January 20, 2018

Heart Disease


Here’s a free collection of resources about Heart Disease.

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Heart Disease Survey

We’re surveying people about their experiences with Heart Disease. Here will be a collection of their responses.

*This information is not meant to replace medical advice, and the information gathered via surveys may or may not be correct. Hopefully it will be helpful to you!

*Response format = Answer (Name, Age)


**Click here to share your experience with Heart Disease**


Heart Disease Symptoms

What symptoms have you experienced?

  • Breathlessness, chest pain, arm numbness and tingling, fatigue, palpitations, sweating, numb tingling hands, and dizziness. (Elaine, 44 years old)
  • Chest pain and breathlessness. I don’t remember the heart attack. I’d had a bad chest infection which went on and on and after seeming to start getting better, suddenly I took a turn for the worse. I was keeping a diary and suddenly there was a break around the 14th of May, which is roughly the time they think I had it. I believe it’s about then I had the heart attack also adding up the medical records too. Then I struggled to walk around, do anything without chest pain, breathlessness for two months, not being believed, outright neglect, severe cardiac asthma (they told me that was what it was later) when I would turn blue and struggle to breathe so hard it was awful and called neurotic until, along with other reasons, I flew back to Australia (from England where I had been living) to get help. (Jane, 73 years old)

Heart Disease Causes

Is there anything you believe contributed to or caused your Heart Disease?

  • Lots of stress and genetic predisposition. (Elaine, 44 years old)
  • We strongly believe the Broken Heart Syndrome or just plain very severe stress caused it as I’d always had a fantastic vegetarian diet, low cholesterol, no genetics, but I’d had a dreadful shock in what I found in England when I returned, nothing like I had thought, even though I really researched it all before leaving Australia to live back there, honouring a promise to myself made when I was 19 to return to live there one day. It all truly broke my heart, I had lived with that promise for 50 years, I was shaken, devastated. I’m now writing a book about the whole thing, what happened, what I found, how devastating my experience was and what England’s like now. It’s becoming rather political as well as my story of how badly I was treated and yet I was amongst my own kind but they didn’t think I was. They were very racist towards me. (Jane, 73 years old)

Heart Disease Facts

What are some interesting facts about Heart Disease?

  • It isn’t age-specific, symptoms are usually different for women than they are for men before a heart attack. (Elaine, 44 years old)
  • For me, you never get over it. The damage to my heart is just too bad because of the neglect and it’s changed my whole life forever. I find it hard to live with the fact that it needn’t have happened or if it had I could have got early treatment giving me a better chance at my heart healing much more. It’s only got about 70% function now but it was at around 50% at one time so I’m very lucky it’s come up. Also, it was very enlarged for a long time but now it’s finally got down to a normal size which shows it’s been healing, thank goodness. (Jane, 73 years old)

Heart Disease Pain Management

What’s your experience with Heart Disease-related pain and pain relief?

  • I have coronary artery disease/angina. (Elaine, 44 years old)
  • Live with it to a large degree. Now, since having treatment, I do have bouts of severe chest pain so I take a couple of strong painkillers, go to bed and usually, it’s better in the morning. Sometimes I can’t sleep well so I take my blood pressure and pulse. If they aren’t right I get myself checked out. If it continues the only things that help is Endone or oxycontin but I have to go to the hospital and then it’s all the merry go round of tests and things and I’m so sick of it, the mere mention of chest pain and it’s the opposite to at the start, they are like a rash crawling all over me. Not that I’m complaining, they do care here, but sometimes you just want to be normal. (Jane, 73 years old)

Heart Disease Difficulties

What are the hardest aspects of living with Heart Disease?

  • Being unable to enjoy the activities I once did and being tired a lot. (Elaine, 44 years old)
  • Lack of energy and the fact that others just don’t have a clue how difficult it is to live with the massive life changes and don’t want to know you. They don’t want to listen to how hard it is so I never say anything as a rule. (Jane, 73 years old)

Heart Disease Advice

What encouragement/advice can you give others who experience Heart Disease?

  • Don’t give up, it can be managed to a large extent. (Elaine, 44 years old)
  • Go with it. Don’t stress, don’t worry. What it is, there is nothing beyond medical care and maybe changing your lifestyle that you can do and if you just relax and go with it that will help more than anything. Acceptance is the key and the place we go to one day when our time is up, it’s just plain beautiful, wondrous. I’ve been there. (Jane, 73 years old)

Heart Disease Diet and Exercise

What’s been your experience with diet and exercise?

