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19 Apr 2006

ACCELERATED HEART BEAT
Hi Doc. My mom is forty three years old and is on medication for Hypertension. She has recently been complaining about an accelerated heartbeat, especially at night. She says she can actually hear her heart beating. About a month ago, she had a throat infection which has since cleared. But that was accompanied by a numb pain in the chest. She once suffered from heart desease when she was still a teenager, whereby she would just fall asleep anywhere. But it was treated and she was fine until recently. She thinks that it's coming back now. She's not overweight or anything, but one doctor (GP) she went to said it looks like it's her heart. She's gone for xrays and nothing was pcked up, but obviously the doctor did a physical examination, and took into consideration the descriptions she had, which is why he probably thought t's heart desease.

Do you know that the chronic medication she's on for hypertension could be a cause for this? How can she know for sure that it's not her heart that's giving up? What kind of tests can she go? She's not on medical aid. Please help me.
Answer 406 views
Expert
HeartDoc

01 Jan 0001

Dear Pretty,

There are literally hundreds of different medications used for hypertension, so I could not even guess which one your Mom is on. If you can provide me with the name on the packet or bottle, I may be able to explain to you how it works.

I know of no teenage heart disease which causes patients to fall asleep. What she probably had was rheumatic fever, which causes a high temperature, and that can make a child feel tired. If so, then she will not have rheumatic fever again. But the rheumatic fever may have damaged one or more valves of her heart, and they may now be narrowed or leaking.

A chest x-ray is not very helpful in the early stages of heart disease. What you mother needs is to be referred to a cardiologist. As she is not on a medical aid, your doctor can arrange for an urgent consultation with a cardiologist at your nearest state hospital. He can make the appointment by phone, and will need to give her a brief referral letter, in which he outlines the problem to the cardiologist. The cardiologist will then arrange the necessary tests, which cannot be done by the GP anyway.

I wish her good luck.

HeartDoc
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