I have a couple of genetic factors that are problematic. The main ones are that I have a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol (regardless of diet or exercise), and I have what appears to be an abnormality in my coronary artery, possibly the same one as my dad. In the past I’ve tried statins to lower cholesterol but I couldn’t tolerate them.
For the last few weeks I’ve been on Repatha, an monoclonal antibody that tricks the liver into processing cholesterol more aggressively. This has been super effective at lowering my cholesterol (as in, my LDL levels are already normal for the first time in my life). There are some mild side effects which will supposedly abate over the next few weeks.
Back in February I had some tests done, namely an echocardiogram and a stress test with radioactive tracer imaging to see what my overall heart condition is. They came back mostly good, but that’s when the abnormality showed up, and the nature of the abnormality makes it unclear what’s actually going on in the coronary artery.
So, the overall prognosis is pretty good, but there’s still that uncertainty, so I’m going in for an angiogram in two weeks, at which time they will directly measure what’s going on in the coronary artery and take whatever immediate corrective measures are deemed necessary. This is not a zero-risk procedure, but it’s low risk, at least, and whatever comes of it, this will hopefully result in a huge reduction in my anxiety.
I can’t help but be a bit anxious both about the procedure and its aftermath, though; there’s a very small risk of major complications (including dying) on the table, and a slightly larger (but still small) risk of having a myocardial infarction or a stroke during my recovery. But I feel like the risks of the procedure are much lower than the risks of not having it done.
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