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  • 38year old with congestive heart failure

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    Old 05-29-2004, 03:44 PM   #1
    Texas3
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    38year old with congestive heart failure

    Hi,
    I am 38 yr old female 35 lbs overweight and have been treated for high blood pressure since I was 21. I am currently on 240mg Dilacor, 40mg Zestril and 25mg HCTZ.
    About a month ago I noticed that I had swelling in my feet and ankles and chest. I do get winded when I do household chores or exercise but, I always contributed that to lack of exercise. I went to the Dr. and he sent me to a cardiologist. He said I had a heart murmur and sent me for a echocardiogram the office called and said that it was abnormal and asked if I had ever been told I had sleep apnea. I said no. So, they sent me for a Cardiolite stress test and I had that done Thur. and Friday this last week. while doing the test the Dr. said I had a bad valve (back flow)and did not go into what valve it was and said I had mild CHF he wants to get the results back from the stress test and said he would call next week. I have had rheumatic fever when I was a child.... I am scared!! Does this sound like I will have to have a valve repaired or replaced can this cause CHF?? I am a mother of 3 children under the age of 5. My mother died at the age of 57 with a massive heart attack. I am so stressed having to wait until next week to find anything out. Any info I would appreciate
    Thank yoy

    Last edited by Texas3; 05-29-2004 at 03:46 PM.

     
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    Old 05-29-2004, 07:05 PM   #2
    abbygirl2
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    Re: 38year old with congestive heart failure

    Hi, I understand your fear. Not knowing how the heart works and what the tests results all mean can be very frightening. Although the waiting is the hardest, I have been there, I wanted to reassure you that medicine has made great strides, and they can do so much these days.
    My mother had rheumatic fever when she was a child and every ekg she has says she has had a heart attack(unknown to her). So it may just take some sorting out. Did you tell the cardiologist you had rheumatic fever as a child? I don't know anything about your specific situation but am a heart patient myself and CHF is something I have to watch for. 6 yrs ago I thought I was on my death bed, I was a nervous wreck and afraid to do anything for fear my heart would konk out. Knowledge really is powerful and the more you understand what is going on the better you will feel. For about 4 yrs, I just pretended I didn't have a heart condition, didn't want to talk about it, know anything about, simplified my symptoms when I saw my cardiologist etc. Finally I was forced to accept it and really feel much more comfortable and not so afraid all the time. It can be a very scary time, I have 2 young children, and am only 29.
    Did you tell your Dr about your mother's heart history?
    I had to wait 6 months to talk to a cardiologist about my condition(my GP didn't know anything about it and couldn't be bothered to research it for me). That was indeed th longest 6 months of my life. I know you are scared. I know somewhat about the tests and procedures so if you have any questions I will try to help. Let me know how your app goes.

    Take care
    Abby

     
    Old 05-30-2004, 05:40 AM   #3
    zip2play
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    Re: 38year old with congestive heart failure

    Texas,

    As you know, the main danger of Rheumatic Fever is the scarring of the heart valves that often shows up later in life. I'm pretty sure I had RA among the several hundred bouts of severe strep with fevers to 105 in my my youth (no exaggeration) but escaped valve damage.

    Abby's advice is excellent.
    DON'T pre-diagnose yourself until every test is in including perhaps thorough angiography.
    After all the results are in, make your decisions with your cardiologist. Valve repair and replacement is getting more commonplace every day.
    If it's fully determined that you indeed have "mild CHF" accept it, learn about it and deal with it. Good strides are being made in manageing the disease.
    But don't pre-suppose anything til the data is in. You may be worrying for nothing!

     
    Old 06-02-2004, 06:54 PM   #4
    Sharon1957
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    Re: 38year old with congestive heart failure

    Texas, It sounds like you may have what I have and it comes from rheumatic fever or is congentinal when you have as young as we are. I have been told I will be in congestive heart failure within five years from a bad aortic heart valve. They can replace it with a mechanical valve which will last a lifetime--the only problem being that you will have to be on blood thinnning medication for a lifetime to prevent blood clots. Did you have a echocardiogram. I did and they will be able to determine how bad it is based on the pressure numbers but I do know one thing, you cannot let it get to the point that you are in major heart failure or the success rate is not good. Let me know how you are doing and what your doctor says. I am curious since it really sounds like we have the same thing. As for worrying, I have been through major health problems, so I really trust the Lord in any decision he may make. Again, please keep me updated, OK?

