Stent stories!

Hi everyone!

Im a newbie to the group so firstly wanted to say hi and secondly wanted to ask if anyone could share their stories!

I had an m.i on the 21st of august at 45 years old! Same old story, fit, healthy ex smoker woke up one morning with horrendous chest pains. My LAD was 99% blocked!! My bp and pulse remained good throughout the event. I put this down to my fitness levels before the m.i! My heart just kept chugging bless it lol i fortunately have minimal possibly reversable muscle damage and one Stent fitted with another moderate blockage way down in the same atery which they said won't be an issue as its so far down there.

So i was just wondering if anyone else had been through this and what their experiences were?

Im being positive, this is crap at my age, its scary but i could of just keeled over!!

Ive radicalised my diet. Gone pescatarian, never really liked eating meat anyway! Hoping this will prevent any more nasties building up in there!

Cheers

Jon

47 Replies

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  • You might like to start some research that may make you look at things re diet and health differently.

    This in my opinion is the most comprehensive source of information you are likely to come across. Start here:

    intensivedietarymanagement....

    And work your way through. There's a lot to take in, 50,000 words, but it's worth it and in comprehensively referenced.

    As always:

    dietdoctor.com/lchf

  • Hi Jon,

    I'm reading your story and it's as if I've written it, apart from age difference as I'm 48. It's been nearly 2 weeks since this happened to me, I'm feeling great and getting fitter every day 😀

  • Did you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure? It just happened without any warning?

    Life style change, food intake control and regular exercise can help towards a healthy life.

  • It is imperative that you take your medication including statin, statin as a secondary medication can help after a stent. Life style change, food intake control and regular exercise can help towards a healthy life. Please do some research on the food requirements. There are some green leafy veg that can help with the blood flow and recovery process.

    You say you are fit and healthy and then you talk about your fitness level, could you please expand on this to help others, thank you.

  • Hi Bala

    Ok. My fitness level. I went to the gym 4 times a week. Could easily cycle 21km on a static bike using a spinning programming. Then weights for around an hour.

    Previous to this i have been a regular cyclist/runner/kickboxer/swimmer! Although my fitness did not prevent this heart attack i believe it went a long way toward helping me survive it!

    I weighed 108kg but not fat. I'm 6'1. Ate well though enjoyed the occasional take away. My cholesterol was checked around 3 years ago and was around 6. No hypertension, no family history that i know of. I had atrial fibrillation at 26 due to excessive alcohol intake and i was a smoker up to 19 years ago when i gave up both smoking and drinking. I have worked in banking for 23 years often in very stressful environments!

    Jon.

  • Jon,

    Thank you for your response. From what I have seen with my brother, I agree your fitness helped you to survive. I have been on a life style change, food intake control and regular exercise at the gym for 30 minutes a day, all these started three years ago .

    As my GP says we are monitoring with blood tests, only time will tell.

    Take care and enjoy one life.

  • Thanks Bala.

    I wish you a long and healthy life herein!

    Jon.

  • Are you on a lot of medication now?

    It doesn't seem right sometimes that heart attacks can strike when you haven't got the traditional risk factors.

  • Hi!

    Im on beat blockers but a very low dose as I've been suffering bad side effects including very low bp and pulse rates! Also antiplatelet and baby asprin and statins.

    I will have to take the bb for 3 months, antiplatelet for a year and the dictor has said statins snd asprin for life! However i will take the statins for a year then see if my diet controls my cholesterol levels and if do come off of them. I think the biggest cause of my oroblems has been shift work and stress. Two things which i am eradicating from my life as of now!

    Jon.

  • There was a radio4 programme about 10 days ago about heart attacks in the young, fit, no obvious risk factors. Someone did a post about it either here or on the AF site. Check out the radio4 site as I didn't tune into it totally, but there seems to be a lot of research into this patient group and I seem to remember something about a group of people with platelet clumping who may be more susceptible.

    Hope you continue to stay well.

  • Ah that's interesting!

    Thanks I'll have a look and see what i can find.

    Jon

  • Shift work and stress Nearly killed me . I wonder how many people have had a heart attack because of both of these.

    I also wonder how many have died because of them both.

    But the never ending cycle carries on with both the Government and employers denying the damage both are doing to our economy and personal lives.

  • Hi bob

    What's your story then?

    Did you also have a heart attack?? How long were you working shifts?

    Jon.

