What has just happened?: Hi all, it's... - British Heart Fou...

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What has just happened?

Cruiser25 profile image
13 Replies

Hi all, it's 5.30am, suddenly woken to cold sharp central chest pain, sat up, cold sweat all over, raging pins & needles both hands, I woke my wife told her I was in trouble and by 7.30am I was on the coronary care ward, 2 emergency stents fitted wondering what the hell happened. That was 3 weeks ago, and I was very lucky, very lucky indeed. Only 15 minutes for the ambulance to arrive, and the team were waiting for me to perform the procedure when I arrived, wow NHS, just wow.

I'm still trying to work out why...... no warning, never smoked, BMI of 23, fit, regularly walk over a marathon over the week, on statins for nearly 2 decades, good diet, just bad genes handed down I guess. Before they let me go they fitted another 5 stents (7 overall). I think I'm still in shock, really emotional, work are fantastic, as are friends and neighbours, as I said I know I'm really lucky, but I know I'm struggling with it.

I have found reassurance reading peoples stories, and I'm not alone with how I'm feeling, it is tough and I have to learn patience (my biggest failing by far), I guess my journey is just beginning?

13 Replies
Ads568 profile image

Hi Cruiser25,

It's a real shock when our bodies suddenly don't do what we expect them to do, and I can understand why you're finding it hard. It may be that you will never get to the bottom of why. One strategy might be to look at it another way - what difference would it make if you knew why? None, probably. How about thinking that, had you not had the healthy lifestyle, you may not have been so lucky? Or just focus on how very lucky you are and work on that?!

All the best for a long & happy future!

10gingercats profile image

I wish you well on your road to recovery. It is a warning to us all.When something feels wrong call an ambulance .So lucky you were close to a hospital in Europe and not on some remote island on holiday .A neighbour had something similar happen and had to have an double emergency bypass. Luckily he was between travels and at home. when he had sudden very bad chest pains .He is fit if c 70 and not overweight,exercises. and eats healthily.You will soon be out again and enjoying life.

A very common situation to find yourself in, unfortunately. Might I ask why you were on Statins for 2 decades, that would have been when you were 38? Given your lifestyle it's worrying, were you diagnosed with FH or something like that? As you say the mental side of things is very difficult to come to terms with in your situation.

Chappychap profile image

You don't actually say you'd had a heart attack, but I'll assume that's what happened. In which case I sympathise because it's doubly difficult for you. Most (not all, but most) heart attack victims, unless they're in total denial, know their life style isn't great and therefore can help themselves by making some obvious adjustments.

But if you're slim, don't smoke, exercise regularly, etc then it's difficult to know what else you can do?

Stents in themselves don't fix heart disease, they can ease angina symptoms or even save your life during a heart attack; but stents don't cure atherosclerosis, prevent future heart attacks, or add to your life expectancy. For that we're all relying on medication and life style changes. But if you're already taking stents, and there's no obvious life style problems, then how do you improve your odds?

The good news is, there are many less obvious things you can do to help yourself. For example some of the causes of atherosclerosis include things like gum disease or sleep apnea. There's also about 14% of the British population with a gene variant called APO E3, this group is particularly susceptible to alcohol or red or processed meat. Then there all the people who are drifting towards T2 diabetes, their symptoms are not so marked that they'd be diagnosed as diabetic or even pre-diabetic, but some doctors say that even to show the earliest signs of T2 diabetes (ie a slightly elevated or upward trend in your HAb1c scores) is a red flag for heart disease that should be addressed via cardio exercise, reduced carb diets/restricted hours eating. Then there's stress, the elephant in the room for many people. And stress doesn't just mean too much to do in too little time, it could be as simple as working night shifts or a job that involves a lot of long haul travel.

The point is, don't feel that you're out of options, in reality there are very few people who can't take additional steps to materially improve their chances of a long and healthy life.

Good luck!

Ravaging profile image
Ravaging in reply to Chappychap

I bet you've cheered him up no end x

in reply to Chappychap

As a life long sufferer of Gum disease I have tried to find studies and journals on the subject but never really found anything conclusive, or indeed what to do about it anyway. Do you have any links to sources of information at all? Anything would be most welcome, I am sure if anyone knows you will!

Chappychap profile image
Chappychap in reply to

The NHS have this article about the link between gum disease and heart disease.


I believe that someone with gum disease has approximately three times the risk of a heart attack or stroke compared to someone without heart disease. It's a good example of a life style issue that has a direct influence on heart health, but doesn't fit with the normal cliches about obese couch potatoes.

Good luck!

in reply to Chappychap

Thanks for that you have just put me off my Tea. Seriously though thanks I will have a read.

You are feeling like we all felt Cruiser, if you didn't feel like that there'd be something wrong with you!Life can sometimes deal us a card we weren't expecting.

I look back on my HA and angioplasty as a brilliant service and MOT.

I was 68 when it happened to me and I'll openly admit for quite a few of those 68 years I lived a very stressful life, I was overweight, didn't exercise and smoked, combine that with a family history of heart disease and I probably did well to get to 68 before suffering a heart attack.

I now live a completely different lifestyle devoid of stress, I exercise regularly, have a far healthier diet and haven't smoked for 20 years.

I reckon if I lasted all those years with that poor lifestyle I'll last a lot longer with the changes I've made now the clock has been "reset"

Take all the help that is offered to you for your recovery and if they offer you a rehabilitation course go for it.....it restored my faith in my body and heart that I could live a normal life.

Best wishes.

Heather1957 profile image

Wow!! That must have been such a shock. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do about genetics. You can live and eat healthily but it's always there. All that said this shows how wonderful our NHS are without doubt £million care!

Hopefully you'll be offered coronary aftercare including fitness.

You obviously are doing everything right so keep at it.

Any questions ask away.

Kristin1812 profile image
Kristin1812Heart Star

What a shock it must have been for you. You’ve had some really good replies and ideas. Just a minor point to add……the rehab course gave me a great (supervised) chance to recalibrate my exercise, which, before my HAs had been mainly walking and gardening. Have you been offered one? I helped me build up a regular habit of more intense cardio exercise. Mainly circuits, using the reassurance of an excellent cardio nurse trainer watching.

A year later Cardiologist asked me what I’d been doing as my heart was doing better.

I was about 70 then.

Cruiser25 profile image
Cruiser25 in reply to Kristin1812

Hi Kristin1812,

Good news, I start my rehab this Friday, just the walking test but hopefully they're going to hook me up with the dietician, I think that's been my weak point in the past.

I've been reading peoples journeys on and off (trying not to dwell too much) and I have found great reassurance in this forum. I've needed my Bisoprolol reducing as I was going too low and feeling weirdly vacant and detached, 2.5mg less and I'm responding well, it seems to be a familiar thing on here with this particular drug. Anyway great to hear from fellow journeypersons :)

Kristin1812 profile image
Kristin1812Heart Star in reply to Cruiser25

Really good to hear you so positive. Nearly everyone here finds the Rehab course hugely valuable. Having a Cardiac nurse watching certainly gave me the courage to start pushing myself a bit more. Do tell us how you get on.

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