Only 52 and 3 weeks from my first MI and angioplasty with stints

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New Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 11/12/2007 10:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi! I know I am not the only one my age who has ever experienced this but I am the only one I know.I am terrified about it happening again and would love to hear from anyone who started having heart problems at my age.I had 2 stints placed for a 99% blockage.My dr says it was mild and so was the damage.I just started Cardiac rehab and everyone is 75 or older.Would just like to hear from anyone my age what I can expect in ways of life changes and if the fear of it happening goe away.

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 11/12/2007 10:03 PM (GMT -6)   
Sorry,forgot to say I am 52 year old.

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 11/13/2007 8:35 AM (GMT -6)   

There is no family history of heart problem before age 75 on either side that we are aware of. I had high cholesterol but am on meds and a fairly strict diet and it i 140 now.I exercised at the gym 3 times a week and tho my weight i a little high, it is not something they are terribly concerned about. I am working on that right now.I am in cardiac rehab right now, going 3 time a week to exercise and I walk on the other days.I have changed my diet(no butter at all now) etc.Have cut out most all fat and am on 3 heart med and 3 cholesterol meds which keep my B/P at about 90/60 pretty religiously.I am willing to do anything I have to so I can be sure to avoid any further events. I am a retired nurse(was having TIAs with severe migraines). I hope that answer your question an tells you a little bit more of what you wante to know.Thans for the ideas on the books. oh yes, I quit smoking over 6 month ago and am undergoing sleep apnea testing right now. I am just looking for someone with the same basic history since I consider myself young for this, and am in need of someone who understands the fears associated with it.


Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 11/14/2007 2:06 PM (GMT -6)   
I am so happy to hear you are a suvivor.  IMHO I believe that you need to change your lifestyle to control the factors that you can to stay heart healthy.
Stress is a major issue for you right now and of course you are afraid but do not let your self become a cardiac cripple.  Try not to fixate on attempting to read everything on the internet.  Remember for every study you read you will find another that says just the opposite. Choose one or two good resources and read them but use your common sense too.
I would recommend you work together with your cardiologist and a nutritionist to set up a healthy life style plan during your recovery phase.   Keep to your exercise program, and know that like any other illnesses it is a shock but now is your time to appreciate and enjoy life to the fullest.
Bless you and your in my prayers for a full recovery.
Moderator Anxiety ~ Panic Disorders
*~* Not a mental health professional at all *~*
Dx: Anxiety/Panic, Depression, GERD, Osteoarthritis
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potty girl
Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 835
   Posted 11/14/2007 10:22 PM (GMT -6)   
I know what your feeling about your age but it doesnt matter on age I was 47 when I had my first heart attack had 2 stents put in then and a year later had another stent put in that was in 2003 and 2004 but have been doing good sense then. I was always thin and active but had high blood pressure and on meds from the time I was 30, and high cholesterol. I had really good luck with the stents. at first I thought about it happening again alot but I relised it wasnt helping me to just waste away my day worrying about it. and as I got to feeling better I thought about it less. I take my meds everyday and try to exercise, and eat healthy and it seems to be working.hope you get to feeling better.

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 600
   Posted 11/16/2007 9:46 AM (GMT -6)   
:-)  Hi just want to add my ten cents.  i wwas fit, and healthy, just had high cholesteral, and they found two blocked arteries. i had them stented and that was 3 years ago.  It took me over a year to get over my fears, i finally was willing to get on zoloft.  i know how you feel   we have all been there, most of the posts on this site are from women younger than 60, many younger than 50.  all i can say is , i now wake up everyday and hank God i get to see another one.  i am doing fine,  have not been able to get my cholesteral numbers down too well, problems tolerating statins, but my good to bad cholestral ration is 3.8  so .   do you know what all your other numbers are,, like your triglycerides, and good cholesteral? be strong, the fear will subside when you realize you are not going anywhere anytime soon.  it took years for that artery to block and it will take years again. are you in menopause?

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 11/16/2007 3:01 PM (GMT -6)   
I had my heart attack nearly 2 years ago when I was 53.  They put in one stent. I am different in I that I am a male but I've been in your shoes.  Being scared is normal considering everything that you gone through. It takes time to get use to the new ways of doing things.  The fear does diminish with time but I don't think it ever entirely goes away.  The fear goes away because you feel stronger each day and feel confident about doing things. It takes awhile but you realize that your life is not over and you can still have fun.  I found that the fear doesn't totally go away, though. (The residual fear you feell is nothing like what you feel now.)  For example, you bcome sensitive to any sort of chest pain wondering if it is start of more problems.  But with time, you feel more confident.  I also tell myself that I am doing everything I can do- I stopped smoking, take my meds, exercise every day, watch my diet, etc.  I think after awhile you make some sort of adjustment to it because you are living with it.
One thing that complicated my recovery was depression. I started feeling depressed about 3-4 weeks after my heart attack.  I told my doctor about my symptoms, and she very quickly put me on Zoloft. The Zoloft really help me out of tight spot.  I wa on it for about 6 months.  I later found out that about 1/2 of the people with heart attacks will experience some degree of depression in the first year.
The Ornish diet is a good diet but it is basically a vegetarian diet from what I understand.  Some people like it, some people cannot stand it.  Some people like the South Beach diet. (I think there are 1-2 books on the subject.)  I follow the

Mediterranean diet. It has been the subject of several studies publish by different Drs. It's about 30% fat diet. Basically it 5-8 servings of fruits/vegetables a day, 3-4 servings of legumes like kidney beans a week, an ounce of almonds or walnuts a day, 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil a day. You should have at least 2 servings of fish like salmon or trout as well as chicken or turkey. The serving size for fish or poultry is 3.5 oz, size of deck of cards. Red meat should be reduced or eliminated. You should try to increase your soluble fiber consumption to about 13-15 grams a day.

