Local mom diagnosed with heart disorder after giving birth - Fox 2 News Headlines

Local mom diagnosed with heart disorder after giving birth

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Deidre Todd  (Credit: Fox 2 News) Deidre Todd (Credit: Fox 2 News)
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SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) -

Being pregnant brings incredible changes to a woman's body, but a local woman had no idea it could break her heart.
 
Little Alex brings 46-year-old Deidre Todd so much joy, but his arrival caused her so much pain.  Shortly after his birth in August of 2009, she felt miserable.
      
"I associated it with just being old, fat and just had a baby," she said.

Eventually the patient care coordinator realized there was a problem.

"I have nausea.  My abdomen is distended.  I'm short of breath.  Please help me," she said.

Turns out Todd had what's called peripartum cardiomyopathy.  That's a weakened or damaged heart diagnosed during or shortly after pregnancy.  It can cause swelling, fatigue and even death.

"It effects about one in 2,000 to 4,000 women in the United States and it's more common in the African-American population.  It's more common in older mothers," said Beaumont cardiologist Dr. Pamela Marcovitz.

What leads an otherwise healthy woman's heart to fail during or after pregnancy?  Doctors really don't know, but Marcovitz said, "Pregnancy can be a stress on the body.  Your blood volume increases.  Your heart rate goes up, and by the second trimester it's a mini-stress test."

Now Todd spends time talking to women about her diagnosis and about how much her life has changed.  She's on daily medication and has an implanted defibrillator in case her heart stops.  Then there are the everyday challenges.
 
"I love good food.  My husband is a good cook and everything is not low-fat.  So I have to be diligent with that and finding time to exercise," she said.

After all, this wife and mother knows she's got at couple of good reasons to take good care of heart.

On Friday, we're celebrating women's heart health at the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women Luncheon.  It's happening at the MGM Grand.  Click here to learn how you can join us for this fundraiser.

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