     
    Old 06-23-2004, 01:37 PM   #5
    ralve
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    Re: 38year old with congestive heart failure

    Hi, I was wondering what you guys were saying about having rheumatic fever earlier in life, and that leading to a heart problem later. My Dad had rheumatic fever (I am pretty sure) when he was a child, I think he was very young, like five years old. Anyway, later in life, he had what they think was restrictive cardiomyopathy, and the doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. They said he had a stiffening at the bottom of his heart, which was consistent with restrictive cardiomyopathy. He had always been extremely healthy, and health-conscious. He was a runner, and very thin and in good shape. All of a sudden, out of the blue, my Mom and him were on a long drive, and he started to swell in the lower part of his body, especially his ankles. Combined with some shortness of breath, he went to the hospital when he got home, and they diagnosed him with CHF but couldn't really figure out why, because he was so healthy in every other way. No high blood pressure, diabetes, or anything else wrong with his heart. So, because of the stiffening on the bottom of his heart, they thought he might have restrictive cardiomyopathy, and one of the causes of that is amyloidosis, so he was about a week away from having a heart biopsy, when he died from sudden death on the couch with my Mom. I was wondering, do you know if restrictive cardiomyopathy later in life is associated with having rheumatic fever as a child? Does him having rheumatic fever as a child affect any of his children? I have heard and read that the amyloidosis is very rare, and he was going to find out if that was it after the biopsy in Stanford, California. I guess they just don't have many reasons that they know of for the restrictive type of cardiomyopathy, so they have to look at the more rare things. It just seems so strange, he was so healthy, he was much healthier than any of us in the family, he could run circles around us. Anyway, thanks for any help! One more question, I have very frequent PVC's, and have never really been able to figure out why, do you know if having those very frequently can cause CHF? I have them every day, sometimes as much as every few beats, they just drive me crazy. Sorry to go on, and thanks again for the help! Good luck to you, Val

     
    Old 06-24-2004, 05:49 AM   #6
    zip2play
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    Re: 38year old with congestive heart failure

    Val,
    Off the top of my head, my guess would be that a heart attack caused the stiffening of the heart bottom with scar tissue and that a second heart attack killed him. A sad story all round!
    Did they do an autopsy?

    Last edited by zip2play; 06-24-2004 at 05:50 AM.

     
    Old 06-24-2004, 10:16 AM   #7
    KShortie
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    Thumbs up Re: 38year old with congestive heart failure

    Hi. My grandmother had a bad heart valve, also from rheumatic fever as a child. I have two uncles with the same problem. They all lived down south years ago and doctors were few and far between. My uncles had their valves successfully replaced and are doing well. My grandmother was deathly afraid of hospitals and doctors and also any type of surgery. They told her she was very healthy otherwise and tried in vain to convince her to have the valve replaced. She refused. They were getting ready to discharge her from the hospital when she died. They have come so far with valve replacement treatment and the surgery for it. But as the others said, don't cross that bridge until you have to. It might turn out to be something else entirely. Good luck.

     
    Old 06-24-2004, 11:13 AM   #8
    jpos
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    Re: 38year old with congestive heart failure

    HI Texas,

    My mother had valvular disease as a result of rheumatic fever in her childhood, too. She had her mitral valve replaced.

    It is good they caught it early it leaves more options. Maybe instead of needing a replacement you can get a repair (when it's time), I dunno.

    Valger,
    I understand your being nervous, because of your dad. Hugs. My mom died of chf and as I said it was from her mitral valve, so when I was diag 4 mos later with mild mitral valve prolapse and regurg, plus TR, IST and NCS, I was really scared. So, I did research and now have some facts and feel a whole lot better!
    If you read about PVC's you will find they are not life threatening, just annoying for some. If you had an abnormality of your heart, like severe chf or something, then it could pose a problem.


