Many patients come through their heart procedures and feel they are cured. Unfortunately for most, heart disease is a chronic progressive disorder of the arteries in which deposits of cholesterol, calcium, and abnormal cells (that is, plaques) build up on the inner lining of the arteries. Heart disease usually progressively deteriorates over time, whether due to normal bodily wear or lifestyle choices such as exercise or eating habits. This is a hard concept to grasp, and it doesn’t mean it is a death sentence either.
You can do everything right and still have further heart issues.
When patients struggle with this, I point out doing everything right may be why they survived, as approximately 50% of people do not survive their first heart attack. It is so important for each person to know their body’s signs and symptoms and not ignore them. We don’t really know what makes coronary artery disease aggressive, there seems to be several factors. These factors include inflammation, c- reactive proteins, genetics, lifestyle to name a few. Some patients will have multiple issues for years requiring frequent interventions and then be fine for many years before having another issue. On average coronary artery bypass grafts 10 years out will be 50% blocked. Some patients will go 20-30 years before needing another intervention, yet others may not even go a week or month before having symptoms. Thirty percent of open heart surgery patients will continue to have angina symptoms after surgery. The drug eluding stents have much lower rates of re-stenosis than the bare metal stents which average 25-30% restenosis rates, but in both cases the vessels often continue to develop blockages in other locations in the artery. If the bare metal stents are going to re-stenos the usually do so in the first 3-6 months. It is vital to stay on the platelet inhibitors – Plavix (clopidogrel) as prescribed to prevent complications.
Accepting the fact that you will have further heart disease is important.
Be on the lookout for new symptoms, for changes in energy patterns, note if you are becoming less active due to fatigue. Keep your risk factors in the best control possible. Try to get blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol numbers to national guidelines. Exercise regularly. Eat a rainbow of color in fresh fruits and vegetables each day. Don’t let stress effect your health, manage your stress as best as possible, consider counseling. Don’t live in fear, live life to its fullest!!
Play hard. Enjoy your families.
Embrace life. Do something rewarding every day.
Laugh. Mentor others. Love