Be Pro-Active About Your Health

Saturday, February 21, 2015

I currently take high blood pressure and thyroid medications. My doctors like to see me about every 6 months, just for a general check up along with prescription renewals. About 3 years ago, during one of these check ups, my dr and I had a conversation that went like this:

Him: Listening to my heart - You have a heart murmur.
Me: No I don't!
Him: Listening again -gives me "the look" - Yes, you do.
Me: I've NEVER, ever had a heart murmur!
Him: We'll keep tabs on it.

Six months later, I'm back in his office, and we have basically the same conversation, only this time, he wants me to consult with a cardiologist. I happen to know a good one through my ex, so I dutifully call, and make an appointment. I go, and have an EKG and an echocardiogram, and basically my heart is in good shape, except for one valve that has developed a calcium build up on it, not letting it close completely. The dr likened it to a "rusty screen door". I asked him what can be done, and he said, right now, we'll just monitor it and I'll see you in a year.

I've gone every year since, only this year, they wanted a more complete check up done, so I had echocardiograms done on my carotid arteries. They run up either side of your neck. My right side was good. My left side was not. I took a day off from work yesterday so that I could have a nuclear stress test, another echocardiogram of my heart, and a CAT scan done of my neck. I was at the dr's from 8:00 am until about 12:15 pm. I've already heard back from the dr's about the stress test. It was good, and the reporting dr said my echocardiogram looked good too. I have to wait for the results of the CAT scan.

I have a history of heart disease on both sides of my family, going back to my grandparents, so it really shouldn't surprise me, and yet, it does. Despite being overweight for most of my life, all of my numbers are good. My cholesterol is low, my triglycerides are low, my LDL and HDL are in range. But I have that family history.

So I'm sharing all of this with all of you, not to get sympathy, but to encourage everyone, especially those of you with family histories of heart disease, to be pro-active in your own health. Get an annual physical exam. If you're over the age of 55, start getting an echocardiogram. Keep eating healthy and exercising, but also see your doctor!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I have that family history as well and so keep a close watch. Good for you for posting!
    2275 days ago
    We have the family history and heart murmur in common. Mine has been watched for 15 years, and hasn't become a concern! I did have to wear a heart monitor for a few days, but that's it. All my numbers are in the optimal range except weight and body fat. GRRR! It has to be the exercise, since my diet is far from perfect. Stay proactive and don't give up on the healthy lifestyle. emoticon
    2290 days ago
  • no profile photo CD14643906
    So scary for you, but I'm happy that you are okay. You are wise to keep on top of this. I've been putting off a trip to my doctor. I need to take your advice.

    Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend.
    2297 days ago
    Just an update: My echocardiogram shows no change, and my stress test was good. Still waiting to find out about my CT scan of my neck.
    2300 days ago
    Good advice for all of us!
    2300 days ago
    I am glad you are on top of this. It is good that you see your drs. regularly. Unfortunately as we age a lot of things surface that we didn't have to worry about when we were younger. Good for you, staying on top of this.
    2301 days ago
    great job keeping track of all that. the imaging that can be done now in a non invasive way is tremendous. it always helps to know what you are working with so if there are simple basic things that can be done to improve things, you can do them. glad the tests are turning out well.
    2302 days ago
    Great Advice !
    2302 days ago
    Very good advice! Take care of yourself.
    2302 days ago
    Good for you Karen, we all should take an interest in our health. Doctors won't really tell you anything unless you ask. I always ask when they do any tests.

    Both of my brothers have Cardiomyopathy with my younger brother also having AF and Left Ventricular failure. I've been to my Cardiologist and he's given me the all clear after various stress tests, ECGs etc etc.

    Also anyone who isn't sure what their doctors are on about or don't think they are as attentive as they should, GET A SECOND OPINION. Nothing to be lost by asking someone else their opinion
    2302 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/23/2015 5:14:35 AM
  • LINDA!
    I am so happy that you posted this. I am sorry for the murmur. But seeing the cardiologist is a great thing. I had no idea that I had heart disease until I was 49 (10 years ago.) Being proactive is the wise choice. I hope that you have good news from the Cat scan.
    2303 days ago
  • JANET552
    Great advice!! Thanks!
    2303 days ago
  • no profile photo CD14575754
    Good advice... I'm glad you're keeping on top of this. My Dad lived to 89 with a heart murmur, and I have one too. I get EKG's done yearly, and also see my Doctor every six months. So far so good. emoticon emoticon
    2303 days ago
    Glad you're keeping an eye on this! My grandmother lived to be 87 despite congestive heart failure, so a lot can be done! emoticon I see my doctor every 3 months despite being perfectly healthy now.
    2304 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5941250
    Good reminder. I still recall when I was referred to a cardiologist and he gave me a stress test. When I am back in his office he said "well there is some bad news" I braced myself and then he said "you are not going to put my kids through college" I laughed in relief. He did say I had something that might be a problem in 20 years, so like you I am going back every 1-2 years to have it checked.
    2304 days ago
    Glad you're diligent about your health! HUGS
    2304 days ago
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