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Diagnosed with DCM at 40 – A Hereditary Link?

Meet Andrea, who was recently diagnosed with genetic DCM at age 40, despite not having any symptoms. Andrea’s family experience with DCM started when her father was diagnosed with a reduced ejection fraction in his late 30s. For decades he lived an energetic life —running three miles a day until his mid- 60s—with asymptomatic DCM. He passed away at age 76 from heart failure.

While her father received quality care from a top hospital, to Andrea’s knowledge, there was never a discussion of a genetic cause or family screening. Similarly, Andrea had shared her family history with doctors over the years but was never referred to a cardiologist.

Two years ago, when Andrea visited an urgent care for an unrelated issue, the doctor happened to suggest that Andrea see a cardiologist, given her family history. When the visit to the cardiologist resulted in an abnormal ECHO, Andrea was referred to a specialist for further testing and, ultimately, a familial DCM diagnosis.

Andrea is grateful for the series of events that led her to informed doctors and great care. She continues to lead an active lifestyle—running, biking, or weight training most days while monitoring her health.

However, it is not lost on her that her diagnosis came by chance, not through systematic screening. She says she is “thankful to have found the DCM Foundation”, and “is passionate about their mission to raise awareness around the need for genetic testing among families and the medical community.” She hopes more people will be screened to protect their health and drive DCM research and treatment. 

 

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