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I'm 37 years old and had a heart attack 2 weeks ago. Im scared and dont exactly understand whats going on. They said that the right artery was 100% blocked and that there is now a stent in my heart. Im trying to quit smoking but nothing is helping. I can't afford the gum or pouches. They want me to change everything that i have ever eaten and i am so scared because I haven't been through anything like this. If anyone is able to give me advice on any of this i would very much appreciate the help and support
AHAASAKatie, July 28, 2020 8:49am EST
Good morning, this is such a huge transition time for you I can understand why you are scared and anxious. I can share what we have on life after a heart attack, smoking cessation and a healthy lifestyle. I also look forward to reading what our members have to share as well. Please know that you are not alone. We are here to listen and support as you need us. Best Katie
steveSD, July 28, 2020 1:37pm EST
Jmcdowell, I'm afraid I'm not much help as far as the smoking but I was 46 when I had a heart attack. The doctors at the ER told me that it had probably been going on for over a week so I was lucky my fiancee convinced me to go to urgent care that day. I was pretty freaked out as I'd been very athletic in my 20s and 30s and just slacked off later as life got busy. Most of the people here express a great deal of anxiety in the early stages post HA. I didn't even find this site until 9 months later so you're somewhat ahead in terms of supportive folks to "listen". I saw a dietician and she said rather than focusing on what you can't eat try to eat more of the healthy foods. More leafy greens, and high fiber foods. The more fiber, the better. That's why everyone recommends beans/legumes. I have type 2 diabetes as well. I eat nuts throughout the day and olives when I can to increase my HDL cholesterol. Walking or riding my bike 30 minutes nearly every day keeps things in check too.
Cardiac rehab was the best place to get started. Everyone said to go totally plant based but I still eat meat, I just eat a bit less red meat and try to get grass-fed when I can. I have cut back on sugar, alcohol, junk food, and processed foods. It's not easy but when I'm thinking about my food choices a little voice in the back of my head reminds me of being in the hospital and all of the pain and worry after and it makes it easier to choose better and skip the craving. It was hard for a while and then I got to where I could have just a little indulgence and stop without going off my plan. It is defnitely doable. The best advice I got was to make smaller changes and not be too ******* myself. I got a calendar and when I do something physical for 20 minutes I check it off even if it wasn't a lot because something is better than nothing and over time my fitness and health have improved. Consistency is the goal, not perfection. I'm 3 1/2 years out now and working through a bit of a bump this year with Covid stress and gyms being closed but overall doing well and we'll get through it.
Good luck and be well. - Steve
EMON1, July 28, 2020 5:11pm EST
About the smoking ... I'm about 1 1/2 yrs out, LAD, 3 stents. I smoked 1 to 1 1/2 packs a day for 35+ years. Bottom line, there are are no 'tricks' to quitting.I had my last smoke right before my HA. YOU have to decide to JUST STOP! It's not always 'easy', but researching that my chances of another HA within a year were at least 50% if I continued to smoke, was enough motivation for me. I won't lie, even now cravings come and go, but it does get better. [Trust me on this, I REALLY enjoyed smoking. I researched the heck out of 'somehow' even smoking ONE cigarette a week. No dice, [even if you could and you can't smoke ONLY one], statistically the damage done is still tremendous. You have to put it in your head that you can NEVER smoke another cig again! [Nicotine replacement is actually a relatively small, short lived part of the addiction, it's all the associated ways you've integrated smoking in your everyday life that makes the HABIT hard to quit]
I know how it goes, no one, no how, can MAKE YOU QUIT. YOU'VE got make that INTELLECTUAL, not emotional, choice yourself. [Cold turkey is the only way, playing games just prolongs the agony, and often fails]
Dayogls, July 29, 2020 5:07pm EST
Hello, I had my HA 9months ago at the age of 27. I was angry and anxious all the time, I was also very depressed. I saw people who did everything I did and worse and they never got sick. Then the depression came when I read an article saying people like me only had 5 years of life left. My cardiologist said that wasn't true and with the right treatment as well as diet and exercise I could have a long happy life.
The diet change has been the hardest for me, but I always just think about being in the hospital away from my kids to keep me on track.
It'll take time before you can feel.somewhat normal again. I suggest talking to a therapist or even just family and friends.
As for the smoking I think what the person before me said its true, you gotta do it cold turkey its going to suck but sadly if you don't want to have another HA you have to quit
I hope you feel better and find the rhythm and routine that works for you
fugie666, August 1, 2020 2:29pm EST
The main thing that helped me quit smoking was going for walks. If i started having having nic fits I would go for a walk. After 2 weeks I was good
Raymanoppo, August 3, 2020 1:30am EST
Welcome to the family! We didn't chose this family but we are here therefore embrace every post, experience, and suggestions from all these wonderful people!
I was about 38yrs. old when I had my HA one stent in my LAD... Going on 3 years now, first year was the toughest I didn't start feeling normal, or like myself until the second year!! Lots and lots of adjustment and realization, and acceptance my friend. Here's the good news you made it! Although life style changes must happen if you care to experience more in this lifetime there are actually some great benefits that comes with the recommended lifestyle changes. Just remember time WILL HEAL!! It gets bettter buddy...
So in terms of diet and exercise, the positive is pretty self explanatory. You will improve in all facet of your life when you start to turn these two subjects of your life. For instance when you start to exercise routinely and eat the recommended plant based diet you will experience more energy, improved sex life, and you will feel better overall...
But your going to have to make the changes, quitting smoking is not easy I too was a smoker for 20 plus years and quit 2 yrs prior to my HA but it did take me a couple of years to quit so I understand the difficulty trust me I was there as well...
Reach out if you need support, this group helped me tremendously during my recovery and as you can see I'm still on here almost 3 years later!!