HealthDoctor Karen

Should my teen get heart screening?

Should my teen get heart screening?

Dear Karen

My 16 year old does a lot of sport and goes to the gym regularly. They are offering a heart screening service in his school. What is this?

KAREN SAYS: I understand your concern – you want to do what is in your son’s best interest. The key concern is if there is a family history of sudden death under the age of 40 years in the immediate family (parents, siblings and children) - then immediate family members should be referred to a specialist for screening in this instance.

Where there is no family history or personal history of unexplained fainting or cardiac problems, it is reasonable to examine your son and do a baseline ECG. If there are any concerns on the ECG, further tests can be organised.

So, get your son to go for the screening.

 

Dear Karen

I am 45 and have had trouble with my period over the last month. I have been bleeding for more than 10 days. Generally my periods are regular. I had breast cancer 10 years ago and I am nervous about my health since.

KAREN SAYS: Bleeding in between periods or bleeding after intercourse are worrying patterns and need to be checked out as a priority. However, a prolonged period is not necessarily indicative of pelvic disease. As with any woman of your age (between 25 and 60) you should get a cervical smear.

Given your history of breast cancer, it would be wise to get a referral to a gynaecologist who can decide if imaging and biopsy are required.