First timer - Worried and Upset, Just found out something is wrong with my heart

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Musicman50
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 8/5/2006 9:20 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello Everyone,
My first time here, and so glad to have found this site.
Looks like I have a heart problem, so if you all don't, I would greatly appreciate any feedback and thoughts on my condition.
I am a 55 year old male, thin build, and do not smoke.
I have felt run down for years now, and for the last few year I would feel a burning sensation in my chest when I walk fast or out of doors when cold or very hot, also if I eat a large meal. Also my cholesterol in the last 2 years has gone up. Total 204, HDL 35, LDL 142, Ratio 5.8, also my Carbon Dioxide shows 18 on the metabolic test.
I have damaged liver so I can't take Cholesterol lowering drugs.
I have suffered from GERD for years, and my GI doc said it was from the acid reflux.

Anyway my primary Doc, did an EKG and did not like the results, so I was referred to a Heart Specialist who did a nuclear stress test, one passive and one on the treadmill.. He then did a Cardiogram. The Stress test shows some restriction of arterial blood flow in the left part of my heart (Sorry don't know the exact terms yet) he says causing the Angina pain or burning, the cardiogram looks better not showing any damage to valves or muscle of the heart.
He is recommending (Because of my age) a catherder to look around some more. He is prescribed a Beta blocker, and Nitro tablets (Have not tried these yet)
Also I read that people have changed their diet and exercised and have actually reversed their condition. Is this possible..

I read information on the catherder, and don't like the risks involved.

I really want to do some research before I jump in and do this invasive procedure.

Really worried and not sleeping well these days, stressed out, sounds crazy but I'm afraid I might die in my sleep or something.

Hope that some kind soul will offer some advise to a first timer..

Thanks in advance to everyone..

Phil

Musicman50
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 8/5/2006 9:31 AM (GMT -7)   
OH forgot to add my Triglycerides are 132 (normal)..
Also sadly I have not eaten well for many years since my divorce 9 years ago.
Diet has consisted of all process foods, frozen dinners, and no vegatbles or fruits.
I also get zero exercize, well I do sit up in the morning, and walk to my car..

I know that these factors alone have contributed to my heart condition, so maybe this is a wakeup call to drastically change my life style..

Again any advise apperciated..

Phil

DREAMGIRL
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 600
   Posted 8/5/2006 10:00 AM (GMT -7)   
:-)  Hi Musicman, glad you found this forum, it will help i am sure. first thing i want to say is i titally relate to the fear you are having ,i was the same way, just terrified i was going to die. i was 57 and in good health. when i just felt short of breath and asked for the angiogram' that is the same as what you are saying they want to do on you', the tube in your groion area.  i have had it done and inspite of what you hear, it is rare that anyone gets injured, be brave, it is better to know what is going on then to be in the dark, knowledge is power.  first, you have some good news   no heart damage yet. that was my case also. i did have 80% blockage in the lad' that is probably the left descending same as i think they are questioning in you.' i now have two stents. like i said, i was petrefied, went from taking no meds to 6 or 7 over nite.  now back to you. your cholesteral numbers are not all that bad.although your hdl level is a little low, it needs to be at least 45 if you are male. you can get that up by eating walnuts and almonds and taking fish oil capsules. we have all been where you are so please feel free to jump in.  right now you are a bit of a mystery, so do the tests and KNOW what is going on in your body.  fyi  50% of heart attack victims do not have high cholesteral. keep posting bye for now.  we have a live chat coming up on, i beleive the 14th of august, i will post the date at another time, it would be great for you to get there and chat live with some of us.

ConnieS
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 37
   Posted 8/5/2006 10:02 AM (GMT -7)   
Phil,

I can relate to what you are going through. I'm female; 55; had to have a stent placed in my LAD (Left Anterior Descending) artery almost 2 years ago. Had angina pains for about 10 days before seeing the doctor...failed my stress test and had an angiogram (cardiac cath) the next day. They found a 99% blockage and put in a stent. I was very, very lucky not to have had a heart attack; it would probably have killed me. I'm doing well now, at least physically, though dealing with some minor liver function test elevations, probably due to the meds I have to take to keep my cholesterol at the numbers they need to be for people with CAD (coronary artery disease).

