Avatar universal

Unexpected heart attack

I suffered a heart attack last year at age 48. I'm not a smoker, with no family history and I exercise. My total cholesterol was 170 and my BP is 140/95. My doctor did not have me on any statin drug as he said cholesterol would need to be at least 200. I'm so mad at this doctor and will be finding another. Why did I have heart attack?
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Avatar universal
Some great insight by Circa49 here.

It is clear that you have some risk factors that have led to a heart attack in you. These include male gender, borderline hypertension and possibly genetic/ environmental factors which predispose to heart problems.
Ofcourse it is impossible for anyone to tell you why you had a heart attack but one thing is for sure important at this stage and that is to prevent any future heart attacks.
Statins are medications which are routinely given to patients with coronary artery disease even if they do not have elevated cholesterol. Stains are believed to have multiple effects (many of which doctors don't understand) which go beyond lowering of cholesterol. Statins have been proven to improve mortality in patients with coronary artery disease and I think you should be on one (at least in a small dose if possible).
In addition, knowing your LDL and HDL values is of critical importance.
Bottomline- you do have risk factors for coronary heart disease, the biggest one being history of heart attack. You need aggressive risk factor modification including a statin. If you are not satisfied with your current cardiologist, I would advise a second cardiologist who could address all your concerns
Hope that helps
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Avatar universal
You should understand that your risk is never zero.  
If you Google -- heart attack risk assessment calculator --
You will find several sites that will give you a estimate of a person age 48 and their chance of  having a heart attack in the next 10 years.  Could happen in the first year or nine years later.

You didn't give all your numbers regarding cholesterol,  such as HDL, LDL, etc.
However  your blood pressure at 140/95  is high and is a risk factor.
Your doctor did not give you a statin,  but probably making significant changes in your diet would lower your total cholesterol under 160 or perhaps even below 150,  which is considered excellent.

You might Google "Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn"  who is associated with the Cleveland Clinic and read about his take on diet,  cholesterol, and your chances of a heart attack.   Since  you've already had one heart attack you should be learning much more about what you can do to prevent another one.

With the few numbers you gave here, at age 48,  your chance of a heart attack was at least 3% over 10 years.   That means 1 in 33.   Someone makes up that 1 in 33.
Read up,  see what steps you can take to reduce your future risk.
You could also read books by Dr. Dean Ornish who is very well known.

Good luck,  be proactive,  don't just rely on a short visit with your doctor to answer all your questions.
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Avatar universal
Thanks for your input. I don't know what my LDL and HDL are but the doctor said they weren't bad. My BP is right on the edge of hypertension but the doctor said that wasn't too bad either. Oh well it is what it is and maybe I'll look into Dr. Esselstyn recommendations.
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Avatar universal
I'm not a doctor,  and if you were a normal person,  I'd say your total cholesterol at 170 would be fairly good.  Probably your HDL and LDL are also in the good range.    
And as  you indicated you are only just over the line for what is "officially" high blood pressure.

However, you are not a normal person  in that you have already had one heart attack.   Whatever the factors were that brought that about,  are likely to lead to a second heart attack unless you change something in your lifestyle or care.    Personally I'd pull out all the stops to make sure you don't have a second incident.   There is so much you can do to help yourself.
Good to hear you'll learn about Esselstyn's ideas.  
By the way,   former President Bill Clinton credits Dr. Esselstyn for helping him eventually changing his lifestyle after his quadruple bypass surgery.  
If Bill Clinton can make remarkable lifestyle changes, then anyone can.
Google ' clinton esselstyn and you get about 50,000 sites.
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