Questions about arterial blockage

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newguy
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2015
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 7/13/2015 1:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi all,

This is my first post here, hoping to get some support and guidance. I was recently diagnosed with blockage in two arteries, 50% in one and a little less in the other one (48-49%).

This was last month. I am still getting used to dealing with it psychologically, but at first I was very scared and worried, even a little depressed. I am a 40 years old man. This started back in February after the passing of my father. I have issues with anxiety where I focus and obsess on minor and not so minor issues in life and make myself sick with worry. I do have pretty good stress management techniques (positive thinking, exercise, meditation, etc) and most of the time I am able to deal with the anxiety well.

However, when several stressful events happen at once, I get overwhelmed. In such cases, I sometimes experience chest pressure, mostly in the upper area. The first time this happened was in late 2007, early
2008. I was working two jobs at the time and had not had a day off in 19 days. I was super stressed out.
I went home one day and in addition to the stress and anxiety, I was feeling slight pressure in my upper chest. Knowing chest pressure is not to be messed with, I went to the ER. They did a variety of blood tests and an EKG and after everything came back normal, they determined it was due to stress. They gave me an anti-anxiety medication and the chest pressure went away immediately.

The second time it happened was in 2009. Again I was under a lot of personal and professional stress and started experiencing chest pressure. I went to the ER again, they did the same tests again and, again, they came back normal. I don't think they gave me any medication this time, but just the knowledge that the tests were normal was enough for me to calm down and the chest pressure went away.

The same thing happened again two weeks later, the stress, the chest pressure, went to the ER, all tests were normal again, which calmed me down and the chest pressure went away. This time they told me to follow-up with my PCP, which I did. He did some blood tests and referred me to a cardiologist. The cardiologist did an Echocardiagram and a stress test and both came back normal. So did the blood tests my PCP did.

I should mention that I've been trying to eat healthy for years. I avoid fried foods, sweets and candies, and try to moderate my red meat intake. I also take multivitamins and fish oil. I don't smoke and I exercise 3-4 times a week and I am not overweight.

In 2012 I had some stress in my personal and professional life again and had a little bit of chest pressure.
This time I only went to my PCP. He just did an EKG, which was fine, and said it was due to my anxiety. After that I didn't have any chest pressure for two years, until last year. Pretty much the same thing happened as all other times, lots of stress followed by chest pressure. I went to the ER again, they did blood and urine tests, an EKG, and a chest X-ray. All came back normal and they told me to follow-up with my PCP. This time he gave me Xanax for anxiety.

After that I didn't have any problems with chest pressure until early this year when a ton of stress accumulated. This time I went to my PCP and asked him to have some tests done and he referred me to a cardiologist. They did an Echocardiagram and a stress test. The first came back fine, but the second one was abnormal. The cardiologist then told me I had three options, to ignore it (as it may have been a false positive), to do some more complicated test which involves going through groin, or do a coronary CATScan. He recommended the CATScan, but said his gut feeling was that it was all due to my anxiety. So I decided to go with his recommendation.

He referred me to a heart hospital where I had two tests done, a Calcium Score and the coronary CATScan. The result from the Calcium Score was 0, but the second test showed I had blockage in two arteries, which really scared me. I had an appointment with the AP for my cardiologist and she said that's not too bad, but we have to keep an eye on it. She said they'd put me on statins, but first had to measure my cholesterol. The blood test showed my Triglycerides are 87, total cholesterol is 174, LDL is 111, HDL is 46, and Non-HDL is 128. So they put me on Atorvstatin Calcium 10MG once a day and baby Aspirin. I also went to my PCP after that and asked him to measure the content of vitamins and minerals in my body and he did a basic metabolic panel, which measured things like Calcium, Glucose, Sodium, Chloride, Patassium, all of which came back normal.

First of all, thanks for reading this far. I am still worried and anxious and I want to do everything I can to help myself, in addition to taking medication. As you can imagine, I've been reading a lot about this on the Internet, which has led me to articles and books by the likes of Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn and Dr. Ornish.

So here are the questions I have: how is it possible to have a Calcium Score of 0 and still have arterial blockage? Has anybody else here followed the Esselstyn or the Ornish diet and gotten good results from it? How in the heck do you avoid oils, especially when going to a restaurant to eat? And also, any general advice or guidance would be helpful.

