Posted on Mar 26, 2009 | Comments 1
Heart disease is the number one killer disease in America, so, in order to prevent its onset, it is essential to know the symptoms as well as risk factors.
Undergoing simple screening tests helps to pinpoint any complications before any symptoms appear.
The most common risk factors of heart disease include: high blood pressure, diabetes, high blood sugar, obesity, smoking, lack of physical activity, poor nutrition and family history.
Here are eight screening tests, which can be conducted during regular check-