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Old 01-09-2005, 09:01 PM   #1
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After a heart attack and stints, how to stop worrying

My mom, who will be 63 this year, had a heart attack Nov. of '03, in July of '04, one of her stints moved and she felt like she was having another h/a. She had to go back in and have the stint replaced and now all she does is worry. I know, I'd be worried too. But the worry is not helping her. Most conversations we have, she tells me she wants to live another 20 years atleast, etc. Last week, she thought she was having another h/a, went to the e/r, turned out to be really bad heartburn. Any coping skills to recommend to her so she stops stressing? Bad hearts run on her side of the family. My grandmother died at the age of 74 after a triple bypass. My moms half-brother is living on a 1/3 of a heart.

 
Old 01-09-2005, 10:13 PM   #2
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Re: After a heart attack and stints, how to stop worrying

Maybe you should tell her to ask her doctor about prozac or something like that, After having a heart attack at 40 in Nov-17-01, I had a very hard time with the whole thing and worried all the time and I became very depressed but after taking a drug for depression, I got much better, and was able to get off the meds for awhile. I did have to go back on about 6 months ago but I'm now off and doing pretty good. Some people have to take them forever.

 
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Old 01-10-2005, 04:16 AM   #3
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Re: After a heart attack and stints, how to stop worrying

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeethan
My mom, who will be 63 this year, had a heart attack Nov. of '03, in July of '04, one of her stints moved and she felt like she was having another h/a. She had to go back in and have the stint replaced and now all she does is worry. I know, I'd be worried too.
I read (in one of these heart attack survivor book) that 95% of heart attack survivors develop anxiety. I was there. I had my MI at age 35 in 2002. I spent the next 6 months as a "cardiac cripple" and was in the ER 3 more times for two more caths, and a second stent.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeethan
But the worry is not helping her. Most conversations we have, she tells me she wants to live another 20 years atleast, etc. Last week, she thought she was having another h/a, went to the e/r, turned out to be really bad heartburn. Any coping skills to recommend to her so she stops stressing?
I would like to believe that she could, I could, we all could, provided the changes are made to minimize the risk of furture events. What finally got me past the anxiety was my 4th ER trip in 6 months, where the last two were false alarms. I saw the images of my arteries and realized that they still looked fine and I was looking for every slight twinge to cause an alarm. About the same time, a friend who works in the cath lab at another hospital dragged me out to run with her one morning. She called me a "cardiac cripple" and I was (afraid of taxing my poor heart). Needless to say, I did run and did not fall over and die. Since then, I have worked hard at exercise and never even think of the MI and 2 stents. In fact, I feel like I am equivalent or more healthy now than other 38 year olds. I also know that at the level of exercise I do, the probability is high that I will notice the onset of angina again, and will have time to take action--such as slow down, or take a nitrate. I did try Paxil at one point, but 3 days into that treatment I realized I never felt so anxious in my life. I came off Paxil and since then have been anxiety free. I really can't tell you how your mother can get past the anxiety... I know in my case that I don't fear death anymore. It happens to us all, and there is no escaping it, so might as well live life to its fullest while you can (and I certainly do now). Besides, going out (cardiac arrest, death) was not really all that painful to me, but being defibrillated sure was (It was a blast--literally). I sure don't want to experience that again.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeethan
Bad hearts run on her side of the family. My grandmother died at the age of 74 after a triple bypass. My moms half-brother is living on a 1/3 of a heart.
Making it to 74 is decent. No one in the last two generations has passed 72 years of age. My father had his bypasses at age 51 and died at 58. With familial history, just remember to take care of yourself also

 
Old 01-10-2005, 04:58 AM   #4
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Re: After a heart attack and stints, how to stop worrying

Thanks so much! Sweet of you all to answer. I smoke *ducking head*, and I know I need to stop, that also makes my mom worry.

 
Old 01-10-2005, 09:50 AM   #5
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Re: After a heart attack and stints, how to stop worrying

Major cardiac events - i.e. heart attacks and/or surgery - often lead to clinical anxiety and/or clinical depression. These are real illnesses caused by chemicals in the brain that can be treated and corrected with medication. Please have your mother evaluated for these conditions so that she can get treated appropriately.
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Old 01-10-2005, 05:16 PM   #6
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Re: After a heart attack and stints, how to stop worrying

I had a stint put in in september,, have been feeling depressed and anxious a little more everyday since... I am now on prozac and just starter klonipin ofr anxiety.... It is hard when you are having an anxiety attack and your heart is pounding,,,,, you wonder is this anxiety or is my heart actaully have a problem... I am 34 years old and juist hate feeling like this....

 
Old 01-10-2005, 05:30 PM   #7
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Re: After a heart attack and stints, how to stop worrying

Oh my gosh! You guys are so young to have had h/a's it seems. I had a horrible panic attack last year, my first and I thought I was having a h/a. I haven't asked my mom about checking into getting something to help with the anxiety. She takes BP meds and other things, she doesn't like taking pills, only what she absolutely has to. I just hate to see her consumed with worry.

 
Old 01-11-2005, 04:17 AM   #8
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Re: After a heart attack and stints, how to stop worrying

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeethan
Oh my gosh! You guys are so young to have had h/a's it seems..
Part was family history, part was a terrible diet (we are talking a Wendy's triple for dinner, with 2 extra slices of cheese, minus the bread, fries, spicy chicken sandwich, biggie sized mountain dew). That was one example of my typical dinner. Sometimes it was two double quarter pounders with cheese, large fries...you get the picture. The final parts of this equation is that I was sedentary to the level where a boat anchor might see more activity (my typical day, get up, shower, go to work at a computer, come home, eat dinner, sit at a computer, go to bed, repeat--my weekends, the same, just don't go to work and sit at a computer. Lastly, I chewed tobacco.

Anyway, that seems like another life(style) ago. I no longer do any of those. I run daily, compete in 5K and 10K races, bicycle almost daily for 30+ min at 200-220W (another cardio exercise, yes, I am obsessed now).

I am happier now, than I have been since about age 16, which was when I weighed a bit more than I do now and still played sports. I feel healthier now (endurance) than I ever did, including when I was young. Finally, I am less anxious now than I ever was--and it has nothing to do with my more recent love of the consumption of red wine

 
Old 01-11-2005, 06:44 AM   #9
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Re: After a heart attack and stints, how to stop worrying

Just a practical mattter:
When I had my stent installed, they asked if I'd join a testing protocol involving daily Nexium (an acid receptor blocker...proton pump inhibitor.) The reason was my cardiologist was chief of an upcoming study to determine if controlling heartburn after heart work would diminish the E/R panic visits of those experience chest pain.

It seems like a good idea to me especially if someone is prone to heartburn. At worst the daily Nexium, Prilosec, or Acephex (or even the old Zantac or Tagamet)is unnecessary but worth taking if even ONE ambulance/ER/ECG/hospital stay is avoided per patient, or even per dozen patients.

There is nothing worse than the nagging question: "Is this indigestion I'm suffering or is it IMMINENT DEATH?"

The acid blocker may become standard practice in a few years.

Last edited by Lenin; 01-11-2005 at 06:47 AM.

 
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