    Hugs

     
    Old 06-24-2004, 04:47 PM   #9
    ralve
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    Re: 38year old with congestive heart failure

    Thanks all so much for the replies!! As far as my Dad, I don't think they thought it was a heart attack since he didn't show any other signs of that, even his ejection fraction was good. The restrictive cardiomyopathy supposedely has a risk of sudden death with it, the thing is trying to figure out what caused the restrictive cardiomyopathy in the first place. That's why they were doing the biopsy next, and the specialist from Stanford in California mentioned amyloidosis, which is some kind of infiltrative disease of the heart, but very, very rare. It starts in the bone marrow, I think, and can infiltrate any organ, and cause that organ to fail. I had never even heard of it before the doctor in Reno mentioned it.
    Thanks so much for the kind words, it is such a mix of emotions. It's like it's so hard to deal with my Dad's death still, but at the same time, my brothers and I are concerned with our own health, since we all have kids to raise. And, then, since I have these PVC's so often, I wonder if that puts me at more risk for sudden death also. I have heard that also, that they are mostly just annoying, and not harmful, but it dosen't feel that way. I guess I should probably have another echo, I have had a couple of those, but it's been years now. I worry about my ejection fraction going down, and that leading to CHF. Watching my Dad get worse so fast was really scary. He was a perfectly healthy man, and went downhill so quick. Him and my Mom were actually on a trip out here to visit us, and he was in our backyard in the heat, filling up garbage bags with weeds and stuff, and just worked so hard all day, and he had no problems. We couldn't have kept up with him if we tried, here we were inside in the air conditioning! Then, that trip, on the way home, he became swollen, and once they got home, after a four day car ride, he went to the hospital since he was also short of breath. We were so caught off guard with all of this, not that it's an excuse, though. Looking back, I sure wish I had done more to help him. I wish I had taken all the money we could get, and get him to Mayo, and look into a heart transplant. He was 69 when he died, so I have heard it's hard to get that at that age. I just wish I had pushed the doctors more instead of accepting their answers. I even talked with the specialist on the phone, and he seemed to be preparing me by mentioning the possibility of it being amyloid, and the life span of that being six months to a year, but I kind of blocked that out, and hoped it was the more curable thing of pericarditis, which he said it could be that also. Of course, it's always easier to see things in hindsight, but I wish I had just told my Dad what the doctor said, and got him to Mayo or something, he might still be here. Anyway, thanks for letting me "vent", you guys are all so much help!! Thanks so much, Val

     
    Old 07-20-2004, 03:36 PM   #10
    always confuzed
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    Re: 38year old with congestive heart failure

    ooooooooo you guys are scaring me. I had rheumatic fever as a child, even gotta be premedicated before dental visits, and was referred to a cardiologist for an echo due to a high heart rate and some chest pain. I was told that some ppl develop heart issues later on after having rheumatic. So i've been kind of nervous. I am under 30 but very unhealthy. I am scared because i knew in the back of my mind that this was a possiblity, that having to be premedicated for somethin as simple as a dental visit wasn't that minor in the grand scheme of things. My rate is abuot 150 bpm with bery little exerction. I've noticed that i can feel it beat alot. I get winded after the slightest activity. Then i started having alot of chest pain under my breat bone. Have alot of lung issues so i just kept chalking it up to that. But now i wonder if its my heart. I gues i shouldnt worry about it yet till i have my echo. What are the usual heart probs ppl have when they have had rheumatic??? thanks for any info!

     
    Old 07-22-2004, 01:05 PM   #11
    KShortie
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    Cool Re: 38year old with congestive heart failure

    Don't cross bridges before you have to, you'll just have to run back and you'll get tired! Rheumatic fever can cause congestive heart failure later on in life. Also can cause valve problems. Surf the internet, just type in rheumatic fever and it's aftermath or something like that and you'll get some information.

     
    Old 07-22-2004, 02:28 PM   #12
    always confuzed
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    Re: 38year old with congestive heart failure

    ty kshortie i will do that. I get so nervous over stuff too easily.

     
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