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Questions about enlarged heart

I'm 58 years old and overweight,  For now I use a power wheelchair but want to wean myself off it.  I got one a few years ago because of pain issues.

Losing weight during the height of the pandemic was impossible and at one point I was closing in on 370.  I'm now hovering around 350/340's and am making progress.  My blood sugar is back to where it should be and my A1C is 6.8.  

My blood pressure is bordering but improving w/o meds.  I have no insurance and what few doctors I see I can go to because of patient assistance programs.  I haven't been to a cardiologist for about 10 years.  When I did go, I was told my heart is ok but it's enlarged because of the weight I carried over the years.  At one point I was probably around 450 in my late teens/early twenties...then it dropped down to about 240 as I approached my mid-thirties but when Mom died in '99 due to a massive heart attack, I just didn't care about my diet and gained weight again.

I had two hernia surgeries, the first one was strangulated (2009) and second was incarcerated (2011).  I mention this because I always gain weight after surgery and both times I was temporarily over 400 pounds.

I saw a cardiologist a year or so after Mom died because I had chest pains and was worried I was following in her footsteps but he told me - after running alot of tests including a nuclear stress test - that my heart was fine except it was enlarged because of all the weight I carried over the years.  Subsequent stress tests confirmed this, the most recent was about 10 years ago.

I stopped going due to lack of money and insurance coverage.  So here I am, the same age as Mom and was reading up on George Michael.  I was curious about what caused his early passing about five years ago and come to find out, he had an enlarged heart too, myocarditis and a fatty liver.  I understand he did drugs too, but not sure what kind.

That got me thinking, am I going to end up like him?  He was in his early 50's., I'm older.  My blood sugar is under control, my cholesterol was never a problem, which is a miracle considering how heavy I used to be.  My primary care provider, who I see only because she gives me a break on office visits ($45 each time because I have no coverage) recently had bloodwork done inc. a CMP.  All of it came back normal.  

My former cardio told me my heart was fine and the only thing going on with it was it was enlarged.  I was not put on medicine for that but was told to lose weight, which has been a struggle.  I'm finally making progress and am hoping to live long enough to see me get down to where I should be, or close to it anyway, by my 60th birthday next year.  That gives me over a year, year and a half.

Am I going to keel over like George Michael did or my Mom?  As far as I know, she wasn't a diabetic but had issues with cholesterol.  She was supposed to have a stress test but never lived to have it.  It was scheduled for mid-June '99, she died the week before.

Can enlarged hearts be reversed with weight loss?

I can't stop worrying about this.  I've got alot going on in my life and getting through the pandemic has been very difficult.

Thank you.
1 Responses
159619 tn?1538180937
COMMUNITY LEADER
First off, worrying will only make things worse, become educated and believe what your doctors tell you. There are different types of enlarged hearts, did he mention cardiomyopathy? That's a general enlargement of the heart or did they tell you hypertrophic heart which is a thickening of the walls and a completely different beast, In either case, neither can be reversed but they can be controlled. I understand your financial situation but you need to be working with a cardiologist given your history. Have you looked into getting insurance through the ACA?
1 Comments
My now-former cardiologist didn't specify what kind of enlarged heart I've got.  He said it was like this due to all the weight I carried over the years.  I'm well under what I used to weigh but I got much more to lose.  I have no insurance now (except for Medicare A which is for hospitalization only) and the ACA is useless to me.  I went to the Federal healthcare site and was referred to the New York State marketplace, which told me I'm not eligible for assistance.  The Medicaid spend-down is too high and I don't qualify for a subsidy, so that leave me out.  I think that what George Michael had was dilated cardiomyopathy.  I am not sure what to do should I get sick because I have little coverage.  Thank you for responding!
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