‘What’s Up Doc’ is a health column in association with The Crawley Observer, which gives you the opportunity to ask questions regarding general health and wellbeing.
Answers are provided weekly from our specialist consultants at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital, Surrey. If it’s a long-standing illness or simply a worry which you would like to get off your mind then we would like to help.
This question appeared in The Crawley Observer on Wednesday 5 June 2013, to readers across Surrey and Sussex. The question and answer is below, as it appeared in the newspaper.
Read the response by Dr Martin Thomas, consultant cardiologist:
Spire, I am 54 years old and I would like an opinion with regards to my heart function as I have had hypertension for more than 20 years. I still experience tiredness, is there anything that can be done”? Thanks. Martin.
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for developing heart disease. It puts extra strain on your heart and blood vessels and over time this increases your risk of developing coronary artery disease, heart failure, kidney disease, and stroke.
Heart failure is a serious medical condition where the heart is unable to pump enough blood around the body to fulfil all the body's requirements. Patients typically present with a combination of breathlessness and fatigue and this may be associated with swelling of the ankles or the abdomen.
In view of your history of hypertension and symptoms of tiredness you should have a formal assessment by a cardiologist. They may arrange a special ultrasound of the heart, called an echocardiogram, which looks in detail at the function of the heart. If this were to show any problems with the pump function of the heart, effective treatments could be commenced to improve your symptoms.