Daily Mail

What’s causing my heart rate to drop?


Q I AM 75 and extremely fit — I enjoy cycling, weights, spinning and walking. My resting heart rate used to average around 46-48 bpm: however, since my third Covid vaccine it has dropped to 39- 43bpm. The same happened to my wife and youngest son (aged 40). My GP says she is not aware of any such symptoms from the vaccine.

Paul Mackintosh, Darlington.

A Having a low resting heart rate — classed as anything under 60 bpm (beats per minute) — is not necessaril­y a bad thing and can be a sign of physical fitness.

a low heart rate, known as sinus bradycardi­a, is a natural phenomenon in some people and is a sign that the impulses coming from the sinoatrial node (the pace-making part of the heart) are lower than the normal range of 60 to 100 beats per minute.

However, other factors can have an impact. Your resting heart rate will drop with age — and this may be contributi­ng in your case.

a low heart rate is not usually considered a medical problem unless accompanie­d by symptoms such as fainting, which can occur if your heart rate is too low to pump adequate amounts of blood around the body.

i had a patient with a medical history similar to yours who i referred for an annual ECg — a test to check the heart’s rhythm and electrical activity. Each year his resting heart rate became lower until, eventually, it reached 32 bpm and i referred him to a cardiologi­st, who fitted a pacemaker to prevent his heart rate reducing further. i’m happy to report this never happened.

as to whether the drop in your resting heart rate could be related to Covid vaccinatio­n, i’ve checked the medical literature and there’s no mention of bradycardi­a as a complicati­on. i’ve also spoken with colleagues and there is some evidence that Covid infection is associated with changes to the nervous system that controls heart rate.

While the cause in your family’s case could be coincidenc­e, i think it’s worth the three of you discussing with your gP an annual ECg to check your heart rate. Q I’VE been waiting two years now for an operation to straighten my manhood. I’m told it could be another two years for the procedure. My wife is understand­ing but the curvature of my penis makes sex impossible and the situation is affecting my mental health. Can you help?

Name and address supplied.

A it Can’t have been easy for you to write in about this distressin­g condition — but let me reassure you that you are far from alone. around 5 per cent of men from middle-age onwards are affected by this. it not only makes sex difficult but it can be painful, too.

Your condition, called Peyronie’s disease, is where scar tissue forms in the fibrous sheath that covers the spongey erectile tissue in the centre of the penis.

the scar tissue tugs at the surroundin­g area, causing the penis to develop a pronounced curve during an erection.

Understand­ably, this can have a huge impact. One study found that 81 per cent of men affected reported emotional difficulti­es, with 54 per cent suffering relationsh­ip problems.

One treatment option is a vacuum device that can help straighten the penis. another is an injection of the enzyme collagenas­e, called Xiapex, which softens or completely gets rid of the scar tissue (although this isn’t available on the nHS).

For severe cases, surgery is the gold standard treatment.

this involves removing the scar tissue and implanting a device to straighten the penis.

Overall, the success rates of surgery are good: a study of 61 patients found 86 per cent were able to return to sexual activity.

the greater difficulty that i foresee is getting the surgery on the nHS. as the condition is neither cancer-related nor lifethreat­ening, i fear you may face a considerab­le wait.

Depending upon your financial circumstan­ces it might be worth investigat­ing going private. given your understand­able distress, it is a tragedy for you and millions of other patients that, because of the current state of our nHS, paying for private care may be the easiest resolution for you.


WRITE to Dr Scurr at Good Health, Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email drmartin@dailymail.co.uk — include your contact details. Dr Scurr cannot enter into personal correspond­ence. Replies should be taken in a general context and always consult your own GP with any health worries.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom