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Living in Fear

I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 1999 at the age of 42. My father died of heart disease in 1983 at the age of 52.

In January of 2009, I started living in fear---fear that I would not live to see the age of 53---just like my dad.

Before being diagnosed with congestive heart failure, I assumed my symptoms were the result of menopause. I started experiencing peri-menopausal symptoms in my early 40s and went into full-blown menopause at 50. I’m writing this to tell you, DO NOT MAKE THAT ASSUMPTION. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may be experiencing heart failure in addition to menopause:

•Shortness of breath during physical activity or even while lying in bed
•a sudden weight gain ( I chalked this up to a slow down in metabolism)
•swollen feet, ankles or legs
•fatigue or weakness
•confusion or decreased alertness (I was calling this “meno-moments.”
•nausea or loss of apetite
•rapid or irregular heartbeat
•the need to urinate more often during the night
•waking up due to shortness of breath
•frequent cough or wheezing
•swollen neck veins (I thought this was solely related to my thyroid disorder)

When your heart isn’t pumping properly, blood from the lungs or from the rest of the body backs up—similar to the way traffic backs up at rush hour. So get out of your traffic jam, visit your doctor and get your heart checked. You owe it to yourself to get to the heart of the matter.

I'm happy to report that I made it past 52 this year but I'm not taking anything for granted.


Anonymous said…
Thanks Bev for Real Talk. Many of us don't know or shrug off symptoms of a life threatening disorder. There's no need to attempt self diagnosis when our doctors have studied years to more accurately determine a condition, as well as offer life sustaining methods.
Anonymous said…
That is a great point Beverly. A lot of Boomers, specifically those facing or living with chronic medical conditions spend an enormous amount of time living in fear. My mom was the same way and it affected the types of activities she participated in or where she decided to travel.

One way to reduce the fear associated with health related issues is to prepare for a medical emergency by carrying some form of Medical ID.

This might provide some peace of mind. There is a company called miCARD - - that provides a medical ID card which contains your medical conditions,medications, allergies, surgical history,emergency contacts, etc. You can create the card online - it was designed by an ER Physician. It also stores her medical information online which was great because I could update her online med record even though we dont live in the same city. It was something I could do for my mom that allowed her to feel more comfortable living with her fear.

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