I went to the new cardiologist last Tuesday. It was a good day. Even though I didn't like some of the things he had to say, I understood the explanations.
We talked about the cholesterol lowering medication. What I wanted to know is if my total cholesterol was at 134 when I had my heart attack, why am I taking it? I have now gone totally plant based, whole grain which also lowers cholesterol. He explained to me that once you have had a heart attack, none of the numbers you read really pertain to you. Once you've had a heart attack, there is no such thing as cholesterol that is too low.
We talked about the anatomy of most heart attacks. Most heart attacks are not caused by a gradual blockage of the artery rather they are caused by a small plaque build up. The plaque in the build up ruptures and the blood rushes to clot the rupture which results in a complete blockage causing a heart attack. There are other causes of heart attacks, but this is what they think caused mine. He explained that the cholesterol lowering medication not only prevents further build up (as does the way of eating I now follow), but it also makes any existing plaque build up more stable. All of this being said, he told me I didn't have to take the medicine, but if he is me, he takes it. Armed with the knowledge that I need, I can now comfortably make an educated decision. I am going to have my liver function tested to make sure it is doing no damage and if it is not I have decided to continue taking it.
We discussed the fact that I am having heart palpitations and some tightness in my chest. Every pain I feel is concerning to me. We are running tests on Wednesday to check these things out--nuclear medicine stress test, echocardiogram and holter monitor. He said at this point the stress test and echo would be standard for someone post heart attack. The holter monitor is to check out the heart palpitations. There is a 95% chance I have always had them and only now notice them because I am so in tune with what goes on in my chest. Hopefully, that is what we find out.
On the bright side, the doctor likes the diet I am following. I wish I could educate those around me about my diet better. One of the guys at work asked me if I am still eating that "rabbit food". He also asked if there is just medicine I could take. Basically he can't understand why I am so intent on living a healthy when I could just take medicine. He clearly doesn't get it--being heart attack free is a complete lifestyle change which I excel at most days. There are a few that sneak in that are not as healthy as others, but I don't stress over that as long as they stay in the very few.