In the summer of 2017, I was diagnosed with angina (angina pectoris), pain in the chest caused by restricted blood flow to the heart during periods of exertion. The original series of three posts covered the diagnostic procedures, an explanation of angina, and finally, treatment using Enhanced External Counter Pulsation (EECP) (https://reninassancemusings.wordpress.com/2017/05/07/angina-from-detection-to-treatment-part-1/).
At the time, the doctor explained that the treatment should last three to five years before symptoms of angina returned.
Since it has been about three and a half years since the treatments, I thought it worthwhile to report on my current status.
I am pleased to report that I have not yet had any recurrence of symptoms of angina.
I have made some basic changes in my life, but nothing drastic. First, I have lost 30-plus pounds and am now down to what my doctor says is a normal, healthy weight. Weight lost was achieved through two actions: (1) a healthy, essentially keto, diet and (2) regular exercise, largely based on walking regularly.
Minimum walking distances most days is at least 2.5 miles (about 5,000 steps). I try to get in as many as 10,000 steps one or two days a week. I look for ways to incorporate walking into daily activities. For example, rather than using the riding lawnmower for all the yard, I use a walk-behind (powered) push mower. When the grass does not need mowing, I can usually find chores and tasks that will involve walking. It no longer upsets me when I forget a tool and I have to walk back across the yard to get it. I also take walks around the neighborhood if I cannot find something specific to do. As a last resort, or in the case of bad weather, I do have a treadmill.
I use a Fitbit watch to record daily steps. I keep a daily record that includes weight, morning blood pressure, and steps.
Periodically, every year or two, my cardiologist puts me through a stress test that amounts wiring me to an EKG machine and having me walk on a treadmill at increasing speeds and inclines. He is looking at my pulse and blood pressure, both how high the values are at maximum exertions, and how quickly these numbers come back down to resting state values. And, of course, to see if I am having any symptoms of angina. So far, so good.
I am told that I can repeat the EECP treatments as frequently as once a year, if needed. I will be having my next stress test later this year.