Is it ok to ask doctors for an ecg?

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Anonymous #1
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I posted before but no one replied so I’m asking again as I genuinely don’t know what to do. I’ve been to my GP twice this week because of my health anxiety and my mum has also called them about me being anxious. Because of this, I don’t really feel as if I can go again yet if I don’t go idk what to do. I’m so worried about a cardiac arrest and am wondering if it’s ok to ask for an ecg for reassurance so that after that I can start working on my health anxiety. It’s not completely for no reason either as a few months ago I woke up 2 nights in a row with a racing heart which really scared me. My mum thinks there’s no point going because I might just find something else to worry about afterwards and maybe that is true but it’s not definite and right now I just want answers because it’s stopping me revising for my A levels because I’m so worried. Please give advice
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skylark2
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You can ask, but you are not going to be a priority and it is unlikely that it would happen before your exams. There is no point building yourself a scaffold of "I can't possibly revise until..." excuses based around it. If you can't revise until you get an ECG you will be going into your exams having not revised - and even if they gave you an ECG right now, if you have an intermittent irregular heartbeat because of stress (which is extremely common) nothing will show up unless it randomly happens while you're hooked up to the machine. There really isn't any point sugar-coating that and you are going to have to decide how to deal with it.

Have you tried giving up caffeine? It isn't a cure for a serious medical problem but it does work for a lot of people who just have a bit of an irregular heartbeat. Worth a try, at least.

I'm sorry you are so anxious. I know what it's like to be irrationally scared of something and it's horrible. It is also normal to be anxious about important exams. But you've got to decide whether you are going to tell yourself "I can't possibly revise because I am anxious" or "I'm anxious, I hate it, it sucks, and I'm going to revise anyway."
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by skylark2)
You can ask, but you are not going to be a priority and it is unlikely that it would happen before your exams. There is no point building yourself a scaffold of "I can't possibly revise until..." excuses based around it. If you can't revise until you get an ECG you will be going into your exams having not revised - and even if they gave you an ECG right now, if you have an intermittent irregular heartbeat because of stress (which is extremely common) nothing will show up unless it randomly happens while you're hooked up to the machine. There really isn't any point sugar-coating that and you are going to have to decide how to deal with it.

Have you tried giving up caffeine? It isn't a cure for a serious medical problem but it does work for a lot of people who just have a bit of an irregular heartbeat. Worth a try, at least.

I'm sorry you are so anxious. I know what it's like to be irrationally scared of something and it's horrible. It is also normal to be anxious about important exams. But you've got to decide whether you are going to tell yourself "I can't possibly revise because I am anxious" or "I'm anxious, I hate it, it sucks, and I'm going to revise anyway."
I don’t have caffeine anyway so that isn’t an issue. I literally don’t know what to do because I’ve been worried about my health before but this time it feels different and I just feel so confused and scared. I thought ecgs only took 5/10 minutes and could be done at your GP surgery?
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elixirhtc
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Yes you can ask from your doctor ...
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macpatgh-Sheldon
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Good morning young lady/man,

Firstly, take it easy:- It is quite unlikely that you have a serious cardiac condition at the age of 17/18; if you had an inherited cardiac disease , then chances are you would have had serious symptoms such as cyanosis [blue skin and nailbeds due to poor oxygenation of the blood], dyspnoea [breathlessness], etc in early childhood or your doctor would have picked up a heart murmur on the routine screening every newborn baby goes through.

You say you have anxiety; what did your GP say when you saw him/her twice recently? Remember tachycardia [a "racing" heartbeat] is a known symptom of anxiety states cos adrenaline is released from the adrenal glands [cap-like structures on top of the kidneys].

An ECG cannot predict a "cardiac arrest" except under some very rare situations, and as I said, even common cardiac conditions are v unlikely in a teenager, assuming you have no other symptoms.

Having said that, if you are worried, depending on how well you know your GP and the GP,s own preferences/style of practice, an ECG would do no harm, and if it is normal, as is v likely, it will give you some peace of mind, yeah?

