My Echocardiogram and Lessons Learned

Posted by D Sharp - November 16, 2011 - DSharp - No Comments

After seven years of living with type 1 diabetes, diagnosis I was sent for an echocardiogram. I wasn’t experiencing any symptoms to question the health of my heart, but I was four months pregnant and my doctor felt it was time to see how my heart was holding up to the looming risks and complications of diabetes.

I was able to approach the test with curiosity and and a bit of cockiness because I was pretty confident that I was going to rock this test with a strong beat, open valves and a nice flow — sounds a little more like a musical composition than a heart ultrasound.

Taking care of my heart

I realize I’m fortunate to have felt this ease going into the appointment. I was definitely the youngest one in the waiting room and I appreciate that this was a prophylactic measure. I also feel thankful that the cost was covered as a Canadian citizen.

Perhaps one day I will not feel such ease. However, I hope that I will be comfortable with the procedure as a routine part of my diabetes care.

As I’ve learned recently, there are many types of echocardiograms and the one I had was a transthoracic one. It was pretty fast, about 25 minutes, and it was relatively painless. I experienced a little bit of discomfort as the transducer was pushed against my chest, but it was very mild.

The Results:

My heart is in good shape and I hope to keep it that way. Statistics such as “80 per cent of people with diabetes will die as a result of a heart attack or stoke,” scare me. I’d rather not be part of that dismal number, so I’m going to take care of my heart.

I’m going to take care of it because my dad’s heart attack and death at 54 scared me way more than any statistic could. A lot of people don’t have a friendly, loving face attached to the statistics their doctors use to warn them to take care of themselves. But if you do, use it to take action and stay healthy.

My takeaway from this experience: The routine blood work, tests and frequent appointments, however annoying they can be, have to be done. Making them part of your regular care early on makes them a little less scary, plus you’ll be able to catch problems faster and think of measures to keep them little before they become big and threatening.


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