Avatar universal

Scared of a heart attack

I am a 37-year-old Caucasian woman who comes from a family with a history of heart disease & diabetes. My maternal grandmother died of a heart attack at 61, my maternal grandfather had 2 non-fatal heart attacks and a mild stroke in his sixties/seventies. I grew up with horrible eating habits: virtually no vegetables, lots of fried food, large quantities. I have done Weight Watchers off and on most of my adult life (since age 20), but have gone years in between being on the program. I am not obese, but at 5'2" I am somewhat overweight--I vary from about 140-150 most of the time. For several years, I've had chest pains from time-to-time...I've had EKGs and Echocardiograms, but nothing strange has been found. However, about 4 years ago I found out that I had a total cholesterol of 271. I had just given birth to my second child 3 months earlier and had just joined Weight Watchers again. Within about 8 weeks of following Weight Watchers to the letter, my total cholesterol was down to 168. But, during my annual cholesterol checks since then it has crept back up (first to 200, then 208, then 222 last November.) I have a lot of trouble sticking to a really good eating plan for more than a few weeks at a time--regardless of how hard I try. But, I do get a fairly decent amount of exercise several times a week--both cardio and light resistance training. My concern is that I am so afraid that my cholesterol coupled with my intermittent chest pain is a sign that I'm going to drop dead of a heard attack at any time. I've been trying to add some monounsaturated fat to my diet lately, but it makes it hard to follow a good diet plan because I have to count the points (on WW), which add up to a lot (olive oil, almonds, etc.) I guess my question is: is there anyway someone my age and in my situation can find out if they already have clogged arteries or other symptoms of an impending heart attack? The chest pains I feel are not everyday, but they do concern me. I don't believe they are gas or indigestion...they don't feel the same. Thank you!
2 Responses
Sort by: Helpful Oldest Newest
Avatar universal
Thank you for your advice. It's good to hear, because I've always opted for weight loss programs that have you keep track of your foods. I've even always thought that I was the type of person who would not benefit from a nutritionist because I already "know" what I'm supposed to be eating...I just can't seem to always do it. From reading and doing some research, I honestly think I'm a binge eater...I can eat stick to something perfectly until I mess up once, then all logic is out the window. And, when I know that I've messed up I can consume huge amounts of food with the thought that "tomorrow is a new day." However, "tomorrow" can turn into next week or next month if I'm not careful. I've never binged and purged, so I've never really considered my eating to be a disorder but the older and more informed I get, the more I think it is. I just wish that concern for my health could help me adhere to better eating habits all the time rather than just sometimes. Thank you!
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
maybe you should not stick to a regimented counting type program and give yourself over to a nutritionist who can explain food to you properly.  WW is good I guess, but if you do not fully understand the foods that are going into your body all the counting this and that will not help you for the long haul.  Remember, you are not eating just for you, you are setting the nutritional ideas for your kids as well.  They will eat what you provide at your home, what they see you eat.  If you teach them through example that it is better to choose an apple over a cookie, an orange over a bowl of ice cream then YOU are the winner.   If you buy only fruits and healthy snacks (truly healthy, read the labels) then there are no bad choices to make.
Helpful - 0
Have an Answer?

You are reading content posted in the Heart Disease Community

Top Heart Disease Answerers
159619 tn?1538180937
Salt Lake City, UT
11548417 tn?1506080564
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Is a low-fat diet really that heart healthy after all? James D. Nicolantonio, PharmD, urges us to reconsider decades-long dietary guidelines.
Can depression and anxiety cause heart disease? Get the facts in this Missouri Medicine report.
Fish oil, folic acid, vitamin C. Find out if these supplements are heart-healthy or overhyped.
Learn what happens before, during and after a heart attack occurs.
What are the pros and cons of taking fish oil for heart health? Find out in this article from Missouri Medicine.
How to lower your heart attack risk.