Get an ECG now or wait?

RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
I am 30 years old, have type one diabetes and am overweight, and while my blood pressure is a little high my most recent blood test suggested everything was fine. I've been improving my diet and exercising regularly. Except for a brief period of heart palpitations a couple of years ago that I think I can attribute to stress, I've never experienced any cardiovascular grief.

My father's family has heart disease - grandfather died of it, one uncle has had two heart attacks - so with my own medical complications I figured it would be a good idea in later life (like when I turn 40) to get a pre-emptive Electro Cardiogram so if there was a problem I'd know about it.

Well this week my mother's oldest brother - who was the fittest and healthiest of his brothers - was referred to hospital. Breathlessness led to a suspected diagnosis of angina, and the dye test to confirm it actually revealed he is in need of a quintuple bypass operation. This was pretty surprising, as until that the only heart trouble on my mother's side of the family came from heavy smokers.

So the doctor told my uncle that when heart disease is found like that, his siblings should get tests to see what's going on with their own tickers. My own mother has arranged one already.

So with the revelation of more heart disease in the family than I thought, is it prudent to maybe arrange an ECG in the short term future? Or is this being a touch of a hypochondriac?

As an aside my next check up at the diabetic clinic is next month, so I'm thinking whatever I decide will be based on what I find out then.


  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Speak to your doctor and see what they think.

    In my uneducated opinion, you have enough of a family history that having the information is better than not having the information, and doesn't seem like overreacting or hypochondria at all.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • hsuhsu Registered User regular
    My doc did an EKG as part of my physical; it took like 5 minutes. You're putting too much thought into a something that's basically a dozen sensors taped to different parts of your body for a few minutes.

  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Probably not a tomorrow thing but I'd bring it up at the diabetics appointment.

    That doesn't sound like your general practitioner though. Do you have one? You don't specifically mention things like triglycerides and cholesterol which are the blood tests that really relate to circulatory health. You may have included those in just general "bloodwork" though as they're super common. Anyways, depending on what you see at the diabetic clinic they may be well suited to deal with this (Internists i.e. MDs) to someone who is specialized in diabetes care and education (Nurse Educators or Dieticians).

    So I'd go with DON'T FREAK OUT, talk it over with a Doctor about how this changes your family medical history and your risk factors. If you haven't been having any of the blood work warning signs this is probably a "I should do that next time" thing rather than RIGHT NOW thing.

  • MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    CRNA here, licensed, etc - the same thing I post for all medical threads around here.

    You don't have the symptoms or the history to warrant an ECG out of the blue. In fact, regular exercise without chest discomfort is the best thing you've written - you don't have symptoms when you are active which is pretty much the definition for not having a cardiac abnormality.

    With that said, you are certainly at a higher risk for cardiac pathology due to your diabetes, weight, and hypertension.

    I'd tell you to voice your concern at your diabetic appointment.

    One thing to keep in mind is this - the ECG is not, in any form, a diagnostic of what 'will happen'. In fact, it's a diagnostic of 'what has happened' or 'what is happening'. What that means, is a normal ECG now in no way guarantees you're not about to have a cardiac event, but would tell you if you had one in the past or are having one at the moment the exam is being taken.

    I am in the business of saving lives.
    RMS OceanicceresJulius
  • RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
    Thanks for the advice. I think just adhering to my already scheduled appointment and working from there is the best approach.

    Also just to elaborate on "bloodwork": In addition to HbA1C (was abut 47mmol/mol, in the range the want me), they also sampled liver, kidney and thyroid function, and while I never got a number they were all described as normal. Also cholesterol was described as thus: LDL levels were in normal range, HDL levels are slightly lower than was ideal.

    I think one thing I'd like to do for future tests is request specific details about the tests and results so I can describe them with more accurate, like how I have a HbA1C number I can report. I exercise precisely because I'm aware of both the personal and genetic risks I face. I just needed to sound out how the mechanics of that risk have changed in light of my uncle.

    Thanks again!

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