DEAR DR. GOTT: I have never seen a column about someone who has a 100 percent blocked artery. I was diagnosed in 2000 after an angiogram as having a right artery that was 100 percent blocked. I was told by the surgeon not to eat more than three eggs a week. I’ve had to find all information on my condition all by myself. I watch my saturated fat and cholesterol intakes and walk 2 miles every other day.
I’ve been to the VA doctors. They say whatever I’m doing, I should keep it up. I have no symptoms, none! When you quit smoking, they have classes and support. When you get cancer, they have classes and support. When you have diabetes, they have classes and support. When you have heart disease, there is silence. I don’t know what or how much to eat. Can I run or lift weights? I’m taking a baby aspirin and 40 milligrams of Zocor. I’ve gone 10 years with worrying and waiting for the big one. What’s your advice?
DEAR READER: My initial guess is that your doctor either misspoke or you heard him incorrectly. I don’t doubt you one bit, but I think you were misled. I’ve not known anyone with even potential cardiac problems who was not referred to a cardiologist for regular follow-up. The decision of whether to perform bypass surgery or angioplasty would have depended on your general overall condition and the extent of the heart disease. That leads me to believe you were not a candidate for surgery at that time.
Part of heart health is exercise and a healthful diet. Therefore, include fresh fruits and steamed vegetables, broiled fish and chicken. If you are a beef eater, cut away the fat prior to cooking the meat. Switch to fat-free milk. Substitute low-fat or frozen yogurt for ice cream. Avoid fried foods, hot dogs, sausage, luncheon meats from the deli case of your local grocery store and tropical oils readily found in cookies and pastries. Your total cholesterol intake should be less than 200 milligrams daily. Read labels. Become a savvy shopper.
If you haven’t had any symptoms of a cardiac disorder for 10 years, the condition probably didn’t or doesn’t exist or isn’t/wasn’t as severe as you believe. However, to play it safe, make an appointment with a new physician for a complete physical examination and appropriate laboratory and X-ray testing. After all this time, I am sure you are convinced there is an underlying cardiac issue. Request a referral to a cardiologist. Present your problems and ask for answers. If additional testing is called for, have it scheduled. If something comes to light, pursue it. If not, get on with your life and put this 10-year nightmare behind you.
To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Reports “Understanding Cholesterol” and Coronary Artery Disease.” Other readers who would like a copy should send a self-addressed, stamped No. 10 envelope and a $2 check or money order for each report made payable to Newsletter and forwarded to PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092-0167. Be sure to mention the title(s). or print out an order form from my website www.AskDrGottMD.com.