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Will You Share Heart Failure Warning Signs?

By EmpowHER
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Dr. Starling recalls the warning signs and symptoms of heart failure a woman will experience. Dr. Mark Starling is the Ajunct Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine/Cardiovascular Disease at the University of Arizona and sees patients at Banner Heart Hospital in Mesa, Arizona.

Dr. Starling:
When I talk to patients, particularly women who really kind of seem to have a greater sense of healthcare needs and the medical world and really keep a pretty close tab on it, they often ask, “How would I know if I were developing symptoms of heart failure or I was having a problem with my heart?” And my comment to them is that the signs, the early warning signs are pretty subtle. They are not floored shortness of breath because you got up and walked across the room. That’s latent in heart failure and that’s pretty obvious.

What you sense early are things such as, for example one woman came in to me and she wanted to know if this was a harbinger of heart failure. She said, “You know, last year I could go out and walk five miles and I was perfectly fine. I never got short of breath. I was never tired. I felt really comfortable and I felt good when I finished,” and said, “You know for the last couple or three months I can’t walk as far and I’m more fatigued when I am done,” and those are the subtle little things that suggest that there may be some underlying structural disease developing that is this subtle change in exercise tolerance, exercise capacity, things like fatigue, not necessarily shortness of breath but subtle little things like that that patients bring to doctors and not uncommonly are overlooked potentially, but you need to understand that those can be and should be considered potential early warning signs.

In women I found, when I interview patients and have patients come to the office, are very sensitive to those things. In point of fact I think women are probably more sensitive and more aware of those changes in exercise tolerance or capacity or those kind of things and onset of fatigue, than probably men are.

About Dr. Mark Starling, M.D.:
Dr. Mark Starling graduated from the University of Washington, B.A. Degrees, cum laude, History and Literature. After a studying French Language and Literature at the University of Paris in France, Starling returned to Washington to study medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He graduated in 1974 with honors. Over the years, Dr. Starling has been that Associate Professor of Medicine in the Departments of Internal Medicine and Cardiology Division at both the University of Texas and the University of Michigan.

Conditions: Heart Failure, Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure,

Related Terms: Shortness of Breath, Ejection Fraction, Edema, Exercise Intolerance, Fatigue, Echocardiogram, Electrocardiogram, Weak Heart Muscle

Expert: Dr. Mark Starling, Dr. Mark Starling, M.D., Doctor Starling, Chief Medical Officer Mark Starling, Women's Heart Health Specialist Cardiologist Dr. Mark Starling

Expertise: Peripheral Artery Disease, Heart Disease Risks, Heart Disease Management, Cardiac Metabolic Syndrome, Heart Disease Prevention, Blood Pressure Testing, Cholesterol Testing, Robotic Catheter Ablation, Coronary Artery Disease, Heart Failure Warning Signs, Heart Failure Prevention

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