Posted by Gerald
Read about my battle with heart disease here.
Wow, what a story. I did not know that many stents could be placed in one person. Best of luck to you. Great site, very educational – I hope it really takes off.
I used to follow this blog when it was a political blog. I am very impressed with the new direction. My father suffers from heart disease and the I love the future developments section as this disease runs in the family.
Ignoring the whole hindsight cliche, is there anything you might have done or suggest others do differently during each step of your treatment?
It seems all too common that someone undergoing this sort of ordeal almost always seems to have suffered an “unnoticed” event (heart attack, etc.) at the exact time they are first diagnosed (as you describe in your first treatment). I always wonder how many people are having something like a cardiac event without knowing at an earlier age and recovering without medical intervention (although their heart muscle may be scarred, etc), but the damage accumulates over their lifetime until they are diagnosed later in life.
Did your other treatments, medical conditions, or reactions to treatments play a significant role in your medical condition? Should your reaction to an ACE inhibitor for blood pressure control been a signal of possible heart disease?
Do you have any thoughts on whether your heart disease could have been partially treated in the beginning by adjusting your diet, exercise regimen, and/or pharmaceutical treatment? In other words, do you think that a stent or bypass was the only option?
I do firmly believe that my heart disease, if caught earlier, could have been treated with drugs. There is is strong evidence that getting your total cholesterol below 100 and your LDL below 70 with normal HDL can reverse plaque buildup in some patients.
The ACE inhibitor was more likely a reaction to a sudden plummet in my potassium – a rare but deadly side effect.
I have heard of other patients who have what are called silent heart attacks. This usually occurs in diabetics, but it can also occur in the general population. While working out just the other day, I ran into a worker in the medical field whose father died and during the autopsy they discovered he had about three heart attacks during his lifetime.
How much hell did you catch from your doctors for continuing to smoke up until 6 months ago?
My grandfather had Alzheimer’s, and I have read scattered studies about treatments for Alzheimer’s involving nicotine (something to due with increased serotonin, I believe), but usually the studies are disregarded due to the stigma associated with everything associated with tobacco along with the supposed cancer risk nicotine (although I would be willing to take the chance of cancer if it meant avoiding the symptoms of Alzheimers).
On a similar note, since collaterals can be created by blood pressure cuffs on the extremities, I wonder if a slight blood pressure increase due to smoking (or the nicotine) could also cause collaterals?
It sounds like a crazy idea, but I tend to be interested in crazy ideas.
As an aside, my grandfather’s siblings had either heart disease or Alzheimers, which makes me think that the two diseases might be one disease that simply appears in more than one form.
Had a ihd 10yrs back Medically managed Smoking was attributed as a major culprit .Promptly stopped smokingHad a second attack At angiogram diagnosed as 80 %block and Drug eluting Stent was applied .Continuing in reasonably good condition .Now planning a cataract surgery .Ophthalmic sugeon wants Clopidogrel and aspirin to be stopped and cardiologist warning deadly threat of late stent thrombotic complication .Thank god it is not major prostate in which more risk of haemorrhagic complication
Over enthusiasm in applying DES has confused many souls like me
Gerald, I found your battle with heart disease to be very encouraging.
I just turned 46 in April. On July 4th, 2009, I began having chest pains with very little exertion. Concerned that it may be cardiac in nature I went to hospital and failed my stress test miserably. To the cath lab I went, it was there that they discovered two lesions – Mid LAD (90%) and branch artery 55% blocked. What really hit home in your story was the cardiologist asking you whether or not you wanted CABG or stents. I too was asked verbatim the same question and was looped on Valium and Versed. Of course I opted for the stents although now have deep regrets. I was and still am very angry that I wasn’t informed that the LAD A.K.A. “The Widow Maker” does not fare very well to stents in the long term, so now I’m faced with the fear of in stent thrombosis and the very real possibility that the stents will block up with plaque. Had I been informed, I would have opted for minimally invasive CABG or standard CABG. The physician should speak to the patient BEFORE the procedure when possible.
In my case I was shocked. I quit smoking 11 years ago (but was dipping snuff a lot until I had the surgery…still miss it too), my LDL cholesterol was 81 and HDL was a whopping 75! My doctor always told me I had “longevity syndrome” because of the high HDL. I’ve been taking 3 grams of niacin/day for 10+years and watch what I ate. At 6’1″ 200lbs. I felt great…never saw this coming. Dr. now has added to the niacin 40 mgs. of simvastatin (Zocor). No side effects thus far. I have never had high blood pressure, it is always 100/68 and I’m not diabetic.
