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JTF207, January 16,  2020  4:49pm EST

Seeking Advice and/or Additional Testing Recommendations

First time poster,

Quick Background: 38y/o male, athletic, non-smoker, not diabetic, normal weight/BMI, had a NSTEMI HA in September 2019, and a stent placed over a 75% blockage, with 2 other 30% blockages remaining. My only significant indicator was elevated cholesterol/genetics (learned after the fact).

Since then I have been consistent with meds (BP meds, Plavix, statin, aspirin), cardiac rehab 3x per week, and adopted a plant-based / mediterranean-ish diet (basically plant based but still fish 2x per week; chicken 1x per week; no dairy; low saturated fat) (I was Paleo prior).

I have hit every benchmark I was supposed to: METs in Rehab, passed a regular stress test (@ 14min); total cholesterol went from 203 to 86; LDL went from 136 to 46.

YET, I still get chest discomfort, still have numerous days I don’t feel well, other various symptoms, etc. Each time I have gone back to the cardiologist he says my EKG is normal, and that based on my stress test there is a low percentage of any blockage, nurses in cardiac rehab still say everything is fine.

Is there something I am missing? Another type of blood test? Should I seek a nuclear stress test? It is hard to know what to do especially when my HA seemed pretty mild, my only symptom was chest pain and lightheaded and I tried to “sleep it off”. Any recommended testing or advice is greatly appreciated!

6 Replies
  • homeisnh5
    homeisnh5, January 16,  2020  4:57pm EST

    Hi JTF207,

    I have a similar case; 37 y/o male, non-smoker, not diabetic, but overweight. STEMI HA in October 2019. Two stents across LAD and RCA. Significant indicator was chorlestorol/family history as well.

    I have similar occasional symptoms. Chest discomfort that seems to be associated with cold ambient temperature, or stressful/anxious moments. Similar to you, looking for additional diagnostic routes to learn if there is something else going on.

    Hope some others will share on this thread to see what we can learn.


  • Raymanoppo
    Raymanoppo, January 17,  2020  1:17am EST

    JTF207 - 

    Your situation is similar than mine it's actually pretty scary... I too was 38/male when I had my HA 99% blockage in my LAD.  

    I'm two years out and by Gods grace everythig is beginning to feel normal.  I do remember the first year being the toughest year, every chest sensation got me all worked up!  I went back to get a stress test and I was always contact my cardiologist for every little thing..

     There's a saying that time heals everything, this is true when you experience a HA as well... It looks like your doing everything that your suppose to be doing to take care of the condition, I remember being scared to eat anything for a the first year I lost so much weight at that time because I barely ate. But that's my encouragement!! It will get better you will get stronger and those feelings will go away.

    most of it is the prescriptions that your taking your body is getting used to it! Good luck buddy it will get better!



  • AHAASAKatie
    AHAASAKatie, January 17,  2020  10:20am EST

    We are so glad that you are here and we are able to support you! You have been through a great deal, both emotionally and physically and it may take time for things to settle down for you. Some of our members have found success in talking to a therapist or counselor. Is this something that might benefit you? 

    Please know that recovery does take a long time and that we are here for you. 

    Best Katie

  • JB1977
    JB1977, January 17,  2020  5:22pm EST

    Hey there,

    My HA was the widow maker on 9/11/19 and  it took months for me to settle down with my meds. Alots of adjusment was needed, not to mention my aniexty I have about all that happened. Im 42 when my HA occured. Really not sure about testing but I would like to know as I didnt have warning signs what fo ever. GOOD LUCK!

  • vancet
    vancet, January 19,  2020  2:39am EST

    I was 43 when my HA hit.  My numbers were normal pre-HA.  I used to run track and do half marathons/10 km road races until work got so busy I lost the energy to go train but I tried to stay active with my step counts etc.  I thought I was eating healthy too with lots of raw veggies and fruits.

    Anyhow, I also got hit with the unexpected STEMI June last year and I was pretty blocked in 3 so ended up with 3 stents and they found significant blockages in the other arteries but I got a massive daily dose of lipitor to put that under control.  

    I have been to the ER twice in the past month for chest pains and just massive exhaustion.  I was progressing very well with the cardiac rehab prior to that relapse.  As expected,  I passed all tests with flying colors and did very well with the stress test at 13 minutes and they found nothing even with the Holter even when I identified times when I had the chest pain sensations.  

    For those that have the chest pains, what would you rate it out of 10?  Mine is more a 2 or 3.  When I had the HA I rated it an 8.5 so the angina is nowhere near as severe. So yeah, unfortunately I have nothing to add other than this is normal and it is supposed to go away eventually.  I'm hoping it subsides immediately once I'm taken off some of the meds. So all we can do is hang in there and note when it happens and to get it escalated when it becomes unbearable unfortunately.  As Katie said, some of this might be mental/emotional so learning and practicing mindfulness should help us.  .  Good luck.

  • JTF207
    JTF207, January 21,  2020  11:14am EST

    All - Thank you for the responses, the info has been helpful & uplifting

    Raymanoppo - Thanks for the timeline; my cardiac rehab nurse told me the other day it could take 6mo to a year to feel normal, first time I ever heard these timelines, something you think they would tell you early on.

    vancet - I think being a former athlete/active adds a challenge to all this. Like you I was very active; I use to cycle, run, swim, etc. In recent years less cycling but using concept2 machines. So the idea of pain is skewed when you are used to running with a sprain, or cycling after a crash, or rowing with a sore back.  When I went to the ER I told them the pain was a 6, nowadays it’s more like a discomfort/sensation that I would rate as a 1 or 2 max. Keep in touch and let me know if you find any beneficial exercises or routines. I think I have found out that shoulder presses cause upper chest discomfort at this moment; pulling exercises like rows, rowing, curls, etc. all seem ok.

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