Post Edited (newguy) : 7/13/2015 12:57:27 PM (GMT-6)


theHTreturns...
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20227
   Posted 7/14/2015 7:43 PM (GMT -6)   
definite anxiety happening. keep cholesterol down. stenting may be an option, but if you continue eating well, keep up with the statin meds you will be alright. as stated it could be some angina. welcome to the forum guys.
THE HAPPY TURTLE.

A QUOTE FROM THE HAPPY TURTLE THAT REFLECTS ME.

"COMPLEXITY IS MY WAY OF EXPRESSING MY NEEDS IN A MANNER THAT IS NEITHER DESTRUCTIVE, NOR NEGATIVE"
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newguy
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2015
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 7/22/2015 3:14 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for the replies. I have been doing the diet for 2-3 weeks now, although I haven't adhered to it 100% I am afraid, and I have definitely lost weight. The hardest part, as mentioned above, is avoiding oils while eating out. Any tips on that?

theHTreturns...
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20227
   Posted 7/23/2015 8:01 PM (GMT -6)   
no tips. your doing well. take care.
THE HAPPY TURTLE.

A QUOTE FROM THE HAPPY TURTLE THAT REFLECTS ME.

"COMPLEXITY IS MY WAY OF EXPRESSING MY NEEDS IN A MANNER THAT IS NEITHER DESTRUCTIVE, NOR NEGATIVE"
'

theHTreturns...
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20227
   Posted 7/26/2015 7:49 PM (GMT -6)   
awesome. you are fully on top of stuff. keep confident. and proud of your achievements. i am very pleased for ya.
THE HAPPY TURTLE.

A QUOTE FROM THE HAPPY TURTLE THAT REFLECTS ME.

"COMPLEXITY IS MY WAY OF EXPRESSING MY NEEDS IN A MANNER THAT IS NEITHER DESTRUCTIVE, NOR NEGATIVE"
'

newguy
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2015
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 7/27/2015 9:31 AM (GMT -6)   
charaiveti said...
Visit DrMcDougall.com discussion board on frequent discussions on how to stay compliant while eating out. But here are a few suggestions:
- Salad bar and three veggies entree at Ruby Tuesday (get sides without oil; they can with some sides)
- Chipotle (veggies bowl with: ask them to get plain brown rice from the back (don't get lime rice they usually server; blackbeans; (no fajita veggies); mild salsa, medium salsa, corn, lettuce, no guacamole.
- Subway: salad with fatfree dressing (not very filling though)
- Any chinese restaurant: they can steam/blanch veggies and serve with plain rice with a fatfree sauce
- Any Steak house: get couple of baked potatoes and steamed veggies
- PF Chang: Budda's feast steamed with brown/white rice; ask them for a sauce on the side
- Olive Garden: dressing free salad; veggie soup
- Sweet Tomatoes: salads, some soups
- Any good restaurant: if you personally talk to the chef s/he can usually make something with veggies, pasta, beans etc with no cheese or oil.
- Japanese/Hibachi: most can prepare Hibachi without oil; veggie Sushi is compliant
- Mongolian/Stir Crazy: they can stir fry without oil; get steamed rice


Thanks! This is exactly the type of information I was looking for. And thanks for the message board link also, it looks like there is some really good info there as well.

newguy
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2015
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 10/18/2015 10:36 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey guys,

I had a follow-up appointment with my cardiologist this week and I am happy to report that after about four months on the Esselstyn diet (not following it 100% consistently though, probably closer to 95% of the time), and a daily dose of baby Aspirin and Atorvastatin Calcium, my total cholesterol has dropped down to 95 (from 174), my LDL has dropped to 33 (down from 111), and the HDL down to 41 (from 46). This is great news! I feel very relieved and happy.

The cardiologist was very happy with the results and decreased my dose of Atorvastatin to half of what it's been up till now. Also, he approves of the diet (he himself is a vegetarian) and is even familiar with Dr. Ornish's work, which is very similar to what Dr. Esselstyn recommends. He added that I could add some "healthy" fats, such as avocado, nuts (specifically almonds and walnuts), and olive oil to my diet. I may allow myself the occasional nuts and avocado, but I think I'll stay away from the olive oil, based on what Dr. Esselstyn says about it in his book. I should mention that my Triglycerides have gone up to 104 (from 87), which doesn't seem to be a cause of concern as he didn't say anything about it, plus the normal amount is under 150.

