Posts Tagged ‘heart attacks’

“Doctors are able to identify silent attacks via an electrocardiogram (ECG) scan which reads any damage in the heart.

Heart disease is the world’s biggest killer, with the latest WHO figures showing it was responsible for 7.4 million deaths in 2012.

Experts believe many of the deaths happen in patients who have previously suffered a heart attack without knowing it.”

A month ago I was at the Clinique Pasteur in Toulouse for a follow-up stress test after my local cardiologist–Dr Lefevre (Dr Fever!)–decided that he was not a 100% happy with the annual test.

So my heart is on my mind–so to speak and this report caught my eye.


The heart attack you don’t know you’ve had.

I haven’t had one of these little earthquakes–yet!

But my mother died suddenly, aged 67, of a heart attack related to her Type One Diabetes and my middle brother–a Hollywood TV drama director–died suddenly of a heart attack at 58.

So two fatal attacks in the family are enough to give me pause.

A heart examination is one of the regular annual checks I have .

This involves ten minutes on an exercise bike with wires attached to your torso, monitoring how your heart is coping with the increasing level of effort you are having to exert on the bike.

[Kidneys, liver, feet, eyes, cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure—you name it, I am monitored.]

The heart is one of the organs put at risk by Diabetes.

And the problem for people with the condition is that it’s often not obvious there is a problem.

Our affected nervous systems can mask the symptoms–Monsieur Lefevre says it’s not clear why this happens–but being cautious and the least feverish man I know–he wanted to be sure the blip he saw was just  a blip.

I’d been to the clinic in Toulouse a couple of times before–in fact I’d had three stents fitted there successfully three years ago–a procedure that may have saved my life.

This time the sweet doctor who showed me the X-ray results, pronounced it nothing to worry about (a blip) and me–fit for purpose.

Je vous remercie, Dr Lefevre–Give me Fever !



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It’s a while since I posted a Diabetes update.


Recipes and cat tales are so much more uplifting.

But given my recent history, this new study deserves an airing.

After analyzing the medical records of almost two million people in the UK, the National Diabetes Audit found that people with diabetes have almost a 50% higher risk of a heart attack.

About 22,000 people with diabetes in England and Wales died prematurely in 2010/11, the report says.

“The finding that people with diabetes are almost 50 per cent more likely to have a heart attack is shocking; this is one of the main reasons many thousands of people with the condition are dying before their time,” said Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK.

About seven weeks ago, my cardiologist at the excellent local clinic wasn’t a hundred percent happy with the results of a couple of my stress test results.

(These were routine tests suggested by my G.P.–given my Type 2 diabetes.)

The local cardiologist sent me to the Clinique Pasteur in Toulouse, where late one Tuesday afternoon in October I found myself flat on my back, naked, in what felt suspiciously like an operating theatre.

(This isn’t my preferred theatre experience!)

Shortly after sensing something creeping up the inside of my right arm, a masked face pushed through the hygienic barrier, regarded me with two quietly friendly eyes and uttered words I shall never forget:

“Vous avez un blocage de l’arterie principale coronaire.”

[You have a blockage of the coronary artery.]

His tone was so reasonable, I heard myself replying in a similar tone:

“C’est sérieux, Monsieur?”.

He remained calm in spite of what he had just heard, and didn’t shout:


Instead I was relieved to hear him say he was going to insert three stents–then and there.

The seriousness of the situation only registered fully with me the following afternoon just before we left for home.

The doctor showed us a video of my heart and arteries BEFORE and AFTER.

Oh my word!

For the procedure my blood had been dyed to show up as black.

In the BEFORE version, a black (blood-rich) artery snakes across the screen to the rhythm of the heart–black except for a small section where the FAT black snake became a very THIN black snake running through an otherwise pale (no blood) tube.

Le blocage–a narrowed artery!

In the AFTER video–three stents in place–the black snake is restored to its glorious fatness.

I had none of the usual symptoms of narrowed arteries— shortness of breath while walking, pains in the chest.

I asked the Quietly Spoken One why?

He said diabetes masks cardiac symptoms–numbing the nerves.

So, j’avais de la chance, je crois!

[I reckon I was lucky!]

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