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Mid-40s DP heart attack recovery. Advice warmly welcomed please.

(17 Posts)
HereBeHubbubs Sat 01-Nov-14 11:22:22

My boyfriend went into hospital with a first heart attack a couple of days ago. He's relatively fit and healthy (or so we thought) and isn't overweight, but he does smoke, drinks an average amount I suppose, doesn't do any exercise other than daily out and about domestic duties as mostly works from home, and I thought eats a fairly normal diet.
But his heart attack was due to cholesterol blocking an artery.

He lives alone in his flat, and I'm wondering how best to support his recovery. I have two young children and don't have regular childcare at my disposal, but hope to be able to stay there the first night back at least.

But what I'd like to hear are your views on longer term recovery. For instance is it correct that driving isn't allowed? What about lifting moderately heavy items, other physical exertions, and so on. I know there are info resources online for this, but I always like to get 'real life' advice from MN first blush it makes me feel more reassured that other people are going through the same thing. It's thrown me completely, he's the last person you'd expect this to happen to.

NightieNinja Sat 01-Nov-14 11:31:09

Hello, sorry to hear this but fear not. My DH had exactly same thing last year, he was much unhealthier with food etc, but we did go to gym & fitness. He had a stent fitted on the day of heart attack (Friday), was home by the Sunday, recovery went fine and well, he felt almost normal by the Wednesday, but not allowed to drive for two weeks, then went back to work, there was some massive bruising to thighs because that's where the artery for the stent was entered, he's had regular check ups and was allowed back to gym after 6months. He's now off any check ups etc and has no problems whatsoever.
grin. Best wishes to you all for a speedy recovery.

Thumbscrewswitch Sat 01-Nov-14 11:31:24

Well I wouldn't say the last person you'd expect it to happen to as he does next to no exercise and smokes, they're both quite high on the risk factor list.

He's lucky he survived - a similar-aged husband of a friend died last weekend from a sudden heart attack, leaving 2 young sons of 5 and 2. sad

First off, he needs to stop smoking. Then he needs to look at his diet - I'm not going to suggest he goes low-fat, low cholesterol because that isn't necessarily the right way - but he does need to reduce fried foods and increase vegetable intake, especially red and purple veg and fruit.

He needs to increase his exercise levels. The body produces 80% of its own cholesterol, but the biochemical pathway that produces cholesterol also produces something called coenzyme Q10, which is used by the energy centres of muscle cells, so to drive that biochemical pathway away from cholesterol and towards coenzyme Q10 production, the requirement for CoQ10 needs to increase, and exercise is the best way to do that.

7to25 Sat 01-Nov-14 12:00:25

If he only does one thing, that thing must be to give up smoking. I don't know what his cholesterol is, but he will only be able to affect that by about 10% using diet alone and may be started on a statin. Has his lesion been stented? He will be given help and advise before discharge. He should aim for a life like he had before......minus the smoking. Moderate alcohol is fine.

SouthernOne Sat 01-Nov-14 12:05:00

My husband had a heart attack aged 49. He was a smoker. Five days hooked up to a heart monitor and a stent fitted made him a non smoker!

Two years on he is doing all the things he did before, minus the cigs.

Good luck

whatisforteamum Sat 01-Nov-14 15:06:45

Hi my DH had a heart attack and two stents fitted this time last yr.He is overweight and loves a burger or two and eats what he likes as you "only have one life"!!
He wasnt allowed to drive or a month.he ws given leaflet with advice on what he could do each week.
He returned to work about 8 weeks later.We found the emotional side quite hard as he started to get a bad temper.The GP gave him pills for this.Apparently it is quite normal to fear another HA and he seems more like his old self now

HereBeHubbubs Sat 01-Nov-14 15:06:51

Thankyou so far.
I'll add further developments later about the procedures he had.
He said his cholesterol was somewhere in the nines. Is that significant?

Thumbscrewswitch Sat 01-Nov-14 15:12:35

It is quite high, yes. Especially as they don't like cholesterol to be over 5 these days.

Annarose2014 Sat 01-Nov-14 15:55:04

He lived a sedentary lifestyle
He drinks alcohol
He smokes
He is male

That is four risk factors for a heart attack.

The other two are family history (know anything about his Dad or grandfathers?), and obesity.

The fags need to go pronto, and no more than four pints in any sitting (yes, even at a wedding). But he also needs to exercise. Often male HA patients are encouraged to get a dog - men who have never exercised before find it very difficult to start and feel stupid, but would agree to walking a dog. And of course dogs demand a walk, 365 days a year. It ends up being a lot of exercise per year and can make a very positive difference. It also helps with depression.

