When the Cardiologist says you have heart disease — part-2

So angiogram was in my immediate future. I’m told this is a safe and relatively painless procedure and not to worry. There were plenty of things to worry about however. They don’t want to shove a camera up through my body and into my heart because of no reason. Still, an angiogram is an outpatient procedure where the cardiologist opens an artery in your leg and works a camera into the heart muscle arteries. It sounds a lot worse than it is but the benefit is that you know exactly what the status of your heart and arteries are at that point in time. So I’m ready!

At least this will finally answer how serious a problem, if any, I truly had. The Cardiologist however must have been concerned because he scheduled the angiogram 4 days later.

On the day of this adventure, I checked into the Cardiology center at a local hospital and prepared to undergo the angiogram. An IV was inserted and I was ready to go. Once in the angiogram theater, I was given sedatives that although kept me conscious, there was no pain, nor did I hear anyone working as they sent through me to check out the problem. When the nurses and technicians talked directly to me in a loud enough voice however, I was able to respond.

The good thing about an angiogram is that if blockages are found, the cardiologist can usually place metal stents or pipe like devices in the arteries to maintain blood flow if needed. This is a far cry from the open heart, crack your chest type of surgery that would have been required just a few years ago. After about an hour, the doctor apparently lowered the dosage of sedative as I remember him giving me a status on my condition.

The Verdict!
The bad news was that I did have calcium deposits on the inside walls of my arteries. This was what they had seen with the other tests. The good news however was that my arteries or pipes were absolutely smooth on the inside and were considered very large. Big pipes with a thin smooth coating of calcium equaled a potential problem only.

Being a big person from a family of big people for many generations, the fact that my arteries were considered `big` didn’t surprise me. I can’t prove it but have to think that the vitamins and minerals I’ve been taking for over a decade have protected me from developing a life threatening heart disease at this point in my life. The cardiologist however continued to be concerned for long term survivability given the high calcium scores from the blood tests.

Where we go from here!
So it’s changes in lifestyle for me. I’ve gone from a relatively sedentary person to one who rides an exercise bike almost 7 miles a day, everyday. I continue although now on doctors orders, to take an adult aspirin daily and have changed my eating habits. It’s a process so there’s some good days and some worse but I’m now sensitive to how much and what I eat. Although my bad cholesterol is at 90 (anything under 110 is considered good) the Cardiologist has prescribed statins to lower the bad cholesterol even more. Once again I can’t prove it but I do believe that statins will soon be considered a critical part of living a long healthy life.

So that’s my story. Exercise and an aspirin a day to thin out the blood. Statins to lower bad cholesterol even more and daily vitamins just because I’ve done so well with them up to this point. With any luck, I’ll live long without having to deal with the debilitating effects of serious heart disease.


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