  • Hi Jonsablue,

    7 years on shifts mainly nights doing machine maintenance and breakdowns with a multinational company ,on nights working alone covering 2 factories 3 miles apart,lots of breakdowns every night and firefighting to keep everything running,no backup ,warned management and health & safety that stress levels were getting to me ,this was borne out by personnel who took over my shift when I was on holiday. All to no avail. It was only when I had my heart attack and a new maintenance manager took over that things changed . too late for me because when I ripped into the new maintenance director for being an idiot it was gross conduct...by by time.

    what did make me smile is the director was sacked by the chairman a year later one reason was his attitute . ROLF

  • Well it is not necessarily the shifts per se but our own personal drive and U.S. deciding not to take proper sleeps and then burning the candle at both ends. I have sometimes worked shifts and when I got back home around 7.00am or so I did my report that I had to do which usually took around an hour, I relaxed for an hour or two and then went to bed for a proper sleep and if I did happen to wake up or get woken up I did not get up. Ie I was trying to mimic a normal day routine. Quite a few I knew used to get back home, grab three or four hours sleep and then do something for the rest of the day before going back to work, thereby depriving themselves of valuable sleep and rest. You can do that if one night in a week but not regularly.

  • getting good sleep is very important ,not doing so will lead to mistakes which can be deadly depending on what your job is ,the other thing is proper meals ,the lack of both and stress catches up with you.

  • Heart attack in February this year, thought it was indigestion . Ended up with 3 stents as the arteries were almost blocked . It's hereditary for me as most of my older family have heart problems/ died , I have been running since May2014 which apparently according to consultant stopped me having a massive stroke .

    Been on blood thinners for 4 months and low dose blood pressure tablet .

    Didn't stay on statins for long as they in themselves can cause problems and if your diet is good there is no need for these really . I returned to running within a week of having the stents as cardio rehab was not my thing , heart rate is really good when running , running times are coming back down and back to running around 15 miles a week .

    Shall be coming off the blood thinners soon as I don't like the bleeding and bruising if you get a cut . Fitness and a decent diet is all you need really .

    Taking 4-6 tablets won't do your stomach any good in the long run .

  • Hi timus

    Thanks for the reply.

    May i ask how old you were when you had your m.i?

    Its brilliant that you've got back to running that distance in such a short time. I've ruined my knees unfortunately so had to hang my trainers up a long time ago but hope to get back to my cycling as soon as possible.

    Looking back did you exhibit any signs before you had your m.i? I know i did but i rubbished them because i was so young and fit.

    Tablet wise im with you. Im off the ace inhibitors already because my bp is so low. I take half the lowest dose of betas and i plan to come off the statins asap. The doctors are saying I'll beed to be on them for life but i don't see how they can say that given I've not had a cholesterol test!! Aspirin for life and antiplatets for a year. I'll do that unless the asprin causes me any issues.

    I guess in just one of those unlucky people who will have to stick to a strict diet for the rest of his days! Could be so much worse though eh!

    Cheers

    Jon

  • Hi Jon , sad for you with hanging up the trainers . I had no idea the heart attack was coming or any prior problems , in fact I had Parkrun PB about a week before attack and the night it happened I was sprint trying with my running club . Had already done 2 x 100metre sprints then thought I had indigestion , was only later in the evening that I had the tingling fingers so called 999 lol . Came home after breakfast next day and back to running within 2 weeks . Didn't have stents fitted until about 10 weeks later . I'm 55 and even inspired my daughter to start running (couch potato) , she is now quicker than me at 5k but I managed a PB of 33:24 at Parkrun two weeks back .

    Shall not be taking any tablets long term as there are always side effects somewhere down the line .

  • It's a shame but i was never very good at it lol think most i used to run was around 6 miles. 5k in a similar time to you. I much prefer biking. Its sustainable for so much longer, but each to their own..

    Im doing a lot of walking at the moment. I want to make sure this thing is properly embedded before i get back on the road!!

  • There alternative anti-platelets which have a decreased risk of causing stomach irritation but unless you ask about alternatives you are often not offered them. If you are going to take them for life - that is going to be a long time for you. Aspirin can cause internal bleeding with very subtle symptoms so may I suggest that you don't ignore those symptoms.

    My view on meds is that there is always a risk/benefit ratio which you as an individual need to assess along with GP/Doctor and it is your choice to refuse a treatment, although you cannot demand a treatment it can sometimes be negotiated. That requires knowing the longer term effects What I have found is that unless you know the right questions to ask you are not offered all the information available.