  • I struggle with altering my diet but I am trying. I walk my dogs daily, it isn’t the exercise I used to do but it is something. (Elaine, 44 years old)
  • I can’t exercise anymore, I used to walk a lot, loved it, but it’s all I can do to get to the shops. Even that I often have to do in two stages as I can’t push a big trolley anymore. I used to do ice skating and I also went to easy ballet classes, I was a full-time dancer when I was young, but it’s all had to go leaving me bereft. One of my aims was to be the oldest granny staggering out of a ballet class. My diet is the same as before as it’s always been a heart-healthy diet. (Jane, 73 years old)

Heart Disease Treatments

What’s been your experience with treatments (medication, surgery, etc.)?

  • I take atorvastatin for my high cholesterol, isosorbide, and Tildiem for my angina and clopidogrel to thin my blood. I had a treadmill stress test 8 years ago that showed my angina, and an angiogram two years ago, which showed a blockage in my coronary artery. Medication helps somewhat. (Elaine, 44 years old)
  • Initially dreadful when they wouldn’t believe me but within hours of landing back here in OZ I was rushed to the hospital and they were wonderful, they couldn’t have been better. It made a dreadful time so much easier and the nurses and I laughed a lot and were so kind to me, without that I would have been terrified about the upcoming surgery. I had gone into deep shock about how bad it was, I had to have a stent immediately, they were amazed I had survived the long haul flight, then I was in ICU for a week to stabilize me until surgery to repair my mitral valve and a bypass. I went “home” but I got complications and had to be rushed very quickly to another hospital. In there it was dreadful. I felt hopeless. I have sick sinus rhythm and because it was already touchy I got a lot of arrhythmias. But I always knew somehow I would live through it although I know at times they weren’t sure I would. I overheard some things and other indicators. Fortunately, I’m not one to panic or get fed up. There is the talk of having to have another valve repair, I don’t think I can go through it because of that second hospital and then a convalescent one. The first they were wonderful, the others they were dreadful to me. If it was my sick sinus rhythm causing the arrhythmia I would get it again and I wouldn’t call an ambulance another time whizzing through the traffic in a great hurry into resus, I would let myself die at home. I’ve had enough. And yet I have so many things to do still I can’t bear the thought of leaving just yet, I’ll know when my time has come and I’ll be happy about it but it’s not yet. I’m not a bible basher but I know God will let me know when it’s time. I had a brilliant, marvelous, blissful spiritual experience in the countryside just before leaving England and I was told I could die there and then or go on and do some things. It was my choice. I chose to stay and do them. That’s how I knew I would live. I’ve heard of other people having very similar experiences so I’m not the only one. And a strange thing, I had not been told this by anyone here, but that day I just “knew” I was on the edge of dropping dead. I didn’t think of it anymore after that day and when they told me here after arrival, which was only days later, I was literally ready to drop dead any minute I was stunned, shocked to the core. I even had to check behind me in case they were talking to someone else! lol, But then I knew for sure God was with me and I would live through it all. I still have that feeling, I’ll know when it’s time and it’s not yet. When I feel desperate something always comes along to help me pick myself up as if God given. Oh, this is so strange I don’t normally talk like this. I’m an activist and writer now, I did it a bit before, but now it’s really full time, that’s what I was saved for, not for me and my personal life, but to change the world for the better if I can. I just get frustrated at times I can’t do more as I can never fly again or anything like that, go on protests, operations only if lifesaving and so it goes on. I’ve been told I should live nearer a major hospital too. But I had to get out of that “friend’s” house quickly and this was the only place I could get that quickly. I will move back to the city when I can. I’m in the hills now. That’s added to my loneliness. It was a shocking time for it all to happen, I had the heart attack when my house was on the market in England and I just grabbed the first interested buyer, losing a lot of money on it so I could get out. The other strange thing is I kept getting the month “July” put into my head from the beginning of the year, 2015, before the heart attack, I knew I had to be out of the country by then but I didn’t know why. I managed to fly out on the 16th July and then was told on the 18th here I had no more than days, maybe a week or two, left to live without medical help. It’s all so weird. Once I decided to live on the Downs and told God I would do the things He said I should, I’d had the choice with no retribution if I didn’t stay and do the work, I “knew” I wouldn’t die, and then once the house was sold and I could get out the word “July” went from my head. It was so strong I even had contingency plans sorted out to get out by that time if it didn’t sell, it was just so strong. Honestly I sound batty telling you this. But it’s all true, it really happened. Apparently most people with my problems die suddenly on a plane. In ICU a doctor said to me one day “I just can’t understand how you didn’t die on that plane, Jane, you should have done. All I can say is it wasn’t your time”. I laid there and said nothing knowing why I hadn’t but I couldn’t say anything, they really would have thought I was dotty and probably would have ended up in the dementia ward! LOL I went to the op even all cheerful as though it was nothing, laughing and happy. I just don’t get it and yet it happened to me and I was about to have that surgery. Sorry to have prattled but it was such an important part of the whole thing. I wish everyone could experience it, it made it so much easier. I’ve been very lucky there. Now it’s back to fairly normal life but I work from the time I get up to going to bed on activism and writing with the odd break because I’m sick or housework has to be struggled through. I can’t imagine doing anything else now. (Jane, 73 years old)

