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!
The doctors placed a stent and I realized I had two choices and 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 also 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 2021, have been running a monthly half marathon!
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.