By Gail H. Marshall Brown, Ph.D.,
Are you, or someone you love, experiencing any combination of the following signs and symptoms:
• Irregular heartbeat (cardiac arrhythmia)
• Fatigue (excessive tiredness)
• Shortness of breath
• Swelling in lower legs (peripheral edema)
• Numbness, tingling, or pain in your fingers (bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome)
• Pain or numbness in your lower back or legs due to narrowing of lower spine (lumbar spinal stenosis)
• Eye disorders, such as glaucoma Intended only for residents of the United States
• Or other related symptoms?
Or have you been diagnosed with and is being treated for heart failure, but your symptoms are still unresolved? If yes, according to educational information provided via the National Newspapers Publishers Association (NNPA)- Pfizer, Inc. Awareness Campaign on ATTR-CM, it is important that you talk with your doctor (preferably your cardiologist) about the possibility of being tested for the “rare” heart condition, hereditary transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy, or ATTR-CM.
The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and Pfizer Inc. have been working with partners in various cities in the U.S. to raise awareness of this “serious but under-diagnosed condition that causes heart failure among African Americans and Afro-Caribbeans.”
These events, according to the partnership, will continue throughout 2023 to educate communities so they have the necessary information to talk to their doctors. This past Sunday, Nov. 5, NNPA and Pfizer, Inc. teamed with Voices for the Heart and the Sunday School Ministries of Jackson, Mississippi to hold the virtual, touring webinar for the citizens of Mississippi.
The discussion was lead by Oluyemi Badero, MD, invasive and interventional cardiologist.
Edison Brown, Jr. of Clinton, Miss. was among more than 100 citizens who “zoomed in” to watch and listen to the important heart health event on his family laptop computer.
“I was actually glued in on every word presented,” Brown said. An African-American U.S. Army veteran who suffers with several chronic health issues, Brown said after what he has learned via the webinar, he plans to talk with his doctor about some of the signs and symptoms discussed during the presentation. “I urge anyone else who is concerned to do the same,” he said. “We don’t always know what type of hereditary health problems we have lurking in our bodies from generation to generation of our families.”
An in-depth testimony that really got Brown’s attention, and no doubt other virtual viewers and listeners, during the presentation came from Randy Peters, a patient living with ATTR-CM. Below are snippets of Peters’ testimony:
“I saw six doctors before I was finally diagnosed with ATTR-CM – and my experience is not unusual. That’s why I’m so passionate about sharing my story…
“My symptoms started four years before I was diagnosed. I was experiencing shortness of breath during my routine jogs. I also developed carpal tunnel syndrome (a condition that causes numbness, tingling, or weakness in the fingers), which was diagnosed by my primary care doctor, but I thought it was the result of my days as a college professor. We didn’t discuss ATTR-CM. I never imagined the carpal tunnel could be linked to the shortness of breath I was experiencing; and certainly not my heart… “One day, as my daughter watched me struggle to make it up the stairs, she insisted I go to the emergency room. A doctor there suggested I be tested for ATTR-CM and later I was diagnosed with ATTR-CM…
“I hope my story will help other families get the right diagnosis and not have to go through what I did,” said Peters.
During the ZOOM presentation, 100% of webinar participants stated they personally knew someone suffering with a heart condition.
For resources on hereditary ATTR-CM, including a discussion guide to help conversations with your doctor, visit www.voicesfortheheart.com