Hello, first-time poster here, hope this is the right place.
I'm a 25-year-old male in the UK, 73kg, 23BMI, and I'm trying to ascertain whether it's sensible for me to wait for my NHS Doctor to get on to a Cardiologist, wait for a referral, or just blow my savings pots doing it privately for fear that whatever I've got wrong, gets worse while waiting.
2 years ago, roughly, I first went to the doctor experiencing dizziness, lightheadedness and heart palpitations. They checked my BP, general health markers and said that it was probably the stress of university causing this dizziness. I thought "OK! Great stuff" and continued with my life. I tried meditating, working my anxieties through in my head to sort them. But I realised, I wasn't inherently anxious, or stressed, so it didn't really make sense to me. Either way, I trusted the doctor's opinion. I've still been getting symptoms of dizziness, lightheadedness and heart palpitations to this day, despite taking steps to try to correct my mental state which, in my opinion, was the same stress as the majority of university students!
Last month I decided to start training for a marathon. I regularly run 10k's probably 3 times a week but wanted to double-check my blood levels etc. before starting a more intense training session. I went to Bluecrest and got their complete health check done, and was a bit shocked to see some of the readings come back.
- PLAC test revealed an LP-PLA2 level of 680U/L.. way into high risk.
- Sinus Arrhythmia - Known about this for a while anyway
- My cholesterol was 6.2, comprised of 4.4 LDL, 1.4 HDL and a ratio of 4.43.
- Triglycerides were normal, 0.9.
Cholesterol, to me, isn't surprising. I've not been the "best" at eating throughout the university, albeit not the worst. I still aim to get my fruit and veg, just one too many late-night pizzas perhaps. My mother's side is ALL on statins from young ages after having cholesterol's of 8+, so it could well be genetic given I'm relatively in shape, fit and healthy.
So I started to wonder what's going on here? And I'll be the first to admit, the idea of a heart issue so young terrified me, and even writing this now I'm really struggling to conceptualize the potential consequences although appreciate finding things like this early is key to preventing it from getting worse...
I started to check my BP regularly. It's always elevated at doctors as I'm a nervous wreck there but seems stable enough at home. It appears I have an isolated low diastolic BP, averaging out at 115/62, which as far as I understand is unusual for my age. Furthermore, my resting heart rate is between 45-55, but when I run at a moderate, 10k pace (roughly 50 minutes - 1-hour nonstop), my heart rate consistently sits at 185-190! Drastically higher than my resting HR.
I called my NHS doctor, who didn't seem bothered by the large gap in my blood pressure or that it was nearing 60 whilst not being high on the systolic side. She also said I may just have a high max heart rate, and that's why it gets so high when I run. However, she also had no information regarding what a PLAC test was or what it tested, so now she's taken my reading and gone to contact the cardiologist and I'm just left waiting to hear. From the journals and literature I've read, this high PLAC test suggests some form of Atherosclerosis that would be strengthened by the low isolated diastolic BP, so I'm keen to know whether I can afford to wait for the NHS to get back to me (Potentially months?) or if people here think that this warrants me just going to get an echocardiogram done next week privately. My stress levels are through the roof, with this hanging over me, I'm worried every time I go out for a run or walk I'll just randomly have a heart attack.
What does high risk even mean? That my life expectancy is X time? I'm really struggling to comprehend all this information and shock at once and just want an answer. For now, I've switched to a Mediterranean diet, dropped my running intensity for fear of overloading my heart and kicked the few cigarettes I did smoke a day down the drain (3-4 maybe - used to be heavier).
I am sorry for such a long post, and I really appreciate any advice or guidance. I'm feeling so alone, I know it's not healthy to cut myself off from the world but I can't face anyone with this constant worry about something being really, really wrong. It's making my heart palpitations 100 times worse, I can't stop feeling it now.