It took two heart attacks for Katherine, at the age of 52, to realize that she had an autoimmune disease. For several years, her symptoms were blamed on female hormones or premenopause. Today, she calls on women to be more attentive to their symptoms and their bodies.
Katherine was the victim of two heart attack in 2020 at the age of 52. A purpose that could perhaps have been avoided if she had been better listened to and if her symptoms had not been constantly blamed on female hormones. In all, Katherine will have endured approximately 11 years of medical wandering. He would have needed two heart attacks only to discover that she actually had Graves’ disease (a form of hyperthyroidism). Top Health shares his story with you.
Eleven years before her heart attack, she already feels pain in her elbow
Katherine used to run with his dog, Puglia. Regional director of a clothing company for more than ten years, she exercised a job that required a lot of time, but in which she fully blossomed. Every morning, however, Katherine took time for herself by going to let off steam and run 8 to 10 km in the Bois de Vincennes. It is precisely during her race that she one day feels a warning symptom. ” About 11 years ago, I felt pain in my left elbow which as I ran, radiated down my wrist to the tips of my fingers. It then manifests itself in each of my races, from the start, lasts barely a few minutes, then the pain disappears “says Katherine.
At first, she pays no attention to it. But the more the weeks pass, the more the pain is felt with the effort. ” It was like a strong heat, tingling inside the very muscle of my forearm “, she describes.
Katherine ends up telling her general practitioner who immediately thinks of elbow tendonitis. However, despite painkillers and physiotherapy sessions, the pain worsens.
” I decide to go to consult in internal medicine at the hospital. I want to understand what is happening to me. I haven’t run for over a year because of the pain, I’m tired, out of breath, I have back pain, neck pain, severe pain in my legs, night and day, to the point of having great difficulty in getting up, the pain is so strong, a kind of violent body aches, ophthalmic migraines, I begin to gain weight. But my GP and my gynecologist put it down to hormones. So I am a 51 year old woman probably in premenopause. Even though blood tests say otherwise… “recalls the patient.
Katherine was affected by a form of hyperthyroidism
In March 2020, a doctor checks his heartbeat, among other things, and nothing seems suspicious. It was during confinement that Katherine’s condition worsened. ” I can no longer lie on my stomach because my heart is pounding in my chest”.
Two appointments are then planned for the following May 12, to check the blood and nerve circuit between Katherine’s neck and left wrist.
” On May 12, after having passed the two examinations, armed with the reports, I climbed a floor to go to the internal doctor’s office. Suddenly, in front of his door, I have to sit down, seized with an even stronger pain. I find myself in the cardiology department, hospitalized for four days. Dozens of exams and a coronary angiogram later, I come home with a heart treatment “.
A month later, to the day, Katherine finds herself a victim of a second heart attack.
Two months later, after seeing three endocrinologists, Katherine discovers that she has Graves’ disease (a form of hyperthyroidism). ” I didn’t know that the thyroid and the heart were so linked “. This is an autoimmune disease that causes your body to fight against your thyroid hormones. The cardiac complications generated by the Graves disease can be serious. That’s what happened to Katherine.
Hyperthyroidism usually involves significant weight loss. ” Exception which confirms the rule, I had taken 14 kilos the year before. So no one had suspected this disease. We also find fatigue, changing moods… They were confused with menopause in my case. “, she adds.
“I was told ‘you’re a woman, it’s normal!’ »
The truth is, for Katherine, the clues had been there for a long time.
” I had ophthalmological migraines the week before my period for a very long time. We blamed it on my hormonesremembers the patient. I suffered from vagal discomfort several times a month. And I’m not a hypochondriac at all. I always took some time before consulting. I was still told ‘You are a woman, it’s normal, it’s hormonal’ “.
Katherine is now being treated for Graves’ disease and is stabilized. She has had no symptoms since her two heart attacks. It obviously remains very followed.
Today, Katherine has a heart to sensitize women to be more attentive to their symptoms, their body and the signals it sends. For this reason, she testifies and is one of the ambassadors for the foundation Acting for the hearts of women*.
” You have to accept it: women are different from men. We have common symptoms, but not all. And we have this ability to feel certain warning signs which would allow us to anticipate many things. But for that, the medical profession must stop blaming the slightest symptom on female hormones. says Katherine.
*Acting for the hearts of women is the origin of Women’s Heart Bus : he offered free cardiac examinations to women in precarious situations. On the night of June 28 to 29, in a context of urban violence, it was deliberately set on fire. The fire caused €350,000 in damage and the loss of 800 medical files. The foundation is therefore calling for donations to once again allow women to take care of their health. To donate, go to https://lnkd.in/eFkNgffC.