If I were in your shoes, I would talk at length with the cardiologist to weigh your risks of a heart attack versus the risks of the cardiac cath. If you can't take statin drugs, it will be tough to get your numbers at the level they should be, and even if you do, that won't do anything much for the blockage you already have. The cardiac cath is not only a diagnostic tool; it is the way they fix the problem with a stent (if you are a candidate for a stent; you might need a bypass, but they can't tell that without the cath either). Or, at least this is my understanding. You really need to talk at length with your doctor about your individual risks and options. Don't worry about asking questions again of him/her soon, as you are likely in so much shock you didn't hear much they said the first time (at least that was my experience).

Hope you are at least taking an aspirin every day, as it sure sounds like you have CAD. If the blockage is in your LAD (they can't tell for sure from the stress test you had, but they can get a very good idea) you may be at very high risk of a heart attack and death. Some people refer to a blockage in the LAD as the widowmaker: as I understand it, that's about the worst artery to have a blockage in should you have a heart attack.

The fear you are experiencing in normal...hang in there; it will help you make the right decision.

I would add that the risks of the cardiac cath are real; they accidentally stopped my heart the first time I had one done, and had to revive me with the defrillator, BUT it was also what saved my life. I had a second a year later with no problems. They've been doing them at least since the early 70s...my Dad had several before he died of a 3rd heart attack at age 64 (before stents existed...he could have been a guinea pig for the early bypass experiments but decided again it). If you are in a good hospital with a good interventional cardiologist, you should have few problems.

Again, this is my own personal experience, and I can't give you advice: only you can decide what is best for you in consultation with a good cardiologist. You WILL have to drastically change your lifestyle whatever you decide to do re: treatment.

Take care,

Connie

ConnieS
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 37
   Posted 8/5/2006 10:12 AM (GMT -7)   
p.s. This is from memory only, but the reversal of heart disease experiments with diet....require an extremely low fat, virtually vegan diet...which is very hard for most people to stick too, if I'm remembering the research correctly.

Also, I was told before they even knew for sure what was going on NOT to exercise as that could bring on a heart attack.

Musicman50
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 8/5/2006 11:21 AM (GMT -7)   
What about this new CT angioplasty?
Says in some cases will replace the invasive cardiac Cath test..
True if they found blockage and I needed a stint, I would still have to have it done anyway.

Anyone have any experiance in this procedure ??

http://www.angioplasty.org/imaging_g.html

"CT (computed tomography) is a type of imaging that played a relatively limited role in heart disease, mainly to screen for calcium. But the recent development of the MultiSlice (or multidetector) scanner is moving this technology to the front of the line. Many patients who would have previously been referred for cardiac catheterization for diagnosing coronary artery disease may now be diagnosed using less invasive CT angiography. With 64-slice scanning technology and beyond, CT angiography may be moving towards replacing the "gold standard" of cardiac catheterization for the diagnosis of coronary artery disease."

ConnieS
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 37
   Posted 8/5/2006 11:49 AM (GMT -7)   
I asked my cardiologist the same question when he wanted to do another angiogram last November. He told me this CT scan technology is about 5 years in the future in terms of being able to do what the traditional angiogram does. I get my care at Mayo Scottsdale so I have no doubt he is one of the best docs there is and is up on things.

The last I knew, those machines are available at only a few places in the country.

It never hurts, however, to ask your cardiologist (and/or get a second opinion).

Post Edited (ConnieS) : 8/5/2006 12:56:33 PM (GMT-6)


DREAMGIRL
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 600
   Posted 8/5/2006 12:05 PM (GMT -7)   
:-)  there are a few poeple on this site that have had the 64 slice scan, that is a very real option if there is one in your area. i was told that if you already have heart disease it is better not to do it,since tehy already know you have heart disease. also it uses a very high amount of radiation  very high, like the equivelant of many regular x-rays. but it is definetly a great option.  i wish i could remmember what i had done before i had the angiogram.  i begged my doctor to order a ct type scan that showed i had a 90% risk of a heart event. it was a calcium deposit test. if it had not been for me pushing for that test i would never had pushed for the angiogram.  Also, i am sure you know you need to change those eating habits. all white breads, white rice, almost white anything is so processed it has no nutritional value.also lunch meats, even the good deli kind are not good. later

Blueangel
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 8/5/2006 12:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Phil,
I like your exercise :-) LOL sounds like mine  tongue tee heee I need to get my butt moving as well!!! sorry to hear about what your dealing with.
I do think you need to talk thoroughly with your cardio the risk involving a cath it will give you peace of mind to know what's going on if you do have one done!!!
 