I'd like to also say that I've had almost no chest pressure since my last appointment, in June of this year. I've also lost about 20 pounds and I feel more energetic and enthusiastic.

Thank you all for your support.

Pratoman
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Nov 2012
Total Posts : 5686
   Posted 10/20/2015 8:57 PM (GMT -6)   
The Essylstyn and Ornisch diets work. As far as I know they are the only ways to REVERSE coronary artery disease. I know that the Ornsch program, which they offer at their centers, runs 6 months and costs $7200, and is covered by Kedicare, due to results of published studies . I think if you follow it even 80% it will have a major positive effect. But that's just my unscientific opinion.

Re the blockages, I wouldn't worry too much.when they find blockages, they don't stent them unless they are over 70%. My calcium score was 937, and the ct scan showed 3 blockages. But the angiogram showed there were only two that were stunted, at 80 and 85%. After a month on Crestor, and being very strict in my diet (but not vegan at all) my LDL went down to 34 and my total cholesterol went yo 97, similar to you. And my doc said as long as I take care of myself, I'll be fine.

So don't stress
Dx Age 64 Nov 2014, 4.3
BX 3 of 12 cores positive original pathologyG6, G6, G8 (3+5)
downgraded to 3+3=6 by Dr Epstein, JH
RALP with Dr Ash Tewari Jan 6, 2015
Post surgical pathology – G7 (3+4), ECE, Margins, LN, SV all negative
PSA @ 6 weeks 2/15, .<02, 4/15 <.02 7/15 <.02, 10/15 0.00 (new lab)
My Story: tinyurl.com/oo9x4aq

Franklen
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 54
   Posted 10/26/2015 2:35 PM (GMT -6)   
newguy said...
As you can imagine, I've been reading a lot about this on the Internet, which has led me to articles and books by the likes of Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn and Dr. Ornish.

So here are the questions I have: how is it possible to have a Calcium Score of 0 and still have arterial blockage? Has anybody else here followed the Esselstyn or the Ornish diet and gotten good results from it? How in the heck do you avoid oils, especially when going to a restaurant to eat? And also, any general advice or guidance would be helpful.


Calcium scores are very much related to age. Zero is normal for a 40 year old man even if he has some blockages well on the way to being a problem. The process of calcification happens with age. A 45 year old man with a calcium score 40 would be considered very high.... while a 80 year old with the same score would be considered very low. Calcification takes time.

Right now you've gotten a valuable early warning while there is still time to halt the progression.
You have been reading all the right sites and those who can lead you in the right direction.
Stay on the course you now seem to be following and you should do very well.
After a year or two the new way of eating will become normal and you won't miss anything, though you can probably take a break 1 meal a week, perhaps when out with friends.

You are so lucky to have had anxiety that led you to discover the slow blockage process that otherwise would have gone undetected for perhaps 10 or 20 more years, when you'd then have 80% blockages that would have needed treatment... (or could have given you no warning prior to a heart attack)

Sorry about your father dying, but how old was he, and was the cause of death heart related?

Ironmike323
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2015
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 12/8/2015 4:40 PM (GMT -6)   
You sound like me. I'm 43 and cardio just found two blockages60% in lad and rca. Scared the crap out of me. I am on 80 mg of Lipitor and baby aspirin, no smoking and eating better and 30 minutes a night on bike usually ten miles. I also have suffered from anxiety since I was 20 on 40 mg celexa and klonopin when needed. The last three weeks have been a roller coaster. Three daughters in high school and always worried about dying. Take med test cholesterol and wait to see if you get symptoms sounds scary to me. They found mine after 3 trips to er for chest and back pain. Cardio did ffr test and had 87 flow rate so he don't thing causing my symptoms. Keep in touch or pm me sounds like a lot in common and unanswered questions

theHTreturns...
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20227
   Posted 12/9/2015 12:29 AM (GMT -6)   
75 and 50 percent blockages. x 2 by-pass. 3 culprits, diabetes, cholesterol, and my surgeon said to me, smoking. keep strong. me 43. next echo, January. you guys have given excellent info. cheers. keep the forum pumping, tongue in cheek.
THE HAPPY TURTLE.

A QUOTE FROM THE HAPPY TURTLE THAT REFLECTS ME.

"COMPLEXITY IS MY WAY OF EXPRESSING MY NEEDS IN A MANNER THAT IS NEITHER DESTRUCTIVE, NOR NEGATIVE"
'
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