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Pre diagnosis

Hi,
I am new here and am having heart failure investigated as a possible diagnosis by my doctor. This journey has been going on over a year due to the pandemic. My health has deteriorated since early 2020 and I've gone from an active gym goer (an hour 5 to 6 days a week) to someone who struggles doing a 15 minute light to moderate cardio workout. I've put weight on but these symptoms started before my weight gain. I've gained largely due to exercise intolerance. The symptoms vary day to day and even throughout the day and some days are better than others. I always have bilateral feet and ankle swelling that nothing relieves, sometimes this is painful. Tried elevation, salt reduction etc. Nothing shifts it. That started months after the chest pain, shortness of breath, heaviness on chest, tiredness, cough that comes and goes etc. I've not had a heart attack, ecg came back fine. My blood pressure had gotten so bad that I was in the danger zone, I fear that this has been the case during certain periods of my life without my being aware of it. I'm now on medication for the blood pressure. My cholesterol is unusually high according to a Dr at the hospital, I have prediabetes. I'm waiting on an echo. My dad has metabolic syndrome and had a triple heart bypass but I don't know what heart condition or heart disease he had. I have pcos so I am a risk factor for all the things you don't want. I'm trying to get the weight off but with limited exercise capability it's hard. I'm scared to push myself too much in case it is heart failure. I feel like I will collapse when I exert myself these days. I managed about 30 mins exercise today and I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest. I feel exhausted, tight chested, and like I've ran a marathon. I've been on the unfit to fit journey before and it has never felt like this. I'm just wondering if this is anything like anyone experienced prior to a diagnosis? The other two pending diagnosis are COPD and long covid (which is unconfirmed of I even had covid). I quit smoking over 8 years ago, I don't drink and don't eat a high processed diet etc. Sorry for the long post but just after some advice.

  1. Hi , I had some of your symptoms prior to diagnosis for Coronary Artery Disease which led to stents, medication, dietary changes, a mild heart attack, another stent. It seems that the key for you is to get an accurate diagnosis that leads to focused treatment. So good that you don't drink or smoke and that you've been active before the symptoms started. That can only be to your benefit. Best wishes, and I hope you'll post again once you've received a diagnosis so that we can support you.

    1. thanks for your message. I have an echo appointment for the end of July. Do you know if they can diagnose coronary artery disease from an echo? Or is there another test I should request from my doc?

  2. Hi @Hbomb! You might want to see if your physician can prescribe cardiac rehabilitation for you. It is covered by a lot of insurance carriers. I liked it because I was constantly monitored with an actual monitor and nurses while doing treadmills, stair climbers, ellipticals, etc. It may also be beneficial because you will be able to work out without being stressed and still remain active to get the weight off. There are also some apps and YouTube videos for exercises and monitoring your calories without requiring too much effort.

    1. Thanks for the reply. I should hopefully know more after this month as I have a date for an echo. I have asked for an exercise stress test, which they won't do until my blood pressure is stable. It still isn't despite being put on an even higher dose of medication. I guess depending on the outcome of my tests as to whether they will send me to cardiac rehab. It's frustrating to me that this investigation is taking so long and meanwhile I'm left feeling permanently ill.

      1. It makes perfect sense that you're frustrated by the pace this is moving at. You said you have an echo in the coming weeks? Hopefully you and your healthcare team will get the information you need to move forward with a treatment plan that makes the most sense for you. Wishing you a peaceful day and please do circle back after your test! - John M. (Heart-Failure.net Team)

    2. Hi All, I've had my first echo and waiting on the results. I have a stress echo but likely not for another 8 weeks or so. I've had some new and quite frightening symptoms... I've had what feels like a chest infection (not covid) for over a week but I have not been ill other than that. At one point when I coughed yesterday I felt a burning and cramping in the top of my back. The same pain and sensation spread across both shoulders, arms, jaw and chest. I felt frozen like my arms were too heavy to move. Does that sound like angina? I'm going to call the doctors tomorrow because these are new symptoms.

      1. Hello! Its great that you are in tune to your body. I would most definitely call the doctor and inform them on the new symptoms.
        Kimberly (Heart-Failure.net Team)

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