Women's Heart Health

Quovardis was experiencing headaches, stress, swelling and fatigue. The busy working mom from Pickerington, Ohio, thought that every mother experienced these problems. But when she also started having heart palpitations – where her heart would speed up to the point where she was gasping for air – it became clear that something was seriously wrong. She decided to stop ignoring her symptoms and see a doctor.

Quovardis Gets a Wake-Up Call

Quovardis and her husband, Carlo, share the experience of hearing that she wouldn't live until the end of the year unless she got her condition under control.

Putting Everyone Else First

Quovardis and Carlo talk about how putting everyone else first and ignoring her symptoms caused Quovardis's health to deteriorate.

Raynaud's Disease

Carlo and Quovardis explain the debilitating effect Raynaud's disease had on Quovardis' heart.

A Life Transformed

Quovardis describes what her debilitating symptoms were like prior to seeing her cardiologist Dr. Laxmi Mehta, and how Ohio State's care transformed her life.

Advice to Moms

Quovardis and Carlo give advice to women about recognizing the symptoms of heart disease, and seeing a doctor if you experience them.

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's 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's 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's heart.

Treatment, medication, exercises 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's heart because it had to work too hard 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.

Why choose Ohio State for women's heart health?

Ohio State's Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital is routinely recognized by U.S.News & World Report as a leader in cardiology and heart surgery. The success of our Heart and Vascular Center is due, in part, to the strong multidisciplinary teamwork and collaboration among our cardiologists, electrophysiologists, cardiac surgeons and vascular surgeons, as well as our nurses, physician assistants and patient coordinators. This teamwork and our comprehensive evaluations ensure optimal care, and enable us to make the best choices for each patient.

At The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, we focus on three areas of women's heart health:

  • Clinical services
  • Education
  • Research

You can set up an appointment with the Women's Cardiovascular Health Clinic via referral – either a self-referral or a physician-referral – held at Stoneridge in Dublin or at the Center for Women's Health. Depending on your health, you'll be:

  • Evaluated for your risk of developing heart disease
  • Assessed and treated for heart-related symptoms
  • Treated for known heart disease conditions

If needed, you may undergo laboratory testing or diagnostic testing such as an echocardiogram, cardiac MRI or an exercise stress test for further evaluation. A unique aspect of care that we provide at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center is the ability to assess for microvascular disease (MVD) utilizing cardiac MRI technology. MVD is a frequent cause of chest pain in women that is often underdiagnosed and undertreated.

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