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Thread: heart attack and stent

  1. #1
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    heart attack and stent

    Hello all. I want to share with you what happened to DH in recent days as a warning to everyone, and also inquire of others who have dealt with having a stent, to learn of problems as well as hopefully positive feedback.

    Last week DH was having what appeared to be acid reflux after dinner.. burning pain across his chest. No feeling of pressure or squeezing, no pain anywhere else except when it was bad it would hurt in his RIGHT shoulder and in his upper back. He swallowed some Pepto Bismal and was better--episode over. Then it happened again the next night but worse. He was also burping a lot with these episodes. We decided it was worse because the esophageal tissue was irritated from the episode the prior day. Again, Pepto eased the pain. So we picked up some aloe juice and other natural stuff to help deal with the episode, assuming he had irritated the valve that keeps stomach contents in and wanted to help it to heal. Next night DH woke me in the wee hours in a lot of pain. He had tried to deal with it on his own and the remedies we had weren't working. So I soothed him and comforted him and the pain went away. I quickly googled yet again all the symptoms of heart attack and acid reflux and again it seemed he didn't have heart attack symptoms, but the sentence that made us decide to go to the hospital said, if you're experiencing pain you've never had before, go to the hospital. So we did.

    He was not in pain anymore and complained of going to the hospital, but we went. On admittance, his EKG was normal and they drew blood for lab work. As we waited for them to take him for a CT scan, the pain returned only mildly, but I quickly alerted the staff and they did another EKG which showed some slight abnormality. The lab work showed a rise in a heart enzyme which indicates the heart is in trouble. So the whisked him off to the Cath Lab where they did the dye thing, determined he had a blocked artery and put in a small stent. We were lucky. The cardiologist said he did have a heart attack, but it was mild and did not damage the heart, it is only bruised. He is to take it easy for 3 months, and of course now take a bunch of drugs, including a blood thinner.

    The cardiologist said his arteries looked normal for his age, he just had one small "lesion" blocking a main vessel. DH and I eat pretty healthy, he exercises, but we have struggled this last year with his blood pressure. He is overweight and wanted to try natural remedies and weight loss and see if that would do the trick. They seemed to be working, but he would still have spikes. So he went to his doctor before Christmas and was prescribed BP meds. But I asked the cardiologist what would cause this lesion, and as I understand it, a spike in his BP can cause damage to the vessel wall and the plaque then builds on that spot.

    So if our experience helps just one person who reads this, great!

    While we feel enormously blessed at such a great outcome, it is depressing for him to be on all these drugs, and he hates having something foreign inside him. I know that's silly but he's never had any kind of surgery and this of course hit us out of the blue. He's worried about the stent.. worried he'll get a clot or worried it will close off again. He's worried about the side effects of the meds. He's worried about being tethered to doctors. (Remember we live on a boat.) I know we'll get through this but if you have any personal experiences to share that will help us through this process in any way, please do!

    Hugs to all, and Happy Valentine's Day!!!

  2. #2
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    We do have experience, Julie -- About 11 years ago, DH had a similar experience. He is one that hates going to doctors, but after 1 day of feeling really bad, he went to the ER, but they said the enzymes were ok, and it must have been reflux, of which he has a history. The next day, the pain was a LOT worse, so we went to his doctor, who sent him immediately to the cardiologist... long story short -- he ended up with 3 stents (the kind with the antibiotic on them), and 10 years later had a heart cath, where they found that the stents were in great order and there was no additional blockage. Because he did very little damage to his heart, is not (much) overweight, and exercised regularly, he can "pass" for never having had heart problems! He does have several other conditions that keep him on medication, but he sees the cardiologist once a year for medicine adjustments and a stress test. It is totally do-able, and the stents should give him no further trouble -- at least that's our experience!

    I hope he's feeling better soon! Depression is a common occurrence after heart problems, but should resolve itself, once he gets used to feeling better! Good luck! BTW, DH was 56 when this happened.
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

  3. #3
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    Thanks for sharing your story and I am so glad to hear your DH is doing well. Having a friend who's husband had a stent put in several years ago (and was spared a major heart attack or death due to his blockage) and a neighbor who passed away last week due to a heart attack (he was diabetic and looked to be in great health otherwise) it is a warning to all of us. My DH does not think it's necessary for him to go to the Dr. Sure he isn't overweight, runs and exercises, but that isn't enough I keep telling him. I will keep nagging him when I see it necessary though. He's got some things going on now that he really needs to have looked at, but he is stubborn as men mostly are when it comes to their health.

  4. #4
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    Thank you for sharing that. I didn't realize that could be a symptom.

