Heart health-based questions
I've been told that I might have an irregular heartbeat when having check-ups in the past. How dangerous can this be, and should I get it looked into properly?
It would be advisable to have this professionally checked. The reason is that, although we all have extra and missed beats every day and probably every hour, there is a common condition called atrial fibrillation (AF) which, although not necessarily dangerous in itself, makes it more likely to develop blood clots, which can travel to the brain, resulting in strokes.
To avoid this, doctors thin the blood of people who have AF. An appointment with your GP and possibly an ECG will answer whether or not you have this condition.
How do you really tell the difference between indigestion and a more serious chest problem?
Without knowing more about you, such as your age and how long you've been experiencing symptoms, etc. it can be difficult to make a proper diagnosis. However, if you can relieve your symptoms easily with an over-the-counter antacid medicine or tablet, it's unlikely to be anything to worry about.
If the discomfort persists or there are any other symptoms, such as weight-loss, tiredness or loss of appetite, I would get it checked out by your GP.
When it comes to heart palpitations, should you have these checked out immediately or is it only in certain circumstances that it should be something to worry about? e.g., regularity.
You should get them checked out sooner rather than later even though most will not be anything to worry about.
The reason for this is that almost all of us get missed and extra beats most days and sometimes we may get a few seconds of missed or extra beats which feel like palpitations, but when they're checked out they are often found to be so infrequent that they’re not a cause for concern.
However, they can sometimes indicate a true alteration in the heart's rhythm, which may need treating. Usually, a simple ECG or a 24-hour ECG can resolve the problem of whether or not the palpitations are anything to worry about.