Heart Disease Recommendations

Anything you’d recommend for someone with Heart Disease?

  • Don’t feel like it will never get better, it can. Try to do even the smallest amount of exercise. Cut out unhealthy foods that raise your cholesterol, e.g. Red meat, eggs, cheese, greasy fried foods, sugary foods. All are ok very occasionally. (Elaine, 44 years old)
  • Try not to panic it will make things worse. Relax as much as possible and go with it for once you are in the care of good doctors they will get you through. Don’t let people get you down if they don’t believe you are truly sick because it doesn’t show, you know how you are feeling and they are just darned lucky to not have had the same. I’ve found people very rude about my disability permit and going in there, some dreadful because I “look” all right. That’s hard because you so wish you weren’t entitled to it. (Jane, 73 years old)

Heart Disease Resources

What specific resources have you found most helpful?

  • Support groups and speaking to others. (Elaine, 44 years old)
  • There have been none. No one cared, no one helped and yet I had no home of my own, I was staying with a friend and she didn’t want me back and kept trying to talk me into going into a home. It was a horrendous, stressful time. I don’t know how I didn’t die from the stress at such a time as that. I know it was hard for her but it was worse for me. And I was only there for around 4 weeks, the 3 months not being able to drive period was mostly spent in the hospital, over 2 months in there, and I got into the first rented place I could find to get some peace and have my own home. Our friendship, after 15 years and me supporting her through lots of illness, has broken up. She doesn’t want to know me, she treated me like I did it deliberately. I had no idea I was so sick, I was stunned when they told me, shocked to the core. I had emailed my son from England but he wouldn’t even answer me, I begged, pleaded with him for support as I didn’t feel well but didn’t know what it was, but nothing. (Jane, 73 years old)

Heart Disease Stories

Share an experience you’ve had related to living with Heart Disease.

  • I complained of heart-related pain for 7 years to my GP before I was sent to a cardiologist, my GP thought I was having panic attacks due to the fact I had mental health problems and no one would take me seriously, and I have been discharged 4 times since, despite still having symptoms. (Elaine, 44 years old)
  • The battle to keep doing the same things I did before, I don’t want to give in to it and I’ve found that really hard, and the lack of friends now. I’m so lonely I could weep sometimes and yet I don’t complain about it at all. I’m very sick again and they are trying to find out what’s wrong but I haven’t told anyone. I’ve also had breast cancer just 9 months ago, 2 years after the heart surgery. No one came near me or cared whatsoever, not even my son. I’ve just found out that the doctor treating me in the convalescent hospital had it clearly said in a report that it looked like I had breast cancer in a scan and recommended an immediate mammogram and other tests. This was in August 2015. He didn’t take any notice and it stayed there for another 2 years until my old GP found it whilst doing a lung scan. Another case of sheer negligence from the medical profession. I feel like they are trying to kill me off sometimes and they have nearly succeeded. I don’t trust doctors anymore, I’ve had terrible trouble with so many of them, outright rudeness and neglect with the odd good one. For a long time, I didn’t go near one because I’d had enough so I just put up with symptoms and things and pretended I was OK until I went back to my old GP who saw I was so breathless. It was then he found cancer. But I have to drive so far to see him. And another dr. whom I’ve known for years for counseling. Without him I could not have got through, he’s more a friend now. Without that lovely man, I think I would have ended it all, it’s felt so desperate at times. (Jane, 73 years old)