  • Hi Jon

    I had my first event, a brain stem stroke in 2000 at the age of 59. Had no co-ordination on my left and so couldn't walk and kept falling over when I we propped up to sit. I was prescribed Warfarin, Statins and aspirin. That was in addition to BP medications such as calcium blockers from about age 30. Inspite of being on Statins for 12 years I still developed 95% blockages in 2 coronary arteries. So my questions is, "do Statins really work?" I don't have high cholesterol either. I have ever smoked. I was out on a walk and started to feel nauseous which is a typical indication of heart disease. I stopped and rested, felt better and walked back to where I was staying. I went to see the Doctor after the weekend - straight for a stress test - straight back to the doctor and the next week I was in Perth for an angiogram. The cardiologist said if he could fix it he would put in stents right there. Sadly, the next question was "who do you want to see? He recommended a Heart Surgeon. Straight into the Mount Hospital in Perth where I had to wait a week for the warfarin to get out of my system. A triple bypass followed, that was in November 2012. I was fortunate that I didn't actually have a heart attack and so there was no muscle damage.

    I understand that statins are recommended by skeptics if a person has already had an event. Statins do have adverse effects such as muscle pain and weakening. I am now about to turn 74 and have been looking into further improving my diet ... never been over weights I weigh 74kg. There is loads of information on youtube including information about the "Great Cholesterol Myth". Worth watching Johnny Bowden and his co-author who is a heart surgeon. Interesting facts are that 50% of people who have heart attacks don't have elevated Cholesterol and 50% of people who have elevated Cholesterol never have heart disease. I have also been researching vitamin B12 and that makes interesting reading.

    Co-Author of The great Cholesterol Myth.

    I hope these links are useful.

  • Hi

    Sorry to hear about your health issues! But pleased to hear you've still made it to such a grand age. I'll be happy if i hit my middle sixties!!

    Yes I'm aware of the research around statins. I'm very sceptical of their use. I think that the issue with some of us is not our cholesterol levels but how our body deals with cholesterol fullstop.

    I'm going to see what my cholesterol levels are when i get tested and if they are reasonable i will come of the statins and try to manage the levels through diet alone. I think statins are pretty much cash cows for the pharmaceutical companies as the levels they set for satisfactory cholesterol levels are crazy.

    Like i said earlier i think some of us are just predefined to have these problems. Now I'm aware of that i will cut back on all the presumed bad stuff, sat fats, salt refined sugars and processed foods.

    There's a lot of different opinions out there regarding fats, carbs and proteins. It's hard to distinguish which is right which is wrong because theres so many variables. I'm just going yo do what feels right for me and hope it will help prevent any more events in the near future!

    Cheers

    Jon.

  • Hi Jon

    85% of cholesterol is created by our bodies (liver) we need Cholesterol. What we don't need is Inflamation and the MAIN offenders are Sugars and Transfats. It's inflamation which causes damage to our lining of our arteries and when the white cells fight the inflamation they use the cholesterol to try and patch up the damage and cause narrowing of arteries.

  • Hi jack

    Yes that's how i understood it. Hence why I'm hoping removing refined sugars and fatty dairy and meat products will help limit future damage given how susceptible i appear to be!

    Cheers

    Jon.

  • It is not just refined sugars that you add you need to be careful of, all carbohydrates are sugars. I would keep the fat, eat butter over spreads any day, but eat 'clean' - absolutely nothing from a packet and check the sugar content in every can and jar. Avoid all fruit juices. Cook everything from scratch. Eat loads of fibre from fresh veg and some fruit, especially berries, which has multiple benefits including helping to absorb excess fats in the body and improve the bacteria flora in your gut which is known to be beneficial.

    Avoid all breakfast cereals and any carbohydrates for breakfast and don't eat any carbs at all until after lunch and then only very small quantities - mostly note to self!!

    I know all this stuff but sticking rigidly to it is really hard, especially if you eat out!

  • Hi

    Thanks for the advice!

    That's exactly what I'm doing already.

    I cook all of my meals from scratch. I do not add any salt/sugar. In fact I've cut all refined sugar from my diet. I've also cut back on portion sizes. Ive replaced meat with soya products such as quorn. I eat mainly fish. Ive cut back on bread eating a maximum of two slices of granary a day.

    Fruit wise i have about 4 portions a day. A Bannana with lunch (sardines on toast/veg soup) and something for pudding say an orange or a peach. I love carrots and snack on one of them if i get the urge for a treat. Ill eat a handfull of walnuts/rasins/dates with my breakfast and ill snack on some grapes throughout the day!

    I drink tea and water. Tea with a dplash of milk and no sugar! I've eaten better than ever and feel great for it 😊

    Jon.

