Carolyn's Story

Carolyn, a district nurse, was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy in 2017.

Soon after starting a new job she developed a cough and phlegm which lasted for about a week. Over the next few days she suspected it had developed into a chest infection. She also began to feel unusually anxious and increasingly breathless on exertion. Carolyn visited her GP who confirmed a viral chest infection and advised rest.

Carolyn’s symptoms persisted and she developed an ache between her shoulders. She returned to her GP and was prescribed antibiotics and Ibuprofen gel. Over the course of the next few days, her symptoms worsened, she began to feel anxious, almost agitated. She was unable to climb the stairs at home without help, or lie down flat in bed.

It was at this point Carolyn phoned the out of hours NHS service and her husband drove her to the on-call GP. She was admitted to hospital and following blood tests and an ECG, she was told she had heart failure, and the Echo showed she had dilated cardiomyopathy.

Carolyn’s diagnosis came as a huge shock, as a year earlier she had been walking the west highland way and had climbed Ben Nevis.

She now feels physically well but has ‘slowed down’. She continues to take medication and supplements, eats healthily and stays active, mostly walking, doing Pilates and occasionally cycling. Carolyn hopes to continue working part-time.