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I am Over Weight and Smoking after Heart Attack but want to Stop my Medication?

09/23/2009 - Questions and Answers

I am Over Weight and Smoking after Heart Attack but want to Stop my Medication?

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Question

I am 42 years of age, have high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which I am medicated for and since my heart attack last year I have tried and tried to both quit smoking and lose weight. I take 6 pills a day - Crestor - Tricor - Zetia - Altace - Metoprolol and Plavix. I want to stop all these and see what happens but realize that since I had a Heart Attack and a Stent inserted that I will need to take something.

I am not looking for THE answer but would just like some direction of what to expect before I visit my doctor again.
 

Answer

You say you wish to "stop your medications and see what happens", but with a long history of high cholesterol/triglyceride levels and high blood pressure it is very unlikely that you would have been able to lower your levels without your prescribed medications. It is very important that you realize that No medication should ever be stopped without first discussing your condition with your own prescribing doctor, and since you have already had a heart attack and a stent inserted, it would be irresponsible to say the least to stop the necessary assistance these medications are giving you.
 

It may help you to know exactly what your mediations are: Crestor and Zetia are statin drugs for lowering cholesterol levels. You need to know to report immediately to your prescribing doctor any muscle aches or pains.- Tricor is for lowering triglyceride levels.- Metoprolol and Altace ((ramipril) is used alone or in combination with other medications to treat high blood pressure.- Plavix keeps blood platelets slippery and discourages formation of clots, thereby improving blood flow to your heart, brain, and body. This drug is prescribed to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and serious circulation problems in people with coronary artery disease ( atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries) or unstable angina (dangerous chest pain), and in people who've already suffered a heart attack or stroke.
 

To prevent further heart attacks or strokes, lowering cholesterol levels and controlling blood pressure is imperative and this would not have been possible without the medications your doctor prescribed. But just as important is to lose your extra body weight, stop smoking, continue to keep cholesterol levels and blood pressure under control and manage stress levels. We appreciate your saying that you have, since your heart attack "tried and tried to both quit smoking and lose weight" Well, you know, these goals are not impossible, but you will maybe require assistance to achieve them. Perhaps if you realize that smoking and being overweight are risk factors equally as important as high cholesterol/high blood pressure levels, for further heart attacks or stroke, you may have more incentive to continue making an effort. If you smoke, you are about 4 times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those who don't smoke. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor which means it narrows the blood vessels and decreases blood flow which can cause high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and stroke. The links provided below may be a help to you.
 

The good thing is that the life style changes - heart healthy diet, regular exercise, no smoking, stress management, all necessary to help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, also help keep blood pressure under control and assist with weight loss, so you will be" killing several birds with one stone" so to speak! and lengthening your life. Regarding alcohol consumption, no more than 1-2 glasses red wine daily are best.
 

However, one extra factor which you do not mention, though very necessary for weight loss, but also important for heart health is Exercise, which must be sufficient and regular. There is no QUICK way to lose weight successfully. Eat Less and Move More is the simple key to weight loss. It means a life style change of course. Change which will include regular, sufficient exercise and a heart healthy diet, and it may take some time to accomplish, but when you lose weight slowly and you develop a new lifestyle it is more likely to stay off. It will take Effort on your part, as diet without exercise will not work. If you find you require more assistance than this, you may have a Weight Watchers Group near you, where you can obtain personalized professional advice, and the emotional support of others also needing to lose weight. Also, you may prefer to attend a gymnasium or aerobic classes in a group. Regular walking, swimming, gardening or sport are also valuable exercises. You now understand how important it is to stop smoking so the links below may assist you. Below you will see a link for "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension" (DASH) which is also a good guidance for lowering cholesterol and losing weight. You will also see a link "How to Start Exercising" although Any exercise is good, the important factor being that it is sufficient and regular.
 

Related Links
"Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension" - DASH Diet
10 Tips to Reduce Fat in Your Diet
How to prepare low-fat meals
How to start exercising
When you stop smoking
Habitrol
Zyban

Created on: 01/22/2007
Reviewed on: 09/23/2009

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