When you go through a personal situation that you never thought could happen to you, it’s like entering a tunnel where there is never a light at the end of it. Back in 2008 I entered such a tunnel, which would change my life forever.
A tunnel where there was no light, a dreadful nightmare, where I thought there would be no ending.
I was in the States, I had felt unwell with chest pains, stubborn me took no notice, family and friends had said before I had even went to the States, that I had looked ill. Two days after arriving back in London, I collapsed in Oxford Street and was taken to a London Hospital. I was diagnosed with a very bad chest infection, also a very fast heart rate. The hospital wanted to restart my heart, which I did not want to happen. I rang my GP doctor, who asked if I could get a cab home and she would arrange for me to see a specialist at another hospital.
My GP found one of the best specialists in his field in Europe, at Barts Hospital in London. It is the oldest hospital in the City of London, over 900 years old and one of the most advanced hospitals in its field.
I had appointment to see him, he advised that I had Atrial Fibrillation, and put me on medication and assigned an AF nurse to look after me. My chest infection had in the meantime cleared up, through antibiotics. She was not only great but: listened to me and helped my worries during the early stages. This came as a life-changing experience. I was told to cut down or I may not be around to celebrate my 65th birthday. Well I am now 66 and have reached that milestone, “red light did spell danger for me”.
When I was younger there were signs that something was wrong. I use to play tennis at senior level, but always got out of breath. I did not put this down to heart problems and my GP doctor at the time never picked it up, as screening was not widespread.
I had a heart condition for over 30 years, if not longer, with no knowledge of the condition.
The big problem with stress is it is a nebulous concept very hard to define. It is not a direct cause of life styles problems, but can have a great impact on how you live your life, suddenly impacted by events, like death of a spouse, losing ones job or divorce, most certainly contribute to stress and consequently to possible heart problems.
YOU MUST GET YOUR ZZZ’S IN…
It is also a problem with sleep deprivation. I can agree with the fact of having awful sleep patterns, working night shifts when I was younger to jet lag when my mind and body was on the ropes. Oddly enough there is a spike on heart attacks during the early hours of Monday morning. For many people the stress of going to work on the first day of the week. The thing that helps you is Cortisone is a hormones released by the Arenal Gland in response to stress.
Though it depends on age, the statistics have not changed, 10% of all heart attacks below the age of 50, more men in the premature age group, but women catch-up post menopause.
Medication does help me, though it makes me very tired. I have learned and have to relax more, which is not easy, as I am on the go person a lot and I find as much as possible I vary my working day. I try to fit more appointments in the mornings, especially important meetings where possible, l also have acupuncture which slows my system down (in my opinion).
COMPANIES HAVE TO PLAY A ROLE
Companies need to put more into screening programs, early prevention has many advantages, education and culture are important whether you are in Canada, Britain or the USA, saving money long-term and recognizing if employees have problems.
Mediterranean diets are generally preferred, gradual changes. To diet it is important how you implement the change. It takes time. Generally heart problems are about the same in Canada as in Britain, both countries have similar problems.
In countries, which, are growing, for example China, young people are smoking more, and we will see the effects of heart disease in later life, this is down the line.
Regular checks of blood pressure, Cholesterol and screening are sound ways of detecting heart problems.
Bespoke research is being investigated in many areas in cardiac health. Cardiomyopathy and genetic cholesterol genes will look at your potential problems and how you respond to particulate treatments. Bioinformatics an interdisciplinary field that will understand Biological data, height is a factor in AF, I can vouch for this being 6ft. 3in, plus you can have problems with AF and there are cases of people inheriting the condition, more research needs to be done in this area.
A very interesting point life expectancy is slowing and in many cases reversing, people need to look at their life and look at screening and various areas of heart disease, it is to early to say with the reversal of living life longer, will it have an affect.
WHAT TO EAT
Less fat overall, especially the bad stuff.
Fried foods and biscuits.
Saturated red meat, sausages, lard
Polyunsaturated vegetable oil, sunflower oil.
Monounsaturated olive-oil, almonds.
Definitely less sugar
WARNING SIGNS OF
A HEART ATTACK
Shortness of breath
These symptoms don’t always mean you have a heart attack.
Life is all about moderation including diet.
More than 2 million people experience arrhythmias or heart problems alone a year in Britain. Most people with an abnormal heart rhythm can lead a normal life if it is diagnosed.
AF is the most common type, where the heart beats irregularly and faster than normal. It effects all ages but it is more common in older people.
AF is a common cause of strokes. It is the electrical signals getting muddled. Your heart may beat slowly, quickly or irregularly.
From a personal viewpoint I hope my article is helpful, if you feel you have a problem get checked out, don’t be stubborn like me.
Footnote the spa is all for wellness and lifestyle, this is another area of lifestyle living for relaxation.
Is the science of collecting and analyzing complex biological data such as, genetic codes.
Is a general term for diseases of the heart muscles, where the walls of the heart chambers have become stretched, thickened or stiff, this affects the hearts ability to pump blood around the body.
*I am an Ambassador for Barts Circular Charity for Cardiology, to let people know the awareness of heart disease.
The article would not of been possible without the help of Dr. Riyaz Patel, Barts Heart Centre, an expert in the field of heart disease and research.
Also would like to thank Sophy Merrick of Barts Circulate Charity for helping and arranging meetings and also advice.
Written by James Knight