    So glad to hear he is ok.

  5. #5
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    I am so very sorry that your DH is going through this!
    You just dealt with your brother's health/death and now this. Life can sure stink.

    My comments, not as a dietitian or a medical researcher or anything "professional," just as a female who feels strongly about gut instincts.

    If your gut is telling you something is not right...LOOK INTO IT. People poo-poo going to the ED and worry that they will look silly or hypochondriac or whatever. Doctors (good ones) will tell you they would much rather send you home and have you feel silly than have you never make it to the ED.
    If you are unwell or "off" and your gut is telling you something is not right, don't care if you meet the list of symptoms. Have YOURS checked out.

    Julie, I am so happy your DH is ok and only had a mild blip in issues. I totally get his angst on being on meds and having stuff in his body. Having been someone that "did everything right" and still got cancer, I was so bitter and angry having to take meds and have surgery. I guess the bottom line is that we only get so long on this earth and it is the journey...maybe if he reframes his ideals and goals and says "I want to make it to 80 or 90 or whatever, and do it with dignity and with being able to handle my own care..." that that is the goal...not whether we have surgery; not whether we have "a disease" that we feel labels us; not whether we need medical assistance, but that we cross the finish line as best we can and ENJOY the journey getting there.
    I have certainly started rethinking things for myself.

    You know, my gut worried you had not posted for a while....and then I read this....
    trust your gut. Know your body...know it is OK to seek help even if you don't meet any specs.
    None of us is perfect and at some point, we will all (if we are lucky to make it to a ripe old age) face challenges.
    Consider the journey and don't focus on the destination.

    I'm sorry if I am rambling, but stuff like this hits close to my heart...........

    I will just add: did he have a c-reactive protein test? IL-6 levels?? sometimes our "healthy" diet causes damage because our genetics are not like the majority.

    I am glad to hear he is doing well and that you are handling things well....
    Happy Valentine's day, Julie!
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  6. #6
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    I have difficulty responding to this thread, but maybe I can add something also.

    Julie, I am SO glad that your DH has been tended to and is on the mend. Having lots of new meds, when you have been a person to not take any, is very difficult.

    March 2003 I went to emerg. Over a week I felt crappy...couldn't put my finger on it...had been stripping wallpaper...both arms were achy at first, then just the left...spent a day in bed with flu like symptoms...felt like vomiting(never felt like that in my life)...no appetite (never in my life have I not had an appetite)...days later...arm still ached...appetite was back...sitting at the computer a few days later and got a REALLY sharp pain left chest.

    I told DH that I was tired of all of this and let's go to hospital and maybe get a muscle relaxant or something

    At 53 I had had a heart attack within 72 hours and a week later had double bypass surgery...both were over 90% blocked!

    One year later I had to have a stent put in to replace a bypass that collapsed.

    With all the meds I experienced a lot of heart attack symptoms that finally were resolved with reflux meds

    Fast forward to June of this year. I was shopping with DGD and started experiencing pain in my chest...up into my right jaw and ear....major sweat. I (stupidly) drove us home and nearing home....chest pain...got in the house...nitro spray...called a neighbour...Nexium for acid reflux....EMT...yikes!

    I was very fortunate as all tests, including stress test pointed to acid reflux....but man, at the time, I really thought it was a heart attack!

    My point to this, is what all nurses and doctors have told me...if in doubt...if you have ANY symptoms of heart...GO TO THE HOSPITAL!

  7. #7
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    Julie, I am so glad to hear your husband is on the mend and sharing your story and warning signs along with Kiwsmommy abnd Cafelatte.


    I just switched Drs, and my new one ran a test called Apolipoprotein B test because I told him I do have high LDL, the the other 2 are good. Both my mom and sister have it too. and My dad who is now 82 has a history of heart attacks since he 50's but no high cholesterol.


    INteresting when I had this test done, the women drawing blood had never heard of it. illoked it up and its is a much better test precurser to heart disease than cholesteral readings. I attached a link that shows what it is and says you can have heart disease and low cholesterol. Makes sense now when everyone says I diet, excercise, have low cholesterol and still had a heart attack.