  • Jon

    I had a similar blockage 16 years ago but did not have the MI, I am now 60 then stents were metal with no drugs impregnated in them, this meant that the body tries to "heal" the stent so 16 years later the stent was blocking up again. I have just had a double bypass as another coronary artery was also blocking up.

    What sort of stent did you have fitted?

    I saw a recent post on this site siting an article in the telegraph where a doctor had stopped taking statins telegraph.co.uk/news/health... , he said they also had anti inflammatory properties, this is also what was said by my cardiologist, he said statins have an effect other than cholesterol lowering that help stopped the vain bypass grafts from blocking I assume this is also true for your existing arteries.

    I would be wary just taking your cholesterol level as the only marker, however statins do have side effects as they block the mevalonate pathway, which I believe is involved in cholesterol production and other things such as Co-Enzyme Q10 and Vitamin K2.

  • Hi

    I have an xience des 3.0 x 23mm stent whatever that means lol

    I know its one of the medicated ones.

    So we're you talking stains for a while then? What sort of diet do you follow?

    Cheers

    Jon.

  • The medicated stents are meant to stop muscle growing over the stent I think its similar to chemotherapy.

    Yes I have been on statins ever since the stent, I have yet to see my Cardiologist post bypass to discuss the way forward. Over the years my diet had included more alcohol, and I did take up smoking again for a few years. I guess my stress levels built up again and exercise dropped too.

    After reading a lot I am of the opinion that the most important thing about diet is to know what is in your food, I have come to the conclusion that more damage is done by chemicals and man made "convenience" foods e.g. powdered egg, dried skimmed milk, margarine & trans-fats than by fresh eggs milk and butter.

  • Absolutely i couldn't agree more. I'm cutting as much processed food out as possible as well as meat (I've never really liked it!!)

    I put a lot of this down to stress and working shifts. The amount of stress ive been under recently has just been ridiculous. Its all stopping now. I have made the decision to change careers and go back to full time education to do what i want not what i need.

    Smoking is just a time bomb for people like us. I gave up 16 years ago however i still dabbled occasionally. Once maybe twice a year with binge drinking on top of that. So perhaps I've not been as squeaky clean as i thought! I just thought the massive amount of exercise i did would make up for the occasional naughtiness! Looks like i was very wrong there lol

    How do you feel after the bypass?

    Jon.

  • I am feeling pretty good after the bypass, I just need to build up my fitness and stamina now. I like you thought the statins were a crutch that as long as I kept taking them I would be OK, but what became clear is that there are many different influences on your Coronary Health, I don't think you can pick and choose which ones you adopt, and there is no measure for how you are doing.

    For instance Cholesterol lowering does not show a proportional mapping to reduction in Coronary Vascular disease, and I am not sure what does.

    wrt stress management I downloaded a good app called Calm to my phone, ideal for a train journey or a lunch or break time relax.

  • You can find more on stent on this site.

    abbottvascular.com/docs/cor...

    3.0 x 23 mm, 3mm diameter and 23mm in length.

  • Thanks bala :)

  • Turmeric also has anti inflammatory properties, without all of the side affects.

  • Your experience resonates with me.

    I had angina in January at 54 years old. I was fit and healthy, never smoked, minimal alcohol, good diet, ideal weight, ideal blood pressure, low cholesterol, plenty of exercise and yet my LAD was 95% blocked. I’ve looked at all the risk factors being proposed to cause Cardio Vascular Disease. I only have 2 – some family history and a very stressful job in a bank! The work stress was too much so 6 years ago I stopped working and took a very early (ill health) pension.

    In January I had 3 stent fitted, one in each of my cardio arteries and was prescribed statins, aspirin and anti platelets. The cardiologist could not suggest any changes in lifestyle, but I changed my diet. Like you, I’ve also gone pescatarian ( with occasional chicken) and no dairy.

    I’m also trying to be positive. Having gone out of my way to avoid cardio vascular risks, I got heart disease in any case. The cardiologist would not be drawn on a prognosis, but said I could have 5 to 20 years when I pushed him, based upon slowing down the rate of cholesterol build up in the arteries around my body.

    The mixture of statins and diet have brought my lipid panel results right down. Total Cholesterol is 2.3, my good HDL is higher than my bad LDL and my Triglyceride numbers very low. But my cholesterol has always been low. It’s never been over 4.7.

    I think we are a long way from understanding all the causes of CVD. Sure, medical research has found some statistical correlation between the ‘risk factors’ and those who have CVD, but how the arteries become damaged in the first place appears to be guess work as does the treatment and it’s effectiveness.

