Monday, 31 May 2010
Affairs of the Heart
I've been having chest pains for the last couple of days now.......my immediate thought was not of heart attacks and cardiovasular disease but of indigestion, then I did the thing that I'm sure all GP's wish we wouldn't do.....look up my symptoms on the internet!!! This just served to scare the hell out of me with phrases like 'restricted blood flow to the heart' and 'narrowing of the arteries'.
I'm going to see my GP on Tuesday to get it checked out and tell him what I have read on the internet (I'm sure he will be thrilled with me attempting to diagnose myself and do his job for him).
NHS Direct describes my symptoms to a tee (tight, dull, heavy pain in chest which can spread to left arm, back and neck and breathlessness) and points to unstable angina (symptoms coming on even when resting and lasting up to 30 minutes) but surely I'm far too young to be having heart problems - aren't I ??!!???? Am I being a total hypochondriac??!!??
My diabetes (which has been poorly controlled for a long time) together with the fact that I am already taking 40mg of Simvastatin for high cholesterol levels and I do little to no exercise are all risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Here is a little bit about CVD and diabetes:
"CVD is another of the long term complications that can affect people with diabetes as the condition progresses. Many people think that heart disease only affects the middle-aged and elderly. However, serious cardiovascular disease may develop in diabetics before the age of 30." (www.diabetes.co.uk)
"People with diabetes have an up to fivefold increased risk of CVD compared with those without diabetes. The reasons are prolonged, poorly controlled blood glucose levels, which affect the lining of the body’s arterial walls. This increases the likelihood of furring up of the vessels, forming a narrowing (atherosclerosis)." (www.diabetes.org.uk)
"Making lifestyle changes is the most effective way to prevent getting angina or, if you have angina, to prevent the symptoms getting worse in order to reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
The best way to achieve these goals is to eat a healthy, balanced diet, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, drink alcohol in moderation, and avoid smoking.
This will lower your blood pressure, reduce your cholesterol levels, and strengthen your heart, which are three of the most effective ways of preventing angina and/or reducing the risk of a heart attack and stroke."
I realise I'm jumping the gun massively here as I haven't even seen my GP yet and I certainly can't asume that I've self-diagnosed correctly but it does get me thinking along those lines of "If only I had looked after myself properly for all these years............"
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