Skip to comments.Lessons of Heart Disease, Learned and Ignored
Posted on 04/09/2007 11:55:05 PM PDT by neverdem
Keith Orr thought he would surprise his doctor when he came for a checkup.
His doctor had told him to have a weight-loss operation to reduce the amount of food his stomach could hold, worried because Mr. Orr, at 6 feet 2 inches, weighed 278 pounds. He also had a blood sugar level so high he was on the verge of diabetes and a strong family history of early death from heart attacks. And Mr. Orr, who is 44, had already had a heart attack in 1998 when he was 35.
But Mr. Orr had a secret plan. He had been quietly dieting and exercising for four months and lost 45 pounds. He envisioned himself proudly telling his doctor what he had done, sure his tests would show a huge drop in his blood sugar and cholesterol levels. He planned to confess that he had also stopped taking all of his prescription drugs for heart disease.
After all, he reasoned, with his improved diet and exercise, he no longer needed the drugs. And, anyway, he had never taken his medications regularly, so stopping altogether would not make much difference, he decided.
But the surprise was not what Mr. Orr had anticipated. On Feb. 6, one week before the appointment with his doctor, Mr. Orr was working out at a gym near his home in Boston when he felt a tightness in his chest. It was the start of a massive heart attack, with the sort of blockage in an artery that doctors call the widow-maker.
He survived, miraculously, with little or no damage to his heart. But his story illustrates the reasons that heart disease still kills more Americans than any other disease, as it has for nearly a century.
Medical research has revealed enough about the causes and prevention...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Check that URL if your interested. There are too many links.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
Last week my 74-year-old mother-in-law had symptoms of a heart attack late at night and dialed 911. Within 4 minutes, there was an ambulance, a fire truck, and two police cars outside her door. She spent 15 hours in the hospital, undergoing EKG, contrast radiography, stress test, enzyme tests, etc. They didn't find a darn thing. They wanted her to stay overnight, but she said no, and got a ride home, even though they brought in a psychologist to check her sanity. She needed a good night's sleep, and she knew she wouldn't get it in the hospital.
She's been fine since and the doctors don't have an explanation.
Same thing happened to wifey a month ago. Docs still can't find anything wrong. We see a cardiologist this week.
In fact I have heard recent statistics that show cancer has moved into the number one spot. Will try to track them down.
Rule out esophageal spasm. Feels like a heart attacks, debilitating pain, docs seem never to think of it.
Gall bladder attack is another mimic.
Factual statistic: 1 in 27 women have breast cancer;
1 in 2 women have heart disease.
Spasms of the muscle sub clavius (under the collarbone/clavicle) also imitate heart attack.
Maybe not. The greatest miracle workers in the world are diet and exercise. But they seem to be our last resort in this age.
15 years ago I had a heart attack and was out of work for 2 months. I had my heart attack the morning after my annual physical during which I received a full treadmill style EKG and was declared to have a clean bill of health. 18 hours after my physical I was on my back in the emergency room.
I don’t believe that the doctors can tell anything from their testing.
I had a severe MI (LAD) at age 47, sextuple bypass surgery at age 54, and have paroxysmal afib controlled by Sotalol. I am now 80, still in good health. I take a whole slew of medicines daily including statins and warfarin. I don't think anything about it; it's just one of those things you do to keep living.
Had a coronary arteriogram late last year. The bypasses are still working great after 25 years. Isn't life grand?
Good answer Mad Dawg. I had an esophagus constriction one night and I swore I was having a heart attack. I had a simple outpatient procedure to open it back up and then they put me on Protonix.
They will be mentioned in consultation
depends on ability to run on treadmill up to vmax.
Interesting thread. Thanks to all contributors.
My dear friend’s husband collapsed and died in the hospital on the treadmill while undergoing a stress test for his physical exam (thin, non-smoker...never any indications or symptoms of heart trouble...just getting a physical exam). About 5 years later, her(his)son, a senoir in high school, collapsed and died while sitting in the stands after his tennis match.
Young co-worker/friend (early 20’s) about 10 years ago (big guy 6’3” 250+ lbs) went to the hospital with his wife after Thanksgiving dinner complaining of chest pains. They observed him, may have ran some routine tests. He insisted on being released that evening as he was feeling “normal” again. He was walking toward the lobby door with his wife and suddenly collapsed and died.
And the moral of the story is, always take the pills the pill-pushers set before you. ;’) Sadly, we are not built to last.
Probably Gall Bladder.
Inspiring! G-d bless you.
How would one rule out such a spasm?
This is the apparent cause of my visit to an emergency room. The pain in my chest was well beyond anything that I had previously experienced. But there was no elevated pulse, as might be expected with a cardiac event.
Is there a way to differentiate the spasm from any other cause?
Remember Jim Fixx died of a heart attack. I think he had 95% blockage. Yes the exercise extended his life but he still needed to see a doctor and wouldn’t.
after many ekgs, treadmill, angiogram, they finally figured out I had two bad discs and two pinched nerves in my neck causing my chest pain, jaw pain, numbness in my left arm. Do not give up too soon.
History of acid reflux, heart-burn? Overweight (which sometimes seems to do something to the hiatus) or history of hiatus hernia? Any reason to suspect irritation of the esophagus?
Does it respond to Tums?
What did you eat? For example, minty things or starchy things, like, say, granola, seem sometimes to lead to irritation of the espohagus. Or swallowing a lot of air.
From my point of view I have no history of heart trouble and plenty of history of digestive upset. I just sit up, burp a few times, pop a tums or two, problem goes away. And I can usually tell it's coming nowadays before it gets bad. I had my first one more than 20 years ago and it hurt incredibly, I had to lie down and do breathing exercises, but I just somehow was sure it wasn't a heart attack. I had a few more episodes and finally figured out what it was.
One day I"m going to pop a couple of tums, burp, and die of a heart attack, I guess ....
Well, I certainly hope not.
And I had begun experiencing heartburn with any activity after meals. But I didn't associate the pain I was having with that problem. It was just like a very severe and localized cramp.
Oh, well...an unnecessary visit to an emergency room is actually far preferable to a necessary one. Thanks for the info.
Mad Dawg. Not to make you day worse, but you may be moving toward a damaged esophagus, and that can be devastating.
A friend had it and it convinced me, since I have acid reflux, to go to acid inhibitors and not rely on Tums.
Acid reflux will also cause irritation to the vagus nerve which, if irritated, will mimic a heart attack or trigger spipped beats (PVCs). BTDT. A wise old doctor told me that.
Actually, I lost weight, cleaned up my act, and it hardly ever happens anymore. I mean not for over a year.
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