It sounds like you are off to great start by quitting smoking.  Changing your diet takes time. Be patient.  Just keep at it. I rember when they first told me what my new diet should  be like, I thought I couldn't do it.  I thought it would be very diificult not to have another cheeseburger or a donut.  But, I gave the new diet  my best effort and I found it was pretty good diet.  I haven't had pizza, a donut, or any red meat in nearly 2 years.  I  don't miss it.  My current diet is healthier and tastier. 

Here are my pieces of advice. Take it one day at a time.  Concentrate on how you feel today.  You will be getting alot of advice from Drs, nurses and dietician in the next few weeks. Relax.  Be open to new ways of doing things.


Hope this helps. Good luck!! 

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 37
   Posted 11/26/2007 3:16 PM (GMT -6)   

I'm a little late coming to this discussion, but will add a few things to the good advice you've already received.

I haven't had an MI, but did have a 99% blockage in my LAD with a stent placed about two weeks after my 54th birthday. This was not a birthday present I appreciated.  Luckily, I had classic angina symptoms that I recognized as such and ignored for only about 10 days.  If I had had an MI I likely would be dead, given the location and severity of my blockage.

I too thought I was way too young for this, and was perturbed that most of the literature, support groups where they exist, etc. are geared toward men in their 60s or 70s or whatever.  I was especially perturbed to find that there are no prominent spokespeople who are younger women (Patty Duke, where are you?) to get out the word, and that the media still focuses on breast cancer while heart disease kills 10 times more women, including younger women.

I am absolutely convinced that extreme stress was an important factor (along with other risk factors like low HDL and family history) in my developing heart disease young, partly because I know of at least 5 other women my age or younger who have/had heart disease who worked for the same agency.  (Unfortunately, two of them are dead as they did not survive their first MI).  So, lower your stress level however you can is my best piece of advice. 

The depression and anxiety, as others have said, is normal.  But denial (at some level) usually comes first.  Just be aware that everyone grieves differently (and that is what is happening; we are grieving the life we had or dreamed we would have and learning to cope with the new circumstances).  I too eventually tried Zoloft, but I could not tolerate the side effects (second time in my life I tried an SSRI; never again).  

Now, more than 3 years out, I rely on the occasional Valium if the anxiety becomes too much (which occasionally it does when I'm trying to figure out whether the discomfort I'm feeling my chest is GERD, gas, angina, etc.).  I'm less anxious now, but I too think I will always be hyper-aware of my chest and scared if I feel a chest pain.

While it is important to eat a healthy diet, avoiding all fat is not necessarily good.  Minimizing saturated fat and avoiding hyrdogenated fats completely should be your primary goal.  While some people do well on Ornish type diets, others claim they actually see a rise in their lipids.  Most people cannot stick to such a severely restrictive diet long term.  Something along the lines of the Mediterranean diet, the Weight Watchers Core Plan, or South Beach is probably more do-able long term.  I avoid full-fat dairy, and try to minimize beef and pork, but I haven't cut it out completely:  there are some cuts of beef and pork that actually have less saturated fat than poultry.  I allow myself a couple of slices of center-cut bacon once per year, and once a year I have a fried chicken meal (that I fry myself in canola oil).  (I'm not willing to live the rest of my life without occasionally eating some of my favorite foods).

I could go on an on about an number of issues:  suffice it to say I think I do know how you feel.  You are just beginning a new journey in your life.  It will get better with time, but it will always be different.

(BTW, I had to stay off the boards for awhile, and still do much of the time, because they were just too anxiety provoking). 



New Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 11/28/2007 1:17 PM (GMT -6)   


I definitely agree with your observations about grieving for your old life.  My PCP told me the same thing with, almost,the same words right after my heart attack when I was telling her about my feelings.  She said I was grieving for my old life.  The problem was that I had not built, or made, a new life just yet.  I was caught inbetween but, with time, things would get better. 

They did. 

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 12/6/2007 4:07 AM (GMT -6)   
I am a new member here and would like to thank you all for the posts I have read on this thread as up till now I have felt so alone with my experience. Apart from age my story is so similar to that of allgonemum. Am female, 65 years old, in Scotland, live alone, very active and working full time in a very stressful job. Three weeks ago, out of the blue, I had what was described as a minor heart attack, angioplasty and two stents fitted to a badly blocked artery. I have changed to a Mediterranean type diet, am exercising and in the midst of stopping smoking which is ten times more difficult than anyone ever warns you. However, the fear and depression has to be the worst part of recovery and it does help to come here and find that I, who has previously been so strong, am not alone with my fears for the future and in my depression. I feel so doomed. So thank you all so much for offering such hope and fellowship. I am so glad that I found this site.
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