Getting It Off My Chest

chest-painI’ve always maintained that I’m overweight but not a burden to the NHS well guess who had to wait for 6 hours in A & E last week with chest pains?  😬

No one has said that it’s the weight and no one has told me to lose weight, they all seem to be putting it down to possible hereditary heart problems.  I had an ECG and the Troponin Test to ensure that I hadn’t had a heart attack, luckily it came back negative and I have been referred to a specialist clinic.  It looks like it could be angina but then again no one really knows at the moment, it’s a case of wait and see.  I have been given a spray (Nitromin Glyceryl Trinitrate) which I must carry around with me at all times, it’s used to help you with the onset of an angina attack.

I would like to say that the incident spurred me into action and I have done nothing but eat lettuce and exercise since.  Alas, this isn’t the case, I spent the first couple of days in shock that my risk of having a heart attack was more real than I’d ever experienced before.  I knew the family history and I knew that I could be at risk but it was all something in the back of my head to worry about ‘when I got older’.  Well it looks like I am older now and this is something I have to deal with.

Yesterday I went for my ‘You’ve turned 40 let’s check nothing has dropped off’ check at the Dr’s surgery.  All she did was check my blood pressure, I felt a bit short changed as she hadn’t done my weight or any other measurements.  She was about 20 years old and obviously thought I was some sort of geriatric.  My blood pressure was a little high and so I told her about the chest pains and A&E visit; her empathy level stayed where it was and she did absolutely nothing.  I walked out of the surgery knowing I had high blood pressure and chest pains and no further advice except see Dr next week and go A&E if it gets too bad.

I never quite understood the readings of blood pressure apart from it must 120/80, whatever that means so I searched online and found this really cool NHS Blood Pressure site.  You just add in your numbers and it tells you how good or bad your blood pressure is.  I had kept a record of my readings since the chest pains had started two weeks ago and I entered the reading they took when I went to A&E, it says I had high blood pressure! The hospital put the reading down to my being worried about the pain but surely they should have taken another reading during the 6 hours I was there?  Maybe it isn’t angina and just chest pain as a consequence of high blood pressure?  How would I know?

Having looked online I have worked out what I can do to reduce my blood pressure and it means:

  • Losing weight
  • Reducing salt in my diet
  • Cutting down on alcohol
  • Eating more healthily

Exercising whilst having high blood pressure can be tricky and because I still don’t know if it’s high blood pressure or angina I need to be careful.  Ideal exercise for me is walking, swimming and cycling.  I looked online and have found the Couch to 5K app (c25k).  It’s a nine week course for people who have never run before (that’ll be me 🙄)  I would love to go running but have always been self conscious of my size, so I have started this course but I’m doing it at home on my treadmill before I have the confidence to go outside.  I’m only on week 1 which means I walk and run at 60-90 intervals for 20 minutes which  results in a total run of 8 minutes.  I have done this twice this week now and I’m feeling good, I’m not doing any drastic changes but little steps to get myself better.
If any of you guys are going through anything similar please check with your Dr before you start exercising as I’m obviously not medically trained 😀 A great source of information is the British Heart Foundation site.