Dr Sadqa Gul
Q: I got hurt in the chest while exercising in the gym. Since that day, there has been some discomfort in my chest and it feels as if its been pushed inside. What could be the cause? Malik, Karachi
A: It seems that you sustained a mild chest trauma or sternal contusion, this apparently did not cause rib fractures, but possibly the feeling of your chest pushed in is due to a muscle strain and/or contusion. If you did not seek medical evaluation at the moment of the blunt trauma, I suggest that you have an evaluation by your doctor, including physical exam and chest x-rays.
Q: A check-up revealed that my glands are swollen and my heart has an irregular beat. What does this mean and what has caused it? Iqbal Javed, Karachi
A: There are many causes for an irregular heartbeat. Sometimes the irregularity may be due to cardiovascular disease but it may also be caused by excessive smoking or by drinking too much tea or coffee. Occasionally it may be due to non-cardiac disorders such as thyroid disease or anxiety. When you refer to swollen glands I wonder if you could be referring to swelling in your thyroid gland or are you referring to swelling of other glands such as the salivary glands, which produce saliva in the mouth or could it be the lymph glands, which are involved in the body's response to infection? If the swelling happens to involve the lymph glands then that would suggest that you may recently have suffered from some form of infection. Infections often cause a rise in body temperature and this can in turn cause acceleration in the heartbeat. Such rises in the heart rate usually subside once the infection has resolved. You say that these findings were made during a recent check-up therefore I would assume that an attempt is being made to establish the cause of these findings. An irregular heartbeat needs to be evaluated but very often the cause is non-cardiac and may not be a cause for concern.