"I was diagnosed as being a new diabetic, I believe in 2002," Karen says. "Doctors were trying medications to find one that was best. After I initially started, I was on metformin, but I had some difficulty on it so they decided to try Avandia. I started it but I became ill almost immediately. It made my breasts swell and I got fat very quickly. I was not feeling well overall. Eventually the doctor took me off Avandia and I went back to metformin.
About a month later, I was at church and my foot and ankle swelled up; they were huge. I didn't hear anything about Avandia at the time and I don't think my doctor did because he didn't say anything about it. I got a doctor's appointment and found out I was in congestive heart failure and didn't know it. My heart was going crazy. The doctor put me on medication but I had to try a few medications to find the right one.
The doctor sent me to the hospital for an echocardiogram and they said that I had the congestive heart failure, and then they checked my lungs and they said that I had pulmonary hypertension. I've been struggling because I didn't know what I could have taken that caused that. I've been having tests done every year since.
Then I had a stroke, and what scared me the most was that the MRI showed that I had previously had a stroke but I didn't know that I had one. [Karen was not told when the previous stroke would have occurred.]
I have searched and done everything I can do to figure this out. The only thing that bothered me [caused a reaction] was the Avandia.
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It was about a month later that I had the foot swelling and congestive heart failure. No one mentioned the Avandia as a cause in 2002. At that time, no one was saying anything about Avandia; I don't think we knew to look at it as a possible cause. I have continued with the tests and everything on my heart to make sure that I didn't get any worse.
I would suggest that, if you're taking Avandia, to watch yourself. Sometimes you get busy and forget. Monitor yourself. You're the only one who's going to know how you feel. They [doctors] don't know all the time."