  • Hi

    5-20 years! Wow that's a big margin! We're all so different. I don't think its possible to give us a realistic prognosis. I've spoken to people thst are still with us 30 years after their m.i's. A friend of mine is still going strong 20 years after his first event so i think as long as you listen to the warning signs it's possible(ish!) to live a long and decent life after this. I've no doubt I'll need intervention later in life as i have modrate blocking in the same artery but much lower down. if this stent settles in well im seeing this event as a blessing in disguise. Yes i have a problem but I know of it now. I'm planning on paying for a private angiogram every 5 years to check the plaque progression to keep a firm eye on what's going on!

    I agree stress is a major factor in heart disease and glad you've managed to escape from your job! I was also in banking but I was in i.t. first line support for many years. Very stressfull work that involved shifts. I've packed that in now and am going back to full time education to work in the health industry. Something I've wanted to do for years.

    I really hope you can stay positive. If you like curries give me a shout because i have some amazing healthy recipes!

    Cheers

    Jon.

  • Oh Jon. Curry is my favourite .. would love to hear your recipies !

    I was also in IT. Had to travel the world to manage the development of global systems in a company who drove their workforce through fear. I was on-call 24x7 and often took phone calls during the night. Looking back, I should have found another job a long time before I left. I didn't realise how stressed I was until I nearly fell apart.

    I think the cardiologist saying 5-20 years was his way of saying everyone is different. I agree that this event can be seen as a positive. We are both aware of our condition and can take steps to improve. There will be many thousands out there that have no idea what is going on inside their arteries.

    Best to just get on with our lives and make the most of it. We live on a small holding and I can find plenty to keep myself busy and enjoy myself at the same time.

    As far as medication is concerned, as I have no side effects I'm going to continue to take all of it.

  • Cooking curry. You need to get every thing fresh, chicken or fish or pork.

    Other Curry ingredients like curry powder and species, dried ones are available.

    Coconut fresh grated, this can be done in the food processer.

    There are many ways a curry can be cooked.

    Please try and avoid any prepared curry source. Enjoy, your curry with steamed cauliflower or brown bread or rice.

  • It has been really interesting reading the stories above.

    There is an article in the BHF mag. about younger people having heart attacks and they all mention stressful jobs.

    I am not being flippant, but I don't know what worries me most about a heart attack, the actual event and the stenting or the plethora of drugs that are prescribed afterwards. I speak as someone who gets side effects from nearly everything!

  • Hi Ali

    Yep i believe stress plays a major factor in heart disease. I can't even begin to say how much stress I've been under in one way or another for years now. Unfortunately there was nothing i felt i could do about it. I had to work in a stressful environment and you can't change your kids can you lol

    I've had all the other stress related conditions. Ibs, fibromyalga, insomnia. So i believe this was a huge factor in the onset of both the initial disease and my subsequent heart attack!

    Works a killer lol

  • I agree. If we consider stress in its broadest sense i.e. anything that disrupts homoeostasis, the elevated blood glucose and consequently insulin, caused by cortisol, will add to chronically raised insulin levels from high Gi foods or anomalies such as yoghurt or baked beans, or insulin resistance (visceral/liver fat; fructose or alcohol (fermented sugar)).

  • Very interesting concerned. So stress is proven to raise insulin levels? Given the bad press and links to chd that sugar now has this would make a lot of sense!

  • Yes I read a piece by Dr Malcolm Kendrick. He was talking about the 'french paradox' Taking all factors into account (smoking, cholesterol levels etc etc ) he can't see why they have such a low incidence of heart disease. He concluded that it's the WAY they eat ie. Meals are a family event to enjoy. I'll try and find the link because it mentions the cortisol , like concerned said

  • thincs.org/Malcolm.French.htm

    This is the link. Very interesting

  • Hi j-9

    Thanks for the information, vertu interesting. This again backs up my theory that stress has been a major contributor to my chd. The more people i speak to of my age who have experienced an early m.i. the more the stress factor comes to light. It seems to link us all. Stress seems to have a huge physiological effect. Cut stress levels - cut chd! I think the doctors should be handing out less statins and more valium!!

  • hi ,i had heart attack wen i was 43 i had a stent fitted the same day ,,, a year later 2 the day i done the c2c cycle ride 142 mile over 2 half days !! that was 10 years this may ive done it 3 times now ,,whitehaven 2 sunderland !! i never rode a bike since i was a kid ,am now into kayaking now , stents rock lol !!

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