    Here is the link that talks about this test
    http://www.bhlinc.com/clinicians/cli...anual/chapter6

    Mine came back at 105

    Laurie

  8. #8
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    I forgot to mention that DH's heart attack was a side effect of Rheumatoid Arthritis -- something else to watch out for!
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

  9. #9
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    Thanks all for your posts! Your words have been very helpful. Laurielee I will check out that link. My next step is to find a better cardiologist that hopefully has knowledge/interest in preventive medicine because I know better blood work can be done to better determine his risk going forward. My other complication is that we take a lot of supplements, some of which are treating specific problems he has with success, but I have to make sure they are safe with the meds. The cardiologist has not asked about this nor given any dietary instructions but we eat pretty healthy so now we're just fine tuning our diet more toward the Mediterranean Diet. We need MORE fruits and veggies, less red meat (not that we eat a lot), and more fish, then we need to eat less processed stuff, even though the processed stuff comes from Whole Foods. DH is a carboholic and snacks on crackery things at night. He is about 30 pounds overweight all stemming from eating after dinner. All of his other meals are good.

    If anyone has any recommendations on the best way to check interactions between the supplements and drugs please let me know!

  10. #10
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    A good interaction checker is here:
    http://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.html

    It will let you input supplements too. It also checks for food interactions.

    I second the recommendation for C Reactive Protein test.

    Also, be aware that eating a lot of carbs can create inflammation - that is why people follow a low glycemic diet sometimes. The up and down of sugar can cause inflammation in the body - sometimes this shows up as gut issues, sometimes joint, and often in teh blood vessels. I bet if your DH just cut out a lot of the cracker/cookie carbs he would lose weight as a result.
    Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.

  11. #11
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    One of dr. oz's guests mentioned a free app for drug interactions and even stated that doctors use this, so you may want to go to his website (which I find dreadful to navigate) to see if it is there. You can also try to google it.
    He also mentioned a free app for pulse rate for the iphone. Wish I had that but I have a cheap smart phone...not very smart!

    I still think that my breast cancer (and this is just my feeling/instinct, no test or true data behind it) was most likely caused by "eating healthy." That is to say, I followed the low fat, 60% whole grain, little to no meat, 10 veggies/fruit per day mantra, which put me in prediabetes at about 42 . This is where I feel genetic profiles make a ton of sense because not everyone is carb sensitive (my DH is going to be 73 and can wolf down a loaf of bread, slather each slice with jam, within 24 hours. He is not overweight and has no glucose spikes. I envy his pancreas!!). I am sure my "healthy" diet caused continual inflammation. IL-6 markers are now implicated in some cancers. Metformin in early trials seems to prevent mets from breast cancers....me thinks a link to these issues!!!
    And yes, it is not the cholesterol that is the problem...our bodies naturally make it for a reason. It is the inflammatory process that forces cholesterol to "fix" arteries that then can break off...and THAT is the issue. Of course, continued inflammation never ends the cycle.

    I hope your DH is continuing to do well.

    Oh, and this site may discuss interactions as well: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginformation.html

    Good luck!
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BucknellAlum View Post
    A good interaction checker is here:
    http://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.html

    It will let you input supplements too. It also checks for food interactions.

    I second the recommendation for C Reactive Protein test.

    Also, be aware that eating a lot of carbs can create inflammation - that is why people follow a low glycemic diet sometimes. The up and down of sugar can cause inflammation in the body - sometimes this shows up as gut issues, sometimes joint, and often in teh blood vessels. I bet if your DH just cut out a lot of the cracker/cookie carbs he would lose weight as a result.
    Wow that drug interaction checker is very cool! And you can save it and get FDA alerts for problems, etc.! I was worried about the food interactions but looks like they don't restrict dark leafy greens with the blood thinner anymore.

    Your info about eating lots of carbs creating inflammation is very interesting and I appreciate your sharing it.

  13. #13
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    [QUOTE=JulieM;1703980]I was worried about the food interactions but looks like they don't restrict dark leafy greens with the blood thinner anymore.
    QUOTE]

    I have worked in a pharmacist-run coumadin clinic and dark leafy greens are not restricted. The message we tried to give our patients is that they need to be consistent in eating greens. So if you typically eat greens 3 times a week, try to do that every week. The problems come when you decide to eat greens every day when you never have or vice versa. We would always ask people about their diet especially if the INR had changed a lot since the last visit because we wouldn't want to increase or decrease a dose if there was a possible reason for the change.

  14. #14
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    [QUOTE=ktg0930;1704081]
    Quote Originally Posted by JulieM View Post
    I was worried about the food interactions but looks like they don't restrict dark leafy greens with the blood thinner anymore.
    QUOTE]

    I have worked in a pharmacist-run coumadin clinic and dark leafy greens are not restricted. The message we tried to give our patients is that they need to be consistent in eating greens. So if you typically eat greens 3 times a week, try to do that every week. The problems come when you decide to eat greens every day when you never have or vice versa. We would always ask people about their diet especially if the INR had changed a lot since the last visit because we wouldn't want to increase or decrease a dose if there was a possible reason for the change.
    Great info, thank you!

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