Finding the Hidden Problem Was Key
"I thought I was a typical stressed-out, overworked mom."
Quovardis went to see her primary care physician, who initially told her to start dieting and exercising, and prescribed anxiety medication for stress. Quovardis took her doctor's advice, but she was so out of breath and fatigued that she struggled to complete even five minutes on the treadmill. When the medication didn't help at all, Quovardis and her doctor began a long, extensive round of testing to pinpoint the source of her disabling symptoms.
When multiple tests failed to uncover the source of her problem, and her health continued to decline, Quovardis' boss urged her to get a second opinion at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center — home to the largest group of female heart specialists in central Ohio. Quovardis made an appointment at the Women's Cardiovascular Health Clinic.
When Dr. Laxmi Mehta met with Quovardis, she knew something else had to be going on with her and was determined to find the cause of what others had missed. She decided to target the atypical features of Quovardis' symptoms, not getting distracted by the obvious risk factors such as excessive weight or anxiety. What she found was a hidden health problem that was destroying Quovardis' heart.
Treatment: Medication, Exercise and Tough Love
"Dr. Mehta told me that I probably wouldn't live until the end of the year if I kept going the way I was going."
Dr. Mehta diagnosed Quovardis with Raynaud's disease, a condition that limits blood circulation within the body. Raynaud's doesn't usually affect the heart, but fortunately, Dr. Mehta had the expertise to diagnose it. This abnormality was severely damaging Quovardis' heart, because it was being overworked trying to pump blood throughout her body. Dr. Mehta explained the seriousness of her condition and told Quovardis she wouldn't live to see her 40th birthday if she didn't turn her life around.
The first step was for Dr. Mehta to get Quovardis on the right medication and dosage to help her blood flow properly. After the blood flow was restored and she had more energy, Dr. Mehta then gave Quovardis the tough love she needed to start eating healthier and exercising.
She's Regained Control of Her Health
"Ohio State gave me back control of my life."
While poor health used to keep Quovardis from enjoying activities with her family, that's no longer the case. In fact, Quovardis knows the exact moment she realized she felt amazing. She was wrestling and horsing around with her teenage son Kae, and thought to herself, "Oh my goodness, I can keep up with this kid!"
Today, Quovardis feels like she's back in control of her life. She religiously takes her blood circulation medicine and has lost weight by following her prescribed diet and exercise plan. She also hopes that sharing her story will encourage busy women who may be experiencing heart disease symptoms—especially heart palpitations or extreme fatigue—to see a cardiologist.