just diagnosed with cardiac ischemia??

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-10-1999
just diagnosed with cardiac ischemia??
Fri, 05-22-2009 - 11:41am

I am 40. Heart disease runs in my family big time. All my grandparents, my mother and my uncle. My father died at 45 from it. To say the least I am very very scared right now. I took care of myself. I am not overweight. I eat low fat, lots of fruits and veggies. I don't smoke.

My symptoms are occasional heart palpitations,

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2001
Fri, 05-22-2009 - 1:55pm
{{{HUGS!}}} I don't have exactly what you had, but I did have open heart surgery two months ago. Had 3 heart vessels replaced plus dead heart muscle removed and a patch put in place. I, too, had an EKG in preparation for a far less serious surgery in January, and was denied that surgery by the anesthesiologist because the EKG came back "abnormal." :O Subsequently I had other tests and a cardiac catheterization which showed the blocked vessels and dead heart muscle. A week and a half or so later I had the surgery. They didn't want to wait. I had been lucky so far, they said.

Now that I shared my recent experience with you, I'll share what the doctors said about exercise, etc. First off, the fact you eat a healthy low fat diet is the best way to take care of your heart. The other very important part of that equation is your level of exercise. I was told that my low fat diet, losing excess weight and reaching goal weight before surgery, plus daily exercise seven days a week, is why I didn't have the "big one" while living with all that heart damage, which I had no clue about. Also, even more important, was that I have come back from the surgery quicker than most, and am even back up to my previous walking pace and surpassed previous mileage, two months after my surgery. So, diet and exercise, ideal weight and general healthy lifestyle are critical to medical treatment and success of medical treatment. So keep that in mind! ;)) You are already there with that kind of preparation for any medical intervention that may come. Which gives you a huge advantage! ;)) When I asked the doctors if I should continue my long walks at brisk pace (over 100 min. with my dog, 6-7 days/week) before surgery, the doctors absolutely said YES! They said there was *MORE* risk to me by suddenly sitting still and not exercising and being afraid and upset and "stewing" about the upcoming surgery, with not getting that stress out of my body with exercise. So, while I certainly am no expert nor can I specifically advise you in your specific situation, I will share what they said to me. I also take a baby aspirin, as well as other medications for high blood pressure, and I also take a statin drug that is heart supportive and helpful for too high bad cholesterol (although I don't have that, thanks to my low fat diet). Can you ask your surgeon's advice about continuing your exercise, in the meantime, while you're waiting to see the cardiologist?

I am taking a course called "Multifit" from my health provider, which is offered to members who have had a "heart event" or surgery as I have. They are saying daily exercise, minimum 30 minutes, preferably building to 60, is one of the MOST important tools for heart health. Along with medications, and low fat and low sodium diet lifestyle. Again, in your situation, I don't know what a doctor might advise. Also, you should keep in mind that a primary treatment for stress IS exercise, daily, and aerobic. Now the rule of thumb for intensity that they just taught us about yesterday is that you can TALK and do your exercise. And BREATHE. LOL! :P They said to seek a middle ground where heart rate is up a bit, not too easy, but also NOT TOO HARD where you can't talk and breathe while you are exercising. On a scale of 6 (no exertion at all) to 20 (maximum exertion), they said strive for 11 (light exertion)-13 (somewhat hard) levels. Warm up adequately, stretch, and cool down and stretch afterwards. Stretching is also helpful to stress as well. Practices like t'ai chi or yoga are also helpful for stress. So is meditation. Make sure you get adequate rest, naps if needed, let your body tell you how it's feeling. Eat well and healthy.

When I had a stressful job in the past (I'm retired now), I got away for my lunch hour. And I either ran or walked or did some t'ai chi as well as ate a light lunch. Can you get away for your lunch break? Get fresh air. Get moving. Get outta there, LOL! :P Also, at work, I would get up and move around and stretch at my desk for a couple of minutes, then sit back down (at computer) and go back to work. Or just sit, look away from the screen, and stretch my arms and change position --- and breathe long, slow and deep for a few minutes. That really helped. I know birth control pills carry a risk of blood clots. So I don't know what to advise. If you smoke, you are at higher risk by using BC pills, as I was, and smoking is hard on your heart, also. Again, maybe ask that surgeon if you can. Or your regular doctor, if you have one? Perhaps your regular doctor is more accessible to you? Advice nurse (we have those on our plan)?

Take good care of you! More HUGS!




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Community Leader
Registered: 10-22-2001
Thu, 05-28-2009 - 10:18pm
Hi just read your post and thought I would respond.
Last year in May I had a heart attack...I was forty-nine.
In July I turned fifty and like you have been scared because my beloved mom had a heart attack at a fairly young age and died.
I am doing great...I had the stress test and the echo cardiogram.
My cholesterol was high actually my family doctor found out just before my heart attack and he put me on medication.
In the meantime I now take my baby aspirin...low dose daily of 81 mg.
Also now on medication for blood pressure.
I am not over-weight and never smoked.
In my purse I carry nitro.
I try to walk when I can as I have RA (rheumatoid arthritis) and sometimes I am in pain and definitely sometimes fatigued.
Read labels and have cut salt out (sodium) although I never used it but it is in a lot of our food and even drinks.
Have cut back on caffeine.
I don't really use much sugar...I can take it or leave it in coffee or tea.
Not a pop drinker either and don't drink alcohol.
Just check with your family doctor about your birth control medication...maybe there is an alternative method of birth control you can use.
I would ask again if your employer could or would keep you in mind for a transfer.
In the meantime could you take some time off maybe EI sick benefits until you see the specialist.
I know how hard it is I live in Canada myself.
After I ended up in the hospital I got to see the specialist and I was so relieved to have him caring for me.
Many people don't even have a family doctor here so at least I have that although I have gone to the hospital when I have been unable to get in to see my doctor or can't wait for an appointment.
Exercising, and watching your diet are good but if you can't see the specialist yet maybe your doctor can find another to refer you to or at least allay your fears which are very real to you and understandable.
The hospital I was at was awesome and I am so glad I went or I would never have known.
Take care hon and know you aren't alone.

Edited 6/4/2009 12:02 am ET by nightangel67
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Sun, 05-31-2009 - 10:09pm

Welcome to Heart Health, Birdee33!! I'm so glad you found us!

I really have nothing more to add to what the other ladies have said. As for being a worrier, I think most of us are when it comes to our health. I wish you all the luck in the world and I do hope you will provide updates here so that we will know how you're doing. ((((Birdee33))))

With Big Heart Hugs, Geri