Health Plus: Signs from the heart - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus: Signs from the heart

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WATERLOO (KWWL)-- Sometimes one medical problem leads to the discovery of another.

When Charlotte Rady went in for a knee replacement, the pre-op physical uncovered something that had nothing to do with her knee.  Rady knew her heart wasn't acting like it should.

"The only symptom I noticed was when I was going to bed at night I would get pound, pound, pound in my chest and I thought, yeah, I do need to talk to the doctor about this," said Rady.

The 54-year-old needed a physical to clear her for knee replacement this past summer, but what doctors found had nothing to do with her knee.

"Here I am again with low ejection factor, so my diagnosis is non-ischemic cardiomyopathy," said Rady.

Dr. Richard Valente is her cardiologist at Waterloo's Covenant Medical Center.

"Most commonly when the heart muscle function is that reduced it's hard to do your daily activities. Taking a shower, climbing a flight of stairs, walking fast down the street is probably going to be hard to do because the heart needs normal pumping function to get blood to the rest of the body," said Valente.

He says Charlotte's cardiomyopathy or heart muscle disease is treatable in most patients to the point where it's reversed.

Dr. Valente "I would say 50 to 60 percent over a period of 3-6 months, some time longer, can recover near normal function."

Both doctor and patient agree getting screened is key to uncovering the potentially deadly condition.

"I think the first thing is to get to the doctor," Rady.

And though her recent knee replacement means she's still walking with a cane, Charlotte is definitely on the path to better health. After 38 years of smoking, she quit three years ago.

Charlotte, who lives in Cedar Falls, is also a cancer survivor.

Online Reporter: Tara Thomas

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