Heart Attack and CVD
I recently had an embarrassing medical situation. I had a heart attack the day before Thanksgiving 2016. It was embarrassing because I was a vegetarian since 1971 and thought I had a very healthy diet. I also am very active, taking martial arts classes and teaching martial arts and self-defense classes. One would think I was immunce to cardiovascular disease (CVD). I certainly thought so. I also don't like to talk about my personal life to the public but I have learned a lot and want to pass it on. It can save your life.
On the day before Thanksgiving I had problems sleeping. It wasn't much. I just had some shoulder discomfort. I didn't have radiating pain and I didn't have problems breathing. No pressure on my chest. I just couldn't get my arm in the right position for it to be comfortable. On a scale of one to 10, my pain was less than one.
As I mention on the website under "Know Your Pain," I was very aware of my various aches and pains. I knew what to look out for. I was mainly watching for the type of pain that indicates that I was hurting a tendon, had a muscle tear, or something on that order due to my practices. If I injure myself in my training, I can be put out of commission for weeks or even months. But this pain wasn't the sharp, ripping pain that I have had with my rotator cuff and various and sundry other body parts. I had been doing some punching drills that evening so maybe I pulled a muscle. I poked around but there was no tender spot. I got up and, since I take my blood pressure every morning, I decided to take it right then. It was high. It was extremely high for me since mine is usually very low - in the double digits. So should I go to the ER? I didn't want to be a hypochondriac but after debating a while with myself, I drove to the ER anyway - all the way thinking I was being stupid.
In the ER, after some blood tests, x-rays, and EKG, the doctor happily reported that I was NOT a hypochondriac. Instead I probably had a heart attack. Ambulance to the hospital. I was taken in for a cardiac catheterization and was told, when I was kind of back and barely in charge of my senses, that he inserted a stent in my coronary artery. It sunk in later when whatever they gave me wore off.
So the message here is that we should be very aware of our bodies and we should probably be taking better care of them than we currently do. I will be writing more about what I have found out in the web pages. I'll just give the results here.
I spent a night in the hospital in order for them to monitor me and go through the formalities. I never felt bad or dizzy. I was just bored (I'm not a TV watcher). When I was released they told me to go back to my normal activities but that I would bruise more easily when I get hit (I do!). It's hard to believe this happened to me. Not being able to sleep because I coulnd't get my arm in the right position is a pretty weak sign. And that discomfort was a bad as it got.
Another result is that I needed to make some changes. One of them is that I am now a vegan. Later I'll tell you why that is healthier.
A few days later I received a call from the cardiac rehab center. They wanted me to come in for an assessment and to talk to me about exercise. Give me a break! I exercise every day of the week, often for multiple hours at a time! But I went. And am still going. It is a fantastic program of both exercise and classes. I have learned a lot about the heart and CVD. Everyone should be aware of how to manage it and, more importantly, how to prevent it. I will be writing more on all of these topics on the web pages.