Saturday, February 17, 2007

What's wrong with my heart?

I got the results of my medical check-up the other day and saw a cardiologist yesterday. I am still trying to come to grips with the bad news. High cholesterol level, high blood sugar level, high blood pressure, atherosclerotic aorta, ischemia at the inferolateral wall of the heart, and some problem with the liver. All of these add up to what is called syndrome X. In other words, the risk of a stroke or a heart attack is very high. I could drop dead anytime, like my father (he had diabetes and hypertension, and had a stroke and a fatal heart attack).

I thought that I was immune to heart disease since I have run marathons in the past and have been doing a lot of long-distance cycling. But a few months ago, while biking for over 4 hours across the steep mountain trails of Samal Island, I felt some chest pain. I had to stop and lie down. I was asking myself if I was having a heart attack. But the pain disappeared after 15 minutes. So I thought it was just the gas pain after drinking Coke. Looking back now, it appears that I had angina pectoris. There was not enough blood and oxygen getting to the heart because of the atherosclesis in the aorta and the ischemia.

I still have to do more tests this Monday (stress test, ultrasound, etc) to determine the gravity of my condition. I hope things are not as bad as it seems.

Meanwhile, I will have to watch my diet, exercise moderately, take some medication and supplements, learn to relax, avoid stress, etc.

I have become more aware of my mortality - I could die tomorrow or 50 years from now. I am not afraid of death, but I hope I live longer - there is still so much to be done.

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