HereBeHubbubs Sat 01-Nov-14 16:12:04

Family history, yes. Mother has had HAs, one brother triple bypass, other brother died of HA,..

Thumbscrewswitch Sat 01-Nov-14 16:17:44

Good grief, I'm surprised that he or anyone that knows him is surprised he had a heart attack under those circumstances! shock

AesSedai Sat 01-Nov-14 16:22:57

9 for cholesterol is very very high. They really like it under 5. Mine is around 6.5 and I've had a heart attack and 3 stents.

My main advice is over the smoking - get him an ECig before he gets home. He should be able to make the switch to that if he's been in hospital without ordinary cigarettes.

HereBeHubbubs Sat 01-Nov-14 16:28:25

He has been thinking about the e cigs, yes.

7to25 Sun 02-Nov-14 13:48:50

He needs to be on a statin with such a high cholesterol.
With his family history, any children should be tested for familial hypercholesterolaemia.
For his own health, smoking is by far the biggest thing and if he does nothing else, then he should stop.

whatisforteamum Sun 02-Nov-14 16:46:18

Dh is on 6 tablets per day for his heart as his dad had 2 heart attacks and his Mum died at 44 from one.His medical team will be on top o everything for your DP.They do cardiac rehab lessons too and an exercise programme.Maybe worth him join the British Heart Foundation website for support and online chats to others who have had a heart attack.Good luck with everything.

generousfdudgy Sun 02-Nov-14 17:55:11

I had a heart attack aged 44 in May. The angiogram was clear and initially they diagnosed a Takotsubo cardiomyopathy but there has been some back and forth and the cardiologist I am under thinks it was a run of the mill heart attack. I have had an echo which luckily shows no muscle damage. I am six months or so further down the line from your partner so thought some of my experiences may be helpful. I am now on quite a lot of meds...statin/stuff for BP/blood thinner/aspirin/beta blockers. It took them quite a lot of time to get the balance of meds right which I think is fairly common and meant I had a few overnights in hospital when the side effects gave us cause for alarm (sometimes mimicking the symptoms I had when I had the MI)

I also spent a lot of time worrying about the what ifs and became very anxious and depressed. This is super common after a heart event. It took me approx four months to get my head around it and start making changes...have now taken on a PT/ completely overhauled the family diet and getting the whole household active. My trainer is ex forces and he likens it to post traumatic stress...I am extremely lucky to have got in tow with him as he is focussed on my mental state alongside my physical progression. So watch out for depression...there are people to talk to about cardiac events and its mental toll..but first port of call would be GP to find out what is available in your area.

Watch out for side effects from meds and keep GP informed- as from experience a good relationship with the GP was vital. Mine read up on my situation and was really proactive in getting on to the Cardiologist if she wanted to modify what I was taking. And if he can be open and honest with his GP about how he is feeling then all to the good. Then he needs to follow the advice given...take it easy of course, but not too easy...get out walking to start and listen to his body telling him how much is enough and build up bit by bit.
If he has been prescribed statins, the research now shows that it is best to take them at night. He should have been given a break down of his cholesterol levels....9 is general more likely taken at GPs..at the hospital he should have had info re good/bad cholesterol count. The liver and brain are just a couple of organs that need cholesterol to function..but its GOOD cholesterol they need..think brazil nuts/almonds etc...someone will be more knowledgable than me about this stuff.
For me the difficult bit was getting on with life and I still feel every twinge magnified and am immediately trying to identify the pain and its cause. It's tiring and stressful. Mine happened at night and I am now on a new anti depressant which also helps me sleep as night time had taken on a very sinister quality for me and I was not sleeping. I was so tense my rib cage was vibrating at times. I have peri menopausal stuff going on too so he is better off than me there!!

I remember wishing I had someone to talk to who had experienced similar so if I can help further please PM me xx

HereBeHubbubs Wed 05-Nov-14 12:36:35

Thankyou so far for replies, they have all been very helpful.

The cholesterol count was incorrect it was in the sixes, not nines.

He has completely stopped smoking but since learnt that even e-cigs are oh as the nicotine damages the heart apparently.

I'm amazed at how quickly he's made changes to his diet actually, he's already had two types of oily fish this week for dinner.

The emotional aspect of what happened is starting to rear, as I figured, you lie in hospital for a few days thinking you're getting over the shock and trauma whilst in there, but in fact it hits you once you're back him and into a usual routine. I've joined the British Heart Foundation forums now too because what happened to him, I also have to live with indirectly, and life certainly isn't ever going to be the same again.

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