After my heart attack, I knew I had to make lifestyle changes.
On December 29th, 2018 I became a statistic.
I was one of about 805,000 people who have a heart attack in a year.
I am now one of the 18,200,000 people living with Coronary Artery Disease.
(Read more stats at the CDC.)
I decided not to let my heart attack become my demise nor be dependent on medicines, so I immediately began a quest to turn my health around. Friends, family, and friends of theirs frequently contact me wanting to know more about how I went from being a no exercising, smoking, poor eating, sugarholic to an athletic, nicotine-free, lean, clean eating “machine.” This site is a compilation of things that I’ve learned and have implemented in my lifestyle change to recover from my heart attack.
I’m Jerome Cloninger and welcome to My Healthy Page!
A brief overview of my heart attack story.
Prior to my heart attack, I ate whatever I wanted because I wasn’t overweight and I was never diagnosed with anything bad. I LOVED (actually was addicted to) sugar even more than cigarettes. Oh, did I love sugar! I never really exercised in my adult life. You could say my daily exercise was going up and downstairs to go outside to smoke. The day after we returned from a trip, I broke out in a sweat, had tunnel vision. My jaws hurt and were cramping. My left arm was feeling odd, then my left fingertips went numb, and my breathing was fast and shallow. While I was reading the symptoms, I had one quick sharp pain in my chest that felt like what I’d imagine if someone had stabbed me with a knife. I talked to my Dad and he made me call 911.
The EMS crew showed up, and I ended up riding in the ambulance to the hospital. They were going to keep me overnight and had a stress test scheduled for the morning. My troponin levels kept increasing, so it was a confirmed heart attack at only 43 years old! They gave me a stent and I realized I had two choices. I chose the one to make a healthy lifestyle change to recover from this heart attack.
I found out that the body can remarkably heal itself IF provided with what it needs! Even through heart attack recovery! During most of the first year, I continually asked myself what someone could have told me to make me change? The answer is nothing. It took a heart attack to make me change. Quitting smoking was the easiest change!
Changing my diet was, without a doubt, the most difficult change of my heart attack recovery! I started researching the famous named restrictive diets… Vegetarian, KETO, Paleo, Vegan, DASH, Mediterranean, and _______. Every named diet contradicted each other somehow, yet so many people swear by them. I realized that NOT ONE of those named diets promotes added sugars or refined grains, which are simple carbs.
I learned that simple carbs cause the most inflammation. Inflammation is the root cause of most ailments. One of the biggest culprits is sugar! Added sugar is evil! I eat clean and it has been a huge success for me in my heart attack recovery! I learned that cholesterol is NOT THE cause of heart attacks or cardiovascular disease! Oxidative Stress and Chronic Inflammation are the root causes! Read my article about cholesterol for more information.
A couple of weeks after getting home from the hospital I started walking 30 minutes a day. I had to start small with 5-minute walks though. I ended up getting into running and fell in love with running! I’ve run thousands of miles and as of May 2023, have run 36 half marathons! My doctor prescribed overnight oxygen because of snoring and my low score of an overnight pulse ox test. I was able to be removed from that because of my lifestyle changes!
Having a heart attack and starting to recover can be very scary and seem like a daunting task, especially in the beginning! In time, things become easier and as I realized numerous things getting better, everything else got better and easier! It sounds odd, but my heart attack gave me a better life! Be sure to check out my heart attack recovery story.