Thursday, January 27, 2011

Nausea - Sign of heart trouble in women

Well, well, well.  I had no idea.  I could have used that information all last summer.  I had no idea my heart was in BIG trouble.

 I was really struggling, not knowing why I was generally getting worse and worse, physically.  I was following my regular doctor's orders, taking supplements, drinking water, and doing my best to "exercise and eat right".  I was short of breath, but I'd had asthma since I was a child.  I thought that's what it was.  I did have a slight heaviness in my chest, but I'd thought that was probably related to the asthma too - and so said my doctor.  And I had to keep sitting down and resting.  I was tired all the time, but couldn't sleep well because it was so hard to breathe.  And, there was a nausea I was having..  I didn't tell my doctor about the symptom, because it just didn't seem relevant to do so.  I just 'powered through' the nausea as best I could, as we women have a tendency to do.  I ate candied ginger, which helped., but it was getting to be every day, and even several times each day.

Then, the 'taking Lacy to the vet' incident happened (Sept. 2010), which made me suspect heart trouble.  The rest is history, and here I AM, really.  I remember now, that my heart surgeon told me afterward that my aortic valve itself was so bad (besides being too small for my heart), that it disintegrated in his hand.  Those were his words.  And the whole aortic core, which he rebuilt ('cuz it was too small too), was in similar shape.  Pretty impressive.  No wonder I didn't feel well.

I didn't know until yesterday (TV show reported that medical research) that nausea was one of the symptoms of heart trouble - especially for women.  Because 'where there's one, there are a thousand more', I wonder how many women are walking around with the same problem, and not telling their doctor about it.  I'll bet more heart-related deaths could be prevented.  I was 'lucky', when my little doggie's vet told me about her heart and 'the light bulb went on' that got me in to talk again to my doctor about my heart.  Before that, we'd thought it was more about asthma, and other things.  When she listened to my heart, she said she heard a heart murmer, but when I asked, she didn't think it was terribly urgent - just something to be aware of and watch.  Fifteen years ago, I'd had a whole battery of heart tests done because of my 'heart racing', and they said they didn't have a procedure to fix that then.  Now they do.  And my aorta problem must not have been big enough to 'catch' then.  They said I had a little calcification, but not enough to worry about.

Apparently, heart trouble was at the root of so many things that have not been working right in my body for a long, long time.  Including asthma.....  I 'knock on wood' when I write this, but I've not needed to use my asthma inhaler since my surgery last September.  And, with doctor's support, I weaned off my 2x daily Advair medication.  And I'm OK.  In fact, now I'm beginning to wonder if I still need my CPAP machine at night.  It's seeming to 'get in the way' as much as it's 'helping' lately.  Maybe it just needs adjusting.  I'll check.


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