“One thing I that has stuck with me since I experienced a heart attack is Minutes/Time is muscle!”
Darren and wife at their wedding, Oakover Grounds in the swan valley in WA
“For anyone with heart problem, loss of time is equated to loss of heart muscle! Make sure you get checked up when you are experiencing unusual pain. It might be chest, jaw, arm or leg, if you are unsure, get it checked do not assume it will be okay”
I am 37 year old, male, married, wife is pregnant with first child. Working full time as a supervisor in facility operations in Perth WA, I have been living in Western Australia for all of my life, My father also has coronary heart disease.
What is your heart condition?
Had a heart attack in 2020. Prior to that, I was generally quite healthy. Start of 2020, I was getting pain in my chest, at first I thought it was just anxiety nothing to do with my heart. So I started to take anxiety medication prescribed by my GP. But it didn’t help the feeling in my chest so I went back to GP again and had a stress test done. They result came up as borderline positives and had a nuclear stress test and found that I had a blockage. I then realised what I have experienced was already considered as heart attack. Luckily, within a week of that news, I had two stents inserted into my right main artery.
How was your experience with cardiac rehab?
Yes, I was offered Cardiac Rehab following the procedure, started the program soon (maybe because I went through private insurance) but as it happened in the middle of 2020 (COVID Pandemic) lots of services shut down at the time. I started one and then stopped and started again. I think it was very helpful in helping me learn how to manage my heart disease and overall well-being after the procedure. One thing to note for the program, I think I was the youngest one there, most of them were in their 60s and above, however the Physio that ran the group program accommodated my level of fitness and made a program to suit me.
How do you manage your heart health now?
I am on several medications to manage my heart condition, pain, sleeping and anxiety, I think I am doing less exercise now than I supposed to. Other than the medications, I also think it is very important to have mental health support. I came across Heart Foundation ‘The Supporting Young Hearts’ program and joined since then. I found it has been really helpful as I was able to find peers that are in my age group (18 – 45 year olds) and share similar experiences, it is a great source of emotional support to me. I am now on its advisory group. There are Facebook groups, Podcasts and zoom events too that all members can join.