Nov 10, 2009
Well, I have to say how much I appreciate all the notes and PM's from everyone about my doctor appointment yesterday. I was pinning SO much hope on the report of the echocardiogram and it seems like it was all for nothing; yet I don't understand enough about heart issues to really know what it all means.
Maybe someone out there will understand better than I do.......??
Here's what the written report says:
1) LV size, wall thickness and systolic function are normal. ---- (yep, that sounds good)
2) Mild to moderate aortic regurgitation.
3) There is mild mitral regurgitation.
4) Mild tricuspid regurgitation.
5) There is mild pulmonary hypertension.
6) The ascending aorta is borderline dilated measuring up to 3.9 cm. (This one didn't sound so good)
7) EF is greater than 70 %. (From what I could find, this is good too.)
The pulmonic valve was not well visualized.
So -- there's at least 3 leaking valves, plus the dilated aorta and they tell me this could not/would not cause me to have the pounding heart beat, fatigue, shortness of breath, etc that seem to keep getting worse. I can barely do anything without huffing and puffing with the least little effort. I wake up in the middle of the night with this heart beat that totally "fills the room" and sounds like it came from a psycho movie. Sometimes it wakes me up around 11:30 or so - then I can usually go back to sleep, but if it's much later than that, I rarely go back to sleep. I have to get up at 3:30 am anyway, so when this "thing" wakes me up at 1:30 or whatever, I might as well just get up, because the chances of going back to sleep are very slim. Then of course, I'm dragging all the next day!!
I've been on blood pressure med for years and was recently put on atenolol (beta blocker) for, what I thought, were heart palps -- but the doctor says they aren't palps, they are skipped beats. Is there a difference? But what on earth would cause my heart to skip almost every other beat? Anyway, the atenolol has helped with the palps/missed beats AND it helped bring my blood pressure down, BUT -- I have to cut the dosage in 1/2 now because it also lowered my heart rate too much --- it's mostly currently running in the upper 50's, sometimes raising to mid 60's and sometimes lowering to low 50's/upper 40's.
Anyway, I have a very distinct "heart beat" in my stomach, so the doctor says that since there isn't anything wrong with my heart(?), he wants a CTA (not even really sure what that is) done to see if there's something below that's causing the trouble, though he didn't really seem to think there would be.
We had also done a micronutrient blood test, which came back showing that I am deficient in several things -- zinc, oleic acid and glutathoine and that my total antioxidant function is deficient. Again, he sent me home with a ton of vitamins, etc, but doesn't think this will cause my symptoms.
There were 2 things that he suggested -- can't imagine why either of them would have surprised me, but they did!!
One thing he suggested is that the shortness of breath, pounding heart, etc could be caused by thyroid -- he's right, it could but I don't think it is. He "insisted" and *I* don't agree, that I'm hyper and the dosage of my thyroid med is too high -- yep, he's basing that on my TSH level, which is 0.02 (very low), BUT my FT3 and FT4 are both right at mid range. He said for me to lower my T4 med, but I'm not going to do that --- I worked too hard and too long to get those levels up there and I'm not taking a chance on messing that up. Besides, this is NOT the doctor that's in charge of my thyroid issues and it's not HIS decision to make.
The other thing he suggested is that these symptoms could be caused by anxiety.........here we go with THAT diagnosis -------- if all else fails, blame it on anxiety/depression!! I'm not saying that all of this isn't CAUSING anxiety, because it certainly is. I've lost both my natural parents, and an older brother to heart issues, plus another of my brothers has had to have stents put in, etc. so of course, any mention of heart issues, certainly gets my attention. The thing is --- I began having the symptoms, long before anyone even CONSIDERED that I might have a heart problem. Everyone, including myself, put it down to thyroid, thinking the symptoms would ease, whenever my thyroid levels got in line; well, now they are and those symptoms keep getting progressively worse - particularly the shortness of breath. I keep wondering if I'm missing something with the thyroid, but can't for the life of me think what it could be.
The one thing we both agreed on is that my weight could have something to do with the shortness of breath, etc. I have got to sit down and come up with an eating plan that I can stick with. HE told me get a book called "Miami Mediterranean Diet" -- that's all well and good, I eat a lot of things that lean toward the Mediterranean type diet, but I know I can't live on fish and chicken for very long ------ and I also know that whatever I come up with HAS to be something I can live with. And then there's the exercise -- gotta get back into that but because I get so short of breath, it's been really hard to maintain a program.
But here's a dilemma --- last year, I was sent to a cardiologist, who did a stress test and echocardiogram. HE'S the one who found "a leaky valve" -- but he didn't tell me which valve it was. The last time I saw him was in Jan of this year and he said that the leak was "insignificant" and that he wanted to do another echo in 1 yr, so they scheduled an appt for Jan 2010. Well, recently when I started going to this new pcp and told him of the symptoms I was having, he wanted to do an echo. I told him that I have an appt with the cardiologist in Jan and he said "no, we don't want to wait that long". Then I suggested that maybe I call the cardiologist and try to get in sooner. Again, he said that wasn't necessary. So, I went ahead and proceeded with the echo, etc. Now, I'm finding that this is most likely NOT the problem, but it's still scaring the daylights out of me, because of course, my pcp is just THAT -- he's not a cardiologist.........AND when I saw the cardiologist, he said I had ONE leaky valve; NOT 3.....
I'm trying to decide what to do about the cardiologist -- I mean I'm sure my insurance is not going to authorize another echo that soon and I don't even know if I NEED another one that soon. Probably, what I will do, is call the cardiologist after I get through this CTA scan and send him the findings, then let HIM tell me what to do. Of course, I will give him permission to get the records from my pcp......I don't know what else to do.........
I hate for this to be happening -- I mean after all I've been through with the pernicious anemia, then the thyroid issues, I really DO feel so much better than I did for a lot of years and at times I have all kinds of energy and really WANT to get out and do stuff, now I can't breathe -----------
Anyone have any suggestions?? Am I truly losing my mind?? Am I only IMAGINING that I can't breathe whenever I try to walk very far or do anything strenuous?? Do I just need to push myself harder in hopes of building back my breathing capacity?