DR Jeff Foster is The Sun on Sunday’s resident doctor and is here to help YOU.
Dr Jeff, 43, splits his time between working as a GP in Leamington Spa, Warks, and running his clinic, H3 Health, which is the first of its kind in the UK to look at hormonal issues for both men and women.
See h3health.co.uk and email at [email protected].
Q) I’M 63 and I’ve had yearly blood tests since turning 60 but I’ve only just found out this doesn’t include a PSA test for prostate cancer.
Should I ask for one?
Bowen Ezzy, London
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A) In an ideal world the NHS would be more geared towards preventative health, with yearly screening for multiple conditions for everyone, to identify those with a raised risk of certain conditions.
The NHS does offer a free health check to everyone at 40, but it’s not yearly and not exhaustive.
In terms of getting a yearly PSA test, unless you have symptoms or have been advised to get this by a urologist it is not an NHS screening programme so you would need to approach a private clinic.
Q) I’M 85 years old. Last June I had an episode where my blood pressure rose, my heartbeat went up to 120bpm and became irregular, so my GP changed my regular medication which then controlled my heart rate and blood pressure.
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Since then, I get out of breath at times, even when sitting in a chair.
My heart rate and blood pressure stay the same when I have these spells.
I do also get some periods when I’m OK.
My breathlessness appeared to start when I started taking bisoprolol fumarate but my doctor says it is unrelated.
What do you think?
Brian Creber, Torquay
A) Irregular heartbeats are quite common and many of us get a fluttering sensation now and again that feels as if our hearts are not beating correctly.
For most people this sensation is fleeting, rare, and resolves in seconds.
For people with a condition known as atrial fibrillation this problem is more protracted and can be permanent.
It is generally caused by the top part of the heart not contracting properly, which means the signal to the ventricle below (the main chamber that pumps the blood round the body), can become irregular and the pulse then becomes more random.
This can be symptomless but can also result in blood not pumping round the body properly, which can result in shortness of breath, ankle swelling, tiredness, fainting or worse.
Although some patients can be electrically shocked back into a normal rhythm, for most cases, treatment is a combination of medicines that reduce the risk of having a blood clot, and also try to regulate and control the heart beat.
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This can be very tricky because the condition itself and its treatment can both cause shortness of breath.
My advice is to speak to a cardiologist to help you find a balance between symptom control and quality of life.
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