THIS MONTH’S PROFESSIONALS

Dr. Latonya Law

Dr. Latonya Law

Family Nurse Practitioner

Dr. Latonya Law is a Family Nurse Practitioner, board certified by the American Academy of Nurse Credentialing Center (AANCC) and licensed by the state of Georgia. She is devoted to the advancement of medicine and contributes by holding memberships to the American Nurses Association, Black Nurses Rock, and Georgia Nurses Association.

Tessa Messinger

Tessa Messinger

Critical Care and Clinical Research

Tessa Messinger Tessa Messinger is an experienced RN whose body of work includes bedside Cardiac ICU nursing, and coordination of patients in cardiovascular trials. She has worked extensively with a multidisciplinary team for management of TAVR and Mitra-Clip patients. Tessa currently works for the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) as a Remote Clinical Practice Specialist, Nurse Peer Reviewer.

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This Month’s Questions & Answers

  • mustang29
    mustang29, SUPPORT NETWORK Member Asks
    Q.

    "I had a heart attack in January 2019 and for the last several weeks have developed a lot of anxiety to the point some days I don't feel that I should leave my house. Is this normal and what can I do to get rid of these feelings?"

    A.

    Nearly everyone goes through a period of heightened fear following a heart attack. About 15-20% of survivors will develop anxiety that is severe enough to meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder. If you are finding yourself so gripped with fear that you can’t leave the house—or are so preoccupied with worrying about another heart attack that you can’t concentrate on anything else--then I recommend you meet with your primary care provider to be assessed for an anxiety disorder. We have excellent treatments, including psychotherapy and medications, to reduce anxiety symptoms and restore some sense of safety. That may be a crucial step for you to get back to enjoying living once again.—Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., AHA volunteer and co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers

  • joetwentytoo
    joetwentytoo, SUPPORT NETWORK Member Asks
    Q.

    "i have CHF and have a very hard time sleeping, mostly in a chair so i can breath ... and tip or ideas how to make sleeping easier"

    A.

    For some heart failure patients sleeping in a chair is their new way of life, for others it is a sign that they are in a fluid overloaded state. I would first talk with your heart failure specialist to ensure that you are on the correct medication regimen and not fluid overloaded. Other signs of fluid overload can include shortness of breath, especially at rest, ankle or foot swelling, and weight gain.
    As far as making sleeping easier, have you tried multiple pillows in bed to mimic the same position as the chair, but allow you to roll side to side? Or possibly an adjustable bedframe that would allow you to elevate your head and remain in bed? If you’re backside is getting sore from the pressure I would try an egg crate mattress or foam pad to relieve some of the pressure.
    I hope that you’re able to find a more comfortable way to rest.
    Be well, Tessa

  • lmiller33
    lmiller33, SUPPORT NETWORK Member Asks
    Q.

    "I had 2 stents in my LAD 5 days ago and have intermittent pain in different areas of my chest. I then get anxious and afraid which causes my chest to tighten up. My Dr said to be prepared for twinges of pain in my chest but I just wanted to ask how long this last and if thinking I am having a heart attack is normal after having stents put in. Thank you"

    A.

    Post-procedure chest pain can occur following stent placement. For some it lasts a few days, for other it continues on for much longer. If your cardiologist warned you of the possibility, he knows what is going on with your anatomy and why you’re experiencing it. If the pain lasts longer than a few minutes, becomes severe in nature, or is accompanied by other symptoms such as shortness of breath, arm or jaw pain, or dizziness, you should seek immediate medical attention. Otherwise stay on your medical regimen and follow up with your cardiologist. If your pain is related to small vessels there may be medication to give you long term relief. If you feel that your pain may be made worse by your feelings of anxiety, speak with a healthcare professional about counseling or medication to ease your worry.
    Be well, Tessa

  • kathy11
    kathy11, SUPPORT NETWORK Member Asks
    Q.

    "I had an MI 6 weeks ago with 2 stents. I am 54 years old. Havee DM and high Cholesterol. Initially, I felt great now have terrible and anxiety and insomnia. Take Xanax and Cymbalta. Is this normal to feel so anxious and depressed post MI"

    A.

    Unfortunately, it is not unusual. About 15-20% of people who’ve had an MI or heart surgery will suffer from depression and/or anxiety afterwards. The good news is that we have effective treatments for both. Medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, can help with the physical symptoms of depression/anxiety, including insomnia and low energy. Psychotherapy can help with the fears of dying and post-traumatic stress symptoms that often occur following an MI. Please talk with your primary care providers about evaluating you for both types of treatments. I feel sure that you will be feeling better soon.—Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., AHA volunteer, co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers

  • donna1929
    donna1929, SUPPORT NETWORK Member Asks
    Q.

    "They found a hole in my heart after I had a stroke. They want to repair it by going through my groin. Is this dangerous?"

    A.

    ASD is Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) which is also known as a hole between the chambers of your heart. The treatment for this defect and after multiple testing is inserting a fine tube into a vein in your groin. This catheter is then passed to your heart. Inside the catheter there is a tiny balloon that the team will use to measure the exact size of the hole so that they can choose the best device to close. With all procedures, there are risks and each risk will depend on the person and their medical history. You would definitely want to follow up with your provider regarding any concerns and discuss risks factors that could be narrowed down to you and your medical history. Thank you, Dr. Latonya Law

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