Good luck & take care!
M
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skylark2
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I don’t have caffeine anyway so that isn’t an issue. I literally don’t know what to do because I’ve been worried about my health before but this time it feels different and I just feel so confused and scared. I thought ecgs only took 5/10 minutes and could be done at your GP surgery?
Your GP surgery may or may not have the facility and expertise to do it, and while you'd only be hooked up to the machine for 5-10 minutes, it's not instant to set up. You can ask. It's possible that they have the facilities, are not overflowing with other people who need urgent appointment time, and will be able to do it there and then. I don't think it's likely, though, not when you've already been in twice this week and it hasn't been offered.

Or you can go private. Do you have a job? It doesn't cost a huge amount of money.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by macpatgh-Sheldon)
Good morning young lady/man,

Firstly, take it easy:- It is quite unlikely that you have a serious cardiac condition at the age of 17/18; if you had an inherited cardiac disease , then chances are you would have had serious symptoms such as cyanosis [blue skin and nailbeds due to poor oxygenation of the blood], dyspnoea [breathlessness], etc in early childhood or your doctor would have picked up a heart murmur on the routine screening every newborn baby goes through.

You say you have anxiety; what did your GP say when you saw him/her twice recently? Remember tachycardia [a "racing" heartbeat] is a known symptom of anxiety states cos adrenaline is released from the adrenal glands [cap-like structures on top of the kidneys].

An ECG cannot predict a "cardiac arrest" except under some very rare situations, and as I said, even common cardiac conditions are v unlikely in a teenager, assuming you have no other symptoms.

Having said that, if you are worried, depending on how well you know your GP and the GP,s own preferences/style of practice, an ECG would do no harm, and if it is normal, as is v likely, it will give you some peace of mind, yeah?

Good luck & take care!
M
The thing is that some conditions can be asymptomatic but greatly increase your risk of cardiac arrest which is what I'm so worried about. I'm also concerned because I do feel my heart beating in my chest after exercise and ik its supposed to beat faster but idk if you're meant to feel it. However I'm also worried about contacting my GP as I feel like they might be annoyed at me/I am wasting their time.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by skylark2)
Your GP surgery may or may not have the facility and expertise to do it, and while you'd only be hooked up to the machine for 5-10 minutes, it's not instant to set up. You can ask. It's possible that they have the facilities, are not overflowing with other people who need urgent appointment time, and will be able to do it there and then. I don't think it's likely, though, not when you've already been in twice this week and it hasn't been offered.

Or you can go private. Do you have a job? It doesn't cost a huge amount of money.
I haven't been in twice about my heart, I've been in about other things because with health anxiety my mind just jumps from one thing to another. But this time its different because you don't necessarily need to have symptoms to be worried.
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_gcx
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I don't mean to sound dismissive, but waking up with a racing heart considering everything else could well just be anxiety. Anxiety can feel pretty extreme/existential.

(Original post by Anonymous)
The thing is that some conditions can be asymptomatic but greatly increase your risk of cardiac arrest which is what I'm so worried about. I'm also concerned because I do feel my heart beating in my chest after exercise and ik its supposed to beat faster but idk if you're meant to feel it. However I'm also worried about contacting my GP as I feel like they might be annoyed at me/I am wasting their time.
That's normal
Last edited by _gcx; 1 month ago
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by _gcx)
I don't mean to sound dismissive, but waking up with a racing heart considering everything else could well just be anxiety. Anxiety can feel pretty extreme/existential.


That's normal
Ok thanks for the reassurance. I'm still scared that it isn't normal because when I took some propranolol that was prescribed to help with my panicking I noticed that I didn't feel the same sensation after exercise.
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macpatgh-Sheldon
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Ok thanks for the reassurance. I'm still scared that it isn't normal because when I took some propranolol that was prescribed to help with my panicking I noticed that I didn't feel the same sensation after exercise.
Hi again,
Propranolol is a beta-adrenergic receptor antagonist, so it reduces the increase in heart rate provoked by your anxiety - it was prescribed to dampen the effects of the adrenaline/noradrenaline I mentioned before - hence the awareness of your heart beating [fast] during exercise [called "palpitations"] will oc be less so when taking this drug. NOTHING to worry about!.
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becausethenight
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You can always ask, and you could also use it as an opportunity to speak to the GP about your anxiety?