I've had 2 caths in the last 3 yrs. I was really scared when I had to have the 2nd one done I ended up with 3 stents in the RCA with my 2nd cath. (I had the cath done 4 months ago) it wasn't that bad!!! Don't remember a lot with the first cath they had me pump full of morphine it was right after my heart attack ended up with one stent in the LAD.
 
I was 39 when I had my MI I can relate I still freak out when I get some angina thinking is this angina or ??? sad  
 
The 64-slice CT scan is great from what I hear but when I had my cath done 4 months ago my cardio said we do have the new 64-slice CT scan, but unfortunately we can't use it on you because you already have a stent it doesn't look within the stent!!! don't know if he was lying to me or not cause I've heard other stent folks saying they had it done. confused    
Good luck, Phil


My Cholesterol #'s
Total-114
HDL- 68
LDL-13
Trig-56
Coreg- beta blocker
Altace- ace inhibitor
Lipitor- statin
Plavix-clapidogrel
Aspirin

Post Edited (Blueangel) : 8/5/2006 2:03:55 PM (GMT-6)


DREAMGIRL
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 600
   Posted 8/5/2006 1:55 PM (GMT -7)   
yeah  that is what my dr. told me too blueangel. about the stents, that is a bummer.  blue, isn't that a very very low ldl #. is that healthy?

Blueangel
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 8/5/2006 3:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi dreamgirl,
He seems to think the numbers are ok!! He said women with heart diease needs their numbers lower than men. sad
When I saw him last he said they were great numbers!!!
 
The numbers below was my results before (he said we need to get them lower.)
They used to be this:
total 149
HDL 38
LDL 93
Trig 93
 
Is this not healthy LDL 13?


My Cholesterol #'s
Total-114
HDL- 68
LDL-13
Trig-56
Coreg- beta blocker
Altace- ace inhibitor
Lipitor- statin
Plavix-clapidogrel
Aspirin

Post Edited (Blueangel) : 8/5/2006 4:18:39 PM (GMT-6)


ConnieS
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 37
   Posted 8/5/2006 4:33 PM (GMT -7)   
LDL for people with heart disease is supposed to be below 70...but I don't know how low is too low, or if there even is such a thing in an adult with heart disease.

HDL needs to be above 40, preferably higher especially in women. There was a recent study to show that low HDL was even worse for heart disease than high LDL. It has been very difficult to get my HDL up - only Niaspan has done it - but it finally was 52 last time.

Gee, I wish I had your triglycerides....finally got mine below 150. After almost 2 years of medication changes and diet changes, all 4 of my lipid numbers are where they're supposed to be, but the LFTs went a tad too high...Grrrrrrrrrrrr!

Blueangel
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 8/5/2006 5:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Connie, thanks for the information I'm not sure either about the LDL (how low is too low?)  confused
 
I also take Niaspan not as often as I should I hate the flushes, tingling that you get when you take the stuff!!! My cardio says all that will quit when it gets into your system!!!
 
My numbers probably have change some since I'm not taking the Niaspan as directed.
Congrates on getting your HDL up!!
I do ok on getting my trigs down I just have a problem keeping my HDL & LDL numbers going in the direction they need to be heading!!
 
 
 


My Cholesterol #'s
Total-114
HDL- 68
LDL-13
Trig-56
Coreg- beta blocker
Altace- ace inhibitor
Lipitor & Niaspan
Plavix
Aspirin

Post Edited (Blueangel) : 8/5/2006 6:25:35 PM (GMT-6)


ConnieS
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 37
   Posted 8/5/2006 5:25 PM (GMT -7)   
Are you taking your Niaspan at bedtime and with your Aspirin? (Actually, they recommend taking the Aspirin 30 minutes before you take the Niaspan, but it's easier for me and my sister to take them at the same time and it seems to have the same result). It helps reduce the flushing in a lot of people for some weird reason unknown to me.

Blueangel
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 8/5/2006 5:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Yep, I usually take my Niaspan at bedtime and my aspirin 30 minutes before but for some reason I can't remember to take the aspirin and by that time it's bedtime I don't won't to have to sit up for 30 more minutes to take the Niaspan so I don't bother taking it!!!
 
