.

Cardiomyopathy.

Septal defects.

Plus other causes.

All can cause heart failure at different levels.

U should have been told at consultation after echo.

I had defective valve.

Some of Blood was going the wrong way round system with every beat (regurgitation)

Plus 2 holes in heart!! 😮

I have slight heart failure. Possibly due to me being fit.

Valve and holes have now all been repaired. 😁

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My doctor referred me, , and when I went back he just said my blood wasn’t pumping properly, so I took a cancellation to see cardiologist, n she didn’t say any percentage, only I had heart failure due to my blood not pumping properly, she has booked me in for a treadmill test on Tuesday, only that jock as I’m due to go away on the 19 th may for 7 weeks, now I don’t know what to do , so I’m waiting till I have had this n see what she says. She said this should tell her why?

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Sometimes even an MRI with contrast the gold standard test can show a misleading ejection fraction. I think an echocardiogram with contrast is the best to see realtime the ejection fraction. If they tell you it’s lower then 50 then you have heart failure. The good news if you listen to a good doctor you can get better and it can come up over time.

Some of the echo technicians diagnosed me with a large dilated left atrium and they where wrong and then an MRI said I was in heart failure and that turned out to be wrong. So just make sure you get other opinions from different doctors just to make sure they are all on the same page. Then follow the doctor that you trust and stick with them. They replace hearts now a days. I know thats extreme but I know of someone that had one in 2012 when he was 71 and now he is 78 and doing very well and active. He actually lived without a pulse for a year before that with the help of a vertical assisted device (LVAD) so just to ease your mind the technology is amazing. Just make sure you go to good doctors and keep appointments and you will be fine. In the mean time try and breath and relax and meditate. I know all of that sounds easier said then done but you need to focus on staying calm for now. Use an app called headspace until you see the doctors that can help. Drink calming tea will help also while your dealing with all the stress. Hope you feel better soon.

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Thank you for the reassuring words. Like you say it is easier said than done, but to be honest, I’m not as freaked out as I was yesterday having read the above comments.i will feel better a bought things , when the know what’s causing it, don’t get me wrong still worried, but not as much.so thank you for taking the time to reply

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You poor thing. It does sound scary and takes a bit of getting used to. Also a side effect of some heart problems is a feeling of anxiety so it is natural to feel worried. As you can see from this forum having heart problems need not be the end of the world. I believe it is a matter of adjustment and acceptance that now you no longer have the potential to climb Everest or go deep sea diving. Enjoy what you can do. Good luck.

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The statins will help reduce your cholesterol but you also need to change your diet. Have a look at the BHF main website for advice on diet. I don't have heart failure bu if it helps, its' what my mum was diagnosed with when I was born and she was around 24. She had eclampsia which damaged her heart. In those days there was no treatment. She was just told never to have a general anaesthetic. She lived a normal lifespan and her only problem was getting out of breath on hills. She even had a hip replacement don ein her 60s by epidural. She wasn't even told to stop smoking.

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Wow that’s very reassuring ,thanks

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Hi Yildez - it is a huge shock when you first get diagnosed. And if you are like me you are feeling so awful and in a state of shock so you barely take anything in that a doctor says to you!

I was sent straight to A&E by my GP who had phoned Wexham Park to say I was coming. I was not allowed to drive and had to leave my car at the surgery.

When I was admitted I had an ejection fraction of 17% and they spent 2 days trying to get the fluid build up off me. I could barely breathe and sounded like a cross between a frog and a duck with the build up in fluid. I had to sleep with 3 pillows to stop the fluid in my lungs. (We had been away on holiday in the Caribbean & the humidity hadn’t helped! The air crew had me on oxygen on the flight back. I thought I just had a chest infection!

I was discharged after 5 nights in with a BHF HF handbook and an introduction to my BHF HF nurse and had to see her fortnightly for a while until things were more under control. I now see her annually.

The first 2 wks after discharge I lost 6 and 7lbs in weight which was fluid!

I did have an ICD Pacer put in 2yrs ago.

It’s 3 yrs this September since my diagnosis and my EF is now up to 43% so they are happy with that.

Harefield have taken over my primary care after I volunteered to attend genetic testing for HF.

I take Spirolactone 25 mg, Ivabradine 5mg (2 a day), Losarton Potassium 100mg, Bisoprol 1.25mg.

2 1/2 yrs on I do feel better although I do still get very tired. I walk a lot (have 2 dogs and walk them twice daily) and go to the gym - which I don’t enjoy but feel helps me get fitter!

