I Had A SCAD – A Rare Type of Heart Attack
February has been a healing month for me. I “told the world” I had a heart attack, I’ve been sharing how I’ve been processing it, and making people aware of holistic heart health resources available to them. The reason for all this fuss is three-fold: 1) I want to mentally recover from the shock of actually having a heart attack, 2) I want YOU to be empowered to prevent a heart attack from ever happening to you, and 3) I want to share my journey with others who are recovering from having had a heart attack because I believe what I have to share may help them.
My Diagnosis – I Had A SCAD
In the month of February I never shared my diagnosis. On October 22, 2016 I suffered a heart attack and walked around for two days not knowing I had it. I had a SCAD – a very rare type of heart attack. SCAD stands for spontaneous coronary artery dissection. Unlike most heart attacks, my coronary angiogram revealed that I had no plaque in my arteries. Instead, the end of my left anterior descending aorta – it’s the artery at very bottom tip of the heart – split. In a nutshell, during a SCAD event, an inner layer of a coronary artery splits. Blood seeps between the artery layers, forms a blockage and starves the heart muscle.
Luckily my heart didn’t suffer too much damage. It was a shot over the bow, and not all SCAD events are. I have learned that if you had to have a heart attack, I would say mine was the type to have. But still… really? Did I need to experience this? I guess God needed me to.
SCAD is the #1 cause of heart attacks among women under the age of 50 as well as the #1 cause of heart attacks in pregnant women and new mothers. Most individuals with SCAD are YOUNG, HEALTHY, ACTIVE women who have NO FAMILY HISTORY OF HEART DISEASE.
Drug Side Effects
SCAD is usually treated with drugs.
- But one of the drugs I was treated with caused me to go back into the ER with chest pains.
- The statin I was on made me so tired that when I woke up from 9 hours of sleep I wanted to take a nap again.
- The beta blocker I’m currently taking is causing me to lose my hair.
None of these side effects are any fun. My experience with traditional medicine reaffirms my path of finding alternative, holistic health resources for the heart. I’m not suggesting that you should take yourself off of medicine that your doctor prescribes without consulting her/him first. I still am on aspirin – will probably be for the rest of my life. And I’m still on a beta blocker because I’m not out of the woods yet.
I am older than the average SCAD survivor and do have a strong family history of heart disease, but I am healthy and active. Happily I can share that I was proactive and reduced my cholesterol by 40 points and triglycerides by 37 points. And 12 pounds of belly fat are also gone. Had I not been proactive with my health in the previous year, my outcome could’ve been much, much worse.
We Do Have Control
Even though it may not seem like we have control, here is what we do have control over:
- We control what we eat. We can choose to take supplements – because it’s really, really difficult to get everything we need from our food supply.
- We can choose to get up and MOVE!
- We can choose to minimize the stress in our lives. (This is my biggest challenge).
So how did I reduce my cholesterol? Cholesterol is made by the liver and cholesterol is absorbed from food in your intestines. So obviously reducing the amount of cholesterol containing foods is really important. Check out the recipes that I have in this blog. All of them are healthy, easy to make, and tasty. Also check out this post that I did earlier. You will learn what supplements I added to my diet to reduce inflammation and improve my health cholesterol.
One of the key steps in recovering from a heart attack is cardiac rehab. I never knew what that was – because sadly everyone I knew that had a heart attack died. Check out what is involved, watch this video of me at cardiac rehab. Now that I have graduated from cardiac rehab, I am making sure that I get at least 40 min of aerobic exercise 3 times per week. And I’m adding yoga or Zumba to my schedule. And of course, my dog Elroy needs his walk everyday.
I don’t watch the news. I’ve stopped watching shows that are scary and suspenseful. The music I listen to is upbeat – in fact my daughter made me a CD with over 20 songs that are fun and have me tapping my toes and singing along. I minimize hanging around people with negative vibes. Life is short – why waste it? You should be doing these things even if you are healthy, because you will be happier.
Stay In Touch With Me
I had a SCAD. But I do have many things that are under my control. And I am coming out stronger on the other end. I FEEL it and I KNOW it! And I want this for you as well.
If you would like to see the many other things I’m doing to make my life on this planet as healthy as can be and count for something, visit my YouTube channel or my Facebook Page. If you like what you see, please subscribe and “Like” my page.
Also if you’d like to help me raise funds to understand this rare condition, please visit this page. I’d love to run/walk with you on May 6, 2017 in Wheaton, IL at the Danada forest preserve. Entry cost is $30. And any donation amount is accepted.