Vital Signs: Simple Sickness Gone Awry

A woman with mild congestive heart 
failure takes a drastic turn for the worse. 
Why is her heart suddenly flagging?

By Anna Reisman|Sunday, July 10, 2011
When 43-year-old Barbara Harris found herself panting as she climbed the steps to her front door, she knew something was wrong. She was overweight and had high blood pressure, but she’d never been sick like this. In the hospital, she was shocked when her doctors told her she was suffering from mild congestive heart failure. Because her high blood pressure had gone untreated for years, her heart muscle had been damaged and was now unable to pump enough blood for her body’s needs. Bloo...

The full text of this article is available to Discover Magazine subscribers only.

Subscribe and get 10 issues packed with:
  • The latest news, theories and developments in the world of science
  • Compelling stories and breakthroughs in health, medicine and the mind
  • Environmental issues and their relevance to daily life
  • Cutting-edge technology and its impact on our future
Already a subscriber? Register now!
Registration is FREE and takes only a few seconds to complete. If you are already registered on, please log in.