I now walk 3 to 4 miles per day at a brisk pace, quit smokeless tobacco and gave up most animal products other than fish. I quit drinking in 1988, but my wife has been encouraging me to take a couple of drinks/day for the cardioprotective benefits. The only problem is I have an addictive personality and fear becoming dependent on alcohol. I too have battleed clinical depression and anxiety having suffered a bout in 1985 and 1989. I stopped taking the antidepressants in 2003 and thank God I have never had a relapse. I do take alprazolam t.i.d. for the anxiety and have no intention of stopping. (Another reason I avoid alcohol).
Hope you’re doing well Gerald. God Bless!!
I am sorry to hear about your story. I also intend on starting up posting on this blog again. Good luck to you.
Outstanding Article , I considered it great
I look forward to more similar postings like this one. Does Your Blog have a RSS I can subscribe to for more information concerning this?
I am sorry to hear about your story. I also intend on starting up posting on this blog again. Good luck to you. and God bless!..
Hi, my husband was told his heart grew a new artery,I never heard of this. Is it true?
what a story!!! I am glad that you are blogging your experiences about heart disease here. good job
Ah what a story,it’s helpful for people outside and another is to be going to communities to get information to guys
Wow, I just read your story. It’s amazing that you have had so many stents. I hope you will keep up your blog as I’m finding it most informative. I have diastolic heart failure and go tomorrow for more tests as there is a possibility that I now have systolic heart failure. Sometimes it’s all I think about and I don’t want to become this disease. I live in Mexico and enjoy wonderful weather all year round. Canadian winters are just too difficult. I love the doctors in Mexico. They are so knowledgeable and care about their patients. It is also very easy to get tests done here and in very short time like a couple of days!! No more waiting like in Canada.
Hey G.J. Extremely well presented. My only problem with the entire script is that you only related about half of your escapade to me, over the years. I think that you held a lot of it back to keep me from stressing. I sincerely believe, that your journey, through not only the medical history portion, but also through the spiritually enlightening part, will be inspirational to many people who will benefit from your rather shocking experience.
John, it sounds like you have certainly been through a lot. Have you ever tried a full plant-based diet? I work with a cardiologist who has had many patients completely reverse heart disease just by changing their diet. Patients have to follow his plan exactly to get the results, but when they do they often have incredible improvements. Just something you might want to look into if you haven’t already heard of this approach. Here’s a video on a patient who reversed her heart condition: http://www.drbaxtermontgomery.com/woman-reverses-heart-disease-plant-based-diet/
Also, if you’re interested, here’s a little about his diet plan (the book has more detail) http://www.drbaxtermontgomery.com/diet-heart-disease/
Hey John, I was diagnosed with heart disease also but at the age of 17. However, I managed to beat the disease by changing my diet and exercising regulary. Also some supplements helped, especially the ones concerning my hormones. I believe that heart disease, in my case, was caused primarily by hormonal imbalance since in my teens they were at their highest. Because of
it I learned a lot about hormones, as you did. I was wondering did you try to increase your testosterone levels, up, naturaly? Look up ADAPTOGENS, if you didn’t alredy. They may help you balance endocrine system and increase
GnRH, LH and FSH.
Smoking Causes Heart Attack
There are scientific evidences to prove that cigarette smoking is a major cause for heart diseases. Though many diseases have links to smoking, coronary heart disease is more serious and is the most common cause of death. Studies show that heavy smokers tend to develop a heart disease at a younger age. Sudden cardiac death is one of the most harmful effects of smoking. American Heart Association specifies that smokers have two or four times more risk of developing a heart disease than non smokers.
Heart is the important part of the body and we have to eat only foods which are healthy for our heart such as olive oil, walnuts, green tea, spinach and so on.
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scarry i tell you what does god have instore4 u something great i imagine.to live through all that i myself am very scared ,i just had aheart attack im 49 hd a stent placed in 85 persent blocked artery put me on effient after a month and a half put me on plavix i read somewhere plavix doesnt always work for everyone asked dr about this he said dont worry youll be fine clinically speaking we dont test cause its expensive i demanded to have test sure enough it doesnt work 4 me if i would have took drs advicewho knows what would happen back on effient but not feeling well dr didnt say a word had his nurse call me to tell me said dr wants to put you back on effient with no explanation nurse says dr wants to see you in 6 mo unless something comes up please help is this the way it goes im scared of dying blood pressure stays around 150/90 need a new dr and quick trying to learn all ican i live in leesberg florida so dissapointed never bloged b=4 hope someone can respond maybe help please i dont want to die
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