Heart Health Screening
An important aspect of lowering risk of cardiovascular disease, also called coronary artery disease (CAD), is managing health behaviors and risk factors, such as diet, physical activity, smoking, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, total cholesterol and blood glucose. But how do you know which risk factors you have? Your healthcare provider may conduct or request screening tests during regular visits.
These controllable risk factors affect your risk of heart disease, stroke and metabolic syndrome
- High blood pressure.
- High blood cholesterol.
- Being overweight or obese.
- Physical inactivity.
Understanding the risk of disease and the chance of developing cardiovascular disease including a heart attack, stroke and metabolic syndrome needs to be evaluated and clear plan on how to prevent it or manage the disease is our priority.
Your board-certified cardiologist specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease
Taking a proactive approach to aggressively managing your risk factors to help prevent or reduce the progression of disease is priority #1.
Each individual patient will have a customized evaluation and plan that works best for them and their lifestyle.
Lifestyle modification, regular cardiovascular screening, and pharmacotherapies if needed to help reduce risk factors and the development of coronary artery disease.
Few of us have ideal risk levels on screening tests. These risk level assessments should serve as a wakeup call to improve or physical activity and dietary choices to impact your life and health. Early and proper screening, risk assessment, and lifestyle modification is essential in treating heart disease.
Understanding your cardiovascular risk and changing your health to make a positive impact is our goal.
Most regular cardiovascular screening tests should begin at age 20 with close follow up depending on the risk level.
You will probably require additional and more frequent testing if you’ve been diagnosed with a cardiovascular condition such as heart failure or atrial fibrillation, or if you have a history of heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular events. Learn more about these more specific tests at the American Heart Association’s Cardiovascular Conditions website. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with a condition, your doctor may want more stringent screening if you already have risk factors or a family history of cardiovascular disease.
Blood pressure is one of the most important screenings because high blood pressure usually has no symptoms, so it can’t be detected without being measured. High blood pressure greatly increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. If your blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg, be sure to get it checked at least once every two years, starting at age 20. If your blood pressure is higher, your doctor may want to check it more often. High blood pressure can be controlled through lifestyle changes and/or medication.
Fasting Lipoprotein Profile (cholesterol)
You might have a fasting lipoprotein profile taken every four to six years, starting at age 20. This is a blood test that measures total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol and HDL (good) cholesterol. You may need to be tested more frequently if your healthcare provider determines that you’re at an increased risk for heart disease or stroke.
Like high blood pressure, often cholesterol can be controlled through lifestyle changes and/or medication.
Your healthcare provider may ask for your waist circumference or use your body weight to calculate your body mass index (BMI) during your routine visit. These measurements may tell you and your physician whether you’re at a healthy body weight and composition. Being obese puts you at higher risk for health problems such as heart disease, stroke, atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure, and more.
High blood glucose levels put you at greater risk of developing insulin resistance, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Untreated diabetes can lead to many serious medical problems including heart disease and stroke. If you’re overweight AND you have at least one additional cardiovascular risk factor, your healthcare provider may recommend a blood glucose test. Your healthcare provider may also measure glycated hemoglobin A1c levels (A1c %) to estimate risk of prediabetes or diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends regular screening for diabetes risk at age 45, with repeated tests at least every 3 years.
Smoking, physical activity, diet
If you smoke, talk to your healthcare provider at your next healthcare visit about approaches to help quit. Also discuss your diet and physical activity habits. If there’s room for improvement in your diet and daily physical activity levels, ask your healthcare provider to provide helpful suggestions.