The only thing I would say though is from a medical perspectve an ECG can only show if you're currently having a cardiac arrest, or possibly if you have an arrythmia or underlying condition that could increase your risk. It can't guarantee you'll never have one, so at the end of the day the most important thing to address here is the anxiety as well.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by becausethenight)
You can always ask, and you could also use it as an opportunity to speak to the GP about your anxiety?

The only thing I would say though is from a medical perspectve an ECG can only show if you're currently having a cardiac arrest, or possibly if you have an arrythmia or underlying condition that could increase your risk. It can't guarantee you'll never have one, so at the end of the day the most important thing to address here is the anxiety as well.
Yes I know it can't guarantee it but like you say it can detect underlying conditions. You are right about the anxiety I am just struggling a lot at the moment because I'll try to rationalise it but its not like anyone can guarantee that something bad isn't going to happen so it can be difficult to do. I'm also feeling conflicted because I want to contact my GP for reassurance but because I know this is an unhealthy coping mechanism in the long term and I'm worried about wasting their time I feel like I'm doing something bad and I will be punished for it by getting ill/I will get ill and I won't be able to contact my GP because no one will believe me that it isn't just anxiety. Maybe that is just my anxious thoughts though but it feels so real in my head :/
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macpatgh-Sheldon
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Yes I know it can't guarantee it but like you say it can detect underlying conditions. You are right about the anxiety I am just struggling a lot at the moment because I'll try to rationalise it but its not like anyone can guarantee that something bad isn't going to happen so it can be difficult to do. I'm also feeling conflicted because I want to contact my GP for reassurance but because I know this is an unhealthy coping mechanism in the long term and I'm worried about wasting their time I feel like I'm doing something bad and I will be punished for it by getting ill/I will get ill and I won't be able to contact my GP because no one will believe me that it isn't just anxiety. Maybe that is just my anxious thoughts though but it feels so real in my head :/
"...I will be punished for it by getting ill..."

Punished by whom? If you are worried about imaginary creatures in the sky called "god" deliberately giving you a serious illness, PLEASE get this thought out of your mind NOW - nobody is going to punish you; if, on the other hand, you think your GP will punish you, do have some confidence in him/her - doctors are there to help relieve illness NOT to induce it [Shipman was a psychotic one-off.]
Last edited by macpatgh-Sheldon; 1 month ago
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the bear
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of course you can ask the doctor. that is what they are there for.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by macpatgh-Sheldon)
"...I will be punished for it by getting ill..."

Punished by whom? If you are worried about imaginary creatures in the sky called "god" deliberately giving you a serious illness, PLEASE get this thought out of your mind NOW - nobody is going to punish you; if, on the other hand, you think your GP will punish you, do have some confidence in him/her - doctors are there to help relieve illness NOT to induce it [Shipman was a psychotic one-off.]
I don't mean an exact person will punish me, I guess I imagine in my head that something bad will happen idk its a problem of mine and even though I know its not true I still get those thoughts.
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macpatgh-Sheldon
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I don't mean an exact person will punish me, I guess I imagine in my head that something bad will happen idk its a problem of mine and even though I know its not true I still get those thoughts.
Just some advice analogous to that I have given to some of my students in the past: [only a suggestion. if these thoughts are bothering you, [and it is well nigh impossible to abolish them often], then displace them by doing s-t you enjoy: a hobby e.g. drawing/painting or some craft] - oc I am conscious of your imminent exams, BUT HEALTH IS UTMOST PRIORITY - I would even consider deferring exams to Jan 2023 or later.

OC decision is yours.
Best of luck!
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by macpatgh-Sheldon)
Just some advice analogous to that I have given to some of my students in the past: [only a suggestion. if these thoughts are bothering you, [and it is well nigh impossible to abolish them often], then displace them by doing s-t you enjoy: a hobby e.g. drawing/painting or some craft] - oc I am conscious of your imminent exams, BUT HEALTH IS UTMOST PRIORITY - I would even consider deferring exams to Jan 2023 or later.

OC decision is yours.
Best of luck!
Thanks so much for the advice
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