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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What are the early signs of heart failure ?

I have been having severe pitting edema and difficulty doing anything physical. Moderate physical activity such as climbing up a flight of stairs or cleaning the house exhausts me and leaves me breatheless. I have started sleeping on 3 pillows so that I can rest easier. However, my blood pressure is very low (110/55) and I have low cholesterol (and high triglycerides). When I went to the doctor, she told me that it was probably nothing and gave me a diuretic (which doesn't work that well). Then, a close friend who is an emergency room doc got upset and told me to get an EKG and echocardiogram because she thinks it's heart failure. I did get an echocardiogram 4-5 years ago because of a valve problem, and everything was ok. Please share your experiences with and knowledge about heart failure with me so I can decide whether or not to fight my doctor to get these tests. Thanks in advance. I am in my early 40's, and I have a BMI of 33.
Wed, 16 Dec 2009
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The fact that you've had valve problems in the past is a red flag, and frankly, your doctor should have taked your concerns more seriously. Demand to see a cardiologist. I had similar symptoms in my early 30's, and my PCP tried passing it off as acid reflux and being overweight. I knew it was more, and told him that I was NOT leaving his office until he referred me to a cardiolist. Less than 2 months later, I had open heart surgery to repair my valve. For many people, myself included, the onset of heart failure is the first clue that something is wrong.
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