Posted by: Marcelle | 2005/07/28

Electric shocks/heart beat

Dear Dr. Please could you advise me..... I have in the past been diagnosed with HBP however, I have monitored myself over the last 4 months and my blood pressure is pretty normal. HOWEVER my query/ worry is this. From time to time, on my left side I experience (as best I can describe) "electrified heart beats"... meaning that for a few beats or throbs under my breast into my chest and also feels like my arm elbow I experience little "shocks" so intense that it makes me alomst lose my breath for that moment.... then its over, and can either happen a few times in a day, or I can go for weeks with nothing happening.. What is this? My brother had a 5 bypass being a very healthy fit 63 yr old, Oh! my cholesterol is 53, and I am about 24 kgs overweight, and working on that.... although i am menopausal.
and do not get enough excercise because of hot flushes.
Thanks in adavance for your advice.

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Our expert says:
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Dear Marcelle,

As you don’t say what your BP actually is, I can’t comment on it being “pretty normal” or not. Remember, anything above 120/80 is not normal. Also, I think there may be a typo mistake – surely your cholesterol is not 53 ?!!

Now for the rest. You need to shed that weight urgently. You have a strong family history of heart disease, and, being menopausal, your risk is now increased. If you are battling with hot flushes, please see your gynae with a view to HRT. Once the flushes are dealt with, you will feel so much better, and will be able to tackle the weight and exercise problem – that is, assuming that you have no contra-indications to using HRT.

Your symptoms re the heartbeats could be innocuous skipped beats, but with your history, it could be more serious. Without ECG monitoring, one cannot say what they are. The best solution is to be seen by a cardiologist, with a view to a full cardio exam, perhaps a treadmill test, and 24 ECG monitoring. That way, you will have a clear diagnosis, and not just guesswork.

I wish you well.

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