Have they given you the BHF handbook? It’s a great guide to helping understand what’s going on. Also offers healthy eating options to help your heart.

There is life after diagnosis even if the first few months are frightening and bewildering.

Fiona

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Sounds as you was in a bad way, glad you have greatly improved. No they have not gave me anything, it was just me saying I would take any cancellation they had, as was going to my second home in Turkey on the 19 th may. As receptionist said, it’s not urgent, well it is to me. And having seen cardiologist yesterday, she said she needs to find out what’s causing it. And there isn’t time to do all tests before I go. But managed to get me in for treadmill test Tuesday.so I’m hoping, she will be able to tell me more then,

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My Aunt was diagnosed with heart failure 22 years ago, she is still working at 70 and is going on a cruise holiday in July for two weeks. Take a breath, slow down and allow yourself the time to digest the information that will be coming your way. It is terrifying when you hear news like that, but it is up to you to decide to act on the changes required or not. Life is not over, only a new beginning where you must be a priority for yourself.

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Thank you so much, dowse give me a little reassurance,it just came out of the blue really. I do think the term heart failure is really a bad way to tell you,

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Respected Yidez,

I am 60 yrs diagnosed with heart failure during May 2018. It was a terrible shock for me & within a month of the onset of this problem, my shortness of breadth became worst with no energy at all, coupled with extreme fatigue, depression, loss of appetite and constipation despite being on medications.

I wasn't scared of a sudden death but carrying on with the above symptoms was very worst to the extent that, I thought of committing suicide.

I had almost gone through all the posts about HF in Google of which 85% said that death is certain & near with the abovementioned worst symptoms shall continue till the end.

During my next review, I just asked my cardiologist, 1) how long shall I live? and 2) when my quality of life will improve without any symptom?

The reply was that I may live for 20 more years and these symptoms shall vanish within 6 months & I can lead a normal life, provided, I take the medications continuously, make life style changes ( cutting down on salt / fluids, switching of to more fruits/ fresh vegetable diet & exercise as prescribed by him)

When I countered with my Google search results, he said that they are scary since they are resultant of studies with SUBJECTS who are in a more worst condition and the problem of HF differs from person to person. He further added me to believe in the treatment and be stress free on any issue. His name is Dr. SASIKUMAR from Tamilnadu, India.

Half heartedly I nodded by head and continued what he said.

Now comes the MOST IMPORTANT point of my reply.

With the choicest blessings of SHRIDI SAI BABA ( MY ALMIGHTY) on completion of 6 months it was miraculous I have improved a lot and therefrom is almost symptom free.

However, I continue my medications and is regular in my follow ups.

Therefore, please be assured that you will, with the BLESSINGS OF ALMIGHTY and advanced medications available on date, be OK very shortly but follow scrupulously your cardiologist's advice.

With regards

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Hi Yidez, I’m sorry to hear you have heart failure I was diagnosed with heart failure in 2017 I had fluid from my ankles right up to chest I found out that my heart was not pumping blood around my heart after having a ECG and Eco diagram and many other tests I’m now tablets and waiting for ICD implant yes it is a bit scary at first but once they get you sorted I’m sure you be fine. Wish you better.x

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Thank you

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Your welcome 😊 have you been told how much fluid and salt you are allowed to have?my daily fluid intake is 1.5 litres and I have to watch my salt intake as well. If you have a heart failure nurse she will help you a lot. Good luck

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I honestly haven’t been told anything, I go for a treadmill test Tuesday , I will be asking things then, hopefully she will find out what’s causing it

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Ok I hope they get to the bottom Of what caused your’s. I know scary but you will be good hands good luck for Tuesday.

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Hi, I had heart failure in 2002 and was hospitalised for 10 days. Put on a few drugs, still on them, but much lower doses than at first. Cholesterol's one of those things some doctors worry about, some less so. You do need it for many body functions, hormones. I'd recommend taking up exercise, walking even, bike, perhaps the gym like I do and enjoy it. Eat oily fish, plenty of vegetable fill up on veg. not too much stodge( bread, cakes etc.) Avoid sugar direct and in foods. I don't eat anything I haven't cooked, no food that's been prepared or fiddled with by others. I'm 65 now proper fit, heart great, enjoying my life. Good Luck.

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This is so reassuring , thank you so much

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Hi Yildez. I've just had 2 heart valeves replaced and am have a bit of bother getting my heart beat sorted out. I just want to say to you that my mam lived for very many years with "heart failure" and was well on medication. Heart problems seem to run in my family on my mam's side .

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Yes heart conditions runs on my fathers side, but never expected it to be me

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