Taking PCOS to Heart

November 13, 2011

Recently, I went to see my new care physician for a regular check up. She did a very thorough job. She did an EKG while I was in her office because there is a history of heart disease in my family on both sides.

Recently, I went to see my new care physician for a regular check up. She did a very thorough job. She did an EKG while I was in her office because there is a history of heart disease in my family on both sides. My mother had a stent inserted after angioplasty back in January almost 6 years to the day that my father died of a heart attack. My doctors also did the EKG because of the risk of heart disease with PCOS. The EKG came back borderline irregular and I have to go have a visit with a cardiologist sometime in the next month.

So often PCOS patients focus on the fertility aspect or the diabetes aspect or the hair aspect of PCOS. We forget there are other systems that are affected by PCOS as well. We forget that PCOS can cause heart disease and affect our circulatory system. We don't see our heart pumping or our blood going through our veins like we see our hairy chins or thinning hair.

Before my father died, my biggest fear, irrational as it seems, is that I would be at my own wedding and my dad would have a heart attack and nothing I could do would save him. I don't want my children (when I have them) to worry that mommy might have a heart attack or see my color change as an angina attack hits me. It is not an acceptable option.

My choice is to make the commitment to take better care of my entire self. Not just the diabetes, not just hair on my neck and chin, and not just my reproductive health.  This change in focus means that I have to change my habits. I find the time to exercise. I eat good, whole foods in moderate quantities. I watch the amounts of fats and carbohydrates I eat. I drink plenty of water (with a twist of lemon or lime to keep it from getting too boring). I got rid of the diet sodas. It's not an easy choice and there will be times that I mess up. But the rewards of a healthier me will be worth it.

My doctor's visit was a very sobering experience. Having an EKG done was my wake up call to make sure that I don't end up like my father. He had three heart attacks--the last one fatal--and severe angina for the last 20 years of his life.  It's made me take a very hard look at what I am doing to stay healthy and what I am putting in my body.