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Heart Disease?

  • 1.  Heart Disease?

    Posted 04-18-2020 09:01
    I know there are "no stupid questions", but how about a simple one.  As we hear over and over, persons with heart disease, diabetes, pulmonary issues, etc are at highest risk for the most serious impact of coronavirus. I did not have a heart attack, but after experiencing shortness of breath and treadmill test, doctors discovered 4 arteries blocked 97% percent. Thus, I had open heart surgery in May 2016. My recovery was unbelievably fast and no setbacks since.

    So, my question: Do I have "heart disease"?


  • 2.  RE: Heart Disease?

    Posted 04-18-2020 11:31
    Don, as a former Hoosier and survivor of a 5X CABG 19 years ago, I can promise you that you do and will forever more have heart disease.  Like mine, yours is likely genetic.
    I like you, I feel fine, but if we get into the hospital in a compromised position, the medical teams would classify us as at risk.
    Hope this helps. But keep in mind that morality rates for the Covid 19 are about the same as going through heart surgery- 1%.
    Gary Price

    Gary Price
    volunteer- Orlando Health
    Mended Hearts Chapter 296 - Orlando

  • 3.  RE: Heart Disease?

    Posted 04-19-2020 10:31

    First congrats on your survival. I survived in 2007. I had the same question you expressed: Do I have heart disease?

    My reasoning was that if I broke my arm, and a surgeon repaired it, in the future I would not "have" a broken arm: I would have "had" one. 

    Why are my heart issues different? Of course, the best answer would be to ask your cardiologist.

    My lawyer's reasoning is that the difference is a broken arm does not signify a genetic condition indicating a weakness, unless the person has something like osteoporosis. Instead, it is a one time problem that was "cured." Following this logic, if my behavior caused my clogged arteries, then surgery followed by changing the behavior would mean I "had" heart disease. But heart disease can be caused by both genetics and behavior. The state of the art of the profession seems to be that heart disease building up over the years makes determining with precision the one, and only one, cause, not possible. For example, studies show that it can take 20-25 years for stress to cause clogged arteries. Of course we understand that every person is different, so any times are simply approximations. Another approximation is that arteries clog about 2% a year: you do the arithmetic.  I have come to think of me as "having behavior that triggered a pre-existing genetic condition."  

    The website of the Mayo Clinic provides "Heart disease describes a range of conditions that affect your heart." They include "narrow or blocked blood vessels, heart muscle, valves or rhythm."

    If your cardiologist provides a different answer, please post.

    Brent Zepke
    Author: One Heart-Two Lives: Managing Your Rehabilitation Program WELL


  • 4.  RE: Heart Disease?

    Posted 04-19-2020 11:54
    YES, You do!
    I recovered from a CABGX4 after a routine blood test showed an increase in troponin levels. That is a chemical the heart gives off when it is in stress. I did not have a heart attack that sent me to the hospital. I was just having what I thought was the flu with some throat pain. 
    That turned out to be a blessing in disguise for me as it was an early warning of what could happen in the very near future. Blocked arteries are heart disease. A healthy heart does not have a 97% blockage.
    Like me, you were lucky it was caught early. Had you not had the shortness of breath when you did something much worse would have happened in the near future. 
    Now that you are recovering you are still subject to all the limitations of anyone else that has had a major heart attack with the loss of heart function and a weakened system. PLEASE protect yourself and pay attention to all the guidelines. Your body has been compromised and you need to be careful.

    Take care and stay safe
    Richard Short
    Chapter 395

  • 5.  RE: Heart Disease?

    Posted 04-22-2020 00:34
    "Do i have heart disease?"   My open heart surgery was 7 years  ago.  My last echocardiogram was perfectIy normal. My cardiologist said even so my heart is susceptible as a risk factor and i should stay home.   It seems to me that anyone who has had heart surgery or other heart conditions in the pat is at risk.  Its not worth proving a point to go out. Stay home and protect yourself and family.  Many people took care of you  when you had your surgery in 2016: don't waste their efforts.

    Marilyn Rosenhouse
    Dallas TX
    (214) 850-0219

  • 6.  RE: Heart Disease?

    Posted 04-22-2020 10:30
    ​My name is Ira and I have heart disease.  I am about to turn 70 years old and have been an athlete all my life and am still an athlete now, more than two years after quintuple coronary artery graft bypass surgery followed by two weeks on a ventilator recovering from both the heart surgery and the pneumonia that I caught while on the ventilator.  And I have heart disease.  I also am an expert on surviving long term medically induced comas on a ventilator, and I have heart disease.

    I have been a gymnast, wrestler, long distance runner, race walker and weightlifter since puberty, I still lift weights, walk, climb stairs (now up to 40 flights a day in order to avoid walking in the crowded streets of my town across the Hudson River from Manhattan) and do serious bodyweight workouts in my apartment and basement, but I have heart disease.  I probably outperform most men that are half my age at the gym, but I have heart disease.  My father, his mother, my uncle and my female cousin who is 16 years younger than me and is a marathon runner, all have (or had, in my father's case), heart disease.

    Although the future is not given for us to know, I realize that, when I die, the cause of death probably will be from heart disease, whether it is by a fatal heart attack, or heart failure, or complications from a future heart surgery, or a faulty valve or an aneurism or something else.  Even if I eventually contract Covid-19 with severe symptoms that kill me, the real cause of death likely will be complications from heart disease.  I get some comfort from this because I'd rather die from heart disease than from, for example, cancer of one type or another (which killed my mother, her mother and many friends and colleagues over the years).  I'll let my brother, who does not have heart disease and who survived a mild case of Covid-19, worry about cancer and Alzheimer's disease (which killed my father at the age of 92, notwithstanding his heart disease).

    Somebody not named Keanu Reeves or Anthony Hopkins or Christopher Walken, someone who is not a celebrity, once said "none of us are getting out of here alive."  And yet, I am pushing to get a few more moments of this life and so I practice social distancing with the zealousness that I have trained my body all my life, Travis Bickle-like, and with all the focus that I have learned in nearly 40 years of Zen meditation.  In addition to my rigorous exercise and meditation regime, I now take at least 30 minutes a day of sunlight on my patio in order to boost my vitamin D levels, I get to sleep earlier than usual to assist my immune system,I  eat more of a fruit and vegetable based diet than ever before and I have eliminated my wine consumption with dinner except on Saturday and Sunday.

    I want to live, but I am prepared to die.  I have heart disease.


    Ira Reid
    Hoboken NJ

  • 7.  RE: Heart Disease?

    Posted 04-22-2020 12:13
    Dear Ira:  you are a role model for us all.   Thank you for your frequent compassionate and passionate supportive Replies to all those who come onto this web Forum!!!

    Marilyn Rosenhouse
    Dallas TX
    (214) 850-0219

  • 8.  RE: Heart Disease?

    Posted 04-22-2020 12:46

    As Ram Dass taught, "we're all just walking each other home."

    Love and good health,


    Ira Reid
    Hoboken NJ