Nikki Dadarria, 57, of Lopatcong Township, New Jersey, always thought it odd that blood pressure cuffs were never able to read her measurements.
“Doctors and nurses always blamed the machine, and I assumed they were right,” she says.
Since she has fibromyalgia, she thought fatigue and shortness of breath were also related to it. She had no prior indication that anything serious was wrong with her heart until an appointment with her doctor in early 2014. When nurses tried to take her blood pressure, they struggled to get a reading. When her doctor walked in, Dadarria fought back and demanded a hand reading. And immediately her doctor thought something was wrong.
“He listened and thought he had heard something strange and sent me for an ECG (electrocardiogram). I had no chest pain and at 50 I thought I was too young to have heart problems,” she says.
However, further tests showed that something was seriously wrong: he was diagnosed with left bundle branch block, a problem with electrical conduction in the left ventricle. Her cardiologist, Ronak Patel, MD, with LVPG Cardiology, told her that her heart pumping function was at 16%, but should be between 50 and 70%. This weak function showed that she suffered from heart failure.
“It was so scary,” she says.