So the results are the same if you take it together. That's great
Thanks for the tip I will try doing that!!
Thank you for sharing!!! :-)
My Cholesterol #'s
Total-114
HDL- 68
LDL-13
Trig-56
Coreg- beta blocker
Altace- ace inhibitor
Lipitor & Niaspan
Plavix
Aspirin


DREAMGIRL
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 600
   Posted 8/5/2006 5:41 PM (GMT -7)   
:-)  i was given a prescription for niaspan last month and broke out in a head to toe rash, not a flush, maybe i will try it again. my #'s are  LDL180  HDL63  Trig 99  so as you can see my ldl is terribly scary, but i have not been able to tolerate the statins and i guess not the niapan either.  i also tried Zetia, hurt my intestinal tract, so i have been desparate to find something to lower the bad,  i will let you know if i find a solution. cannot tolerate garlique either.t rying cinnamon,almonds,eating salmon,and fishoil and recently purchased guggul extract, am a little afraid to try it, does anyone else use ?

Blueangel
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 8/6/2006 6:30 AM (GMT -7)   

DreamGirl,

Your LDL is pretty high!! I hope you can find some type of statin that works for you.

 


My Cholesterol #'s
Total-114
HDL- 68
LDL-13
Trig-56
Coreg-(beta blocker), Altace-(ace inhibitor)
Lipitor & Niaspan, Plavix & Aspirin
2003 Heart attack @ 39
1 stent in the LAD
3 yrs. later 3 stents in the RCA
 


els
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 4031
   Posted 8/6/2006 8:29 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi musicman50,  I just wanted to welcome you to the forum.  I see that some of our veteran members have given you some excellent suggestions and information.  I hope you continue to use Healing Well as a resource for information and support, everyone here is just wonderful.  Take care


 


juliet
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 81
   Posted 8/7/2006 1:03 PM (GMT -7)   
Musicman50,

My doctor didn't like my results from my Thalium stress test and gave me two options: angiogram or CT. In the doctor's office, I chose the CT because, like you, I was afraid of the risks of the angio. However, when the doc said that the CT scan is about 80 % accurate, I started worrying about the other 20%. What if I really had something wrong, and the test missed it?

So I asked him what he'd do if I was his wife. He said he'd go for the angio because he could fix me when he got in there if there was trouble. Turns out I made the right decision. I had a nasty blockage that has now been repaired with two stents.

Good luck to you, and welcome.

DREAMGIRL
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 600
   Posted 8/11/2006 5:40 PM (GMT -7)   
:-)  Hi juliet, sounds a lot like how my situation went down. tow stents, lad,, surpise and much anxiety followed, how are you holding up? i personally have never been the same, i would love to keep contact with you and see how you are feeling. i use to have a load of energy and now if i had to work i do not how i could, just too tired.  i have good days alot but i just do not have the stamina i use to. bye for now please keep coming back.

juliet
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 81
   Posted 8/14/2006 1:25 PM (GMT -7)   

DREAMGIRL,

I'm tired too, but I find that if I exercise every day I feel better.  Anxiety is also a problem.  Every now and then I just get an odd feeling in my chest...not pain...not pressure, but something weird, and I immediately panic.  Of course, then I stress myself out telling myself that stress also contributes to heart disease, so it's a vicious cycle! 

 

I hope that your energy picks up.  I really do feel better after exercising.  Thanks for the post.

 


DREAMGIRL
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 600
   Posted 8/14/2006 6:40 PM (GMT -7)   
:-)  i excersize almost daily, for sure 4 times a week, i use to ve so anxious i was goiong to die, but the longer you don't(die), the better you feel emotionally. also this forum helped me an awful lot, wish i had found it sooner, kudos to you that you have. i am very fit and try to eat right, that isn't always easy, and i have been told i just produce excess cholesteral in my liver, so when that is the case, i figured it is better to add good cholesteral to try to offset the bad. i do that by taking fish oil and eating nuts, i go for another cholesteral test tomorrow, hope my good cholesteral numbers are up a bait haigher so offset my pititful ldl #'s  bye for now

DREAMGIRL
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 600
   Posted 8/14/2006 6:42 PM (GMT -7)   
eyes  p.s. that funny feeling is probably in your upper stomach and not your chest, i had that same problem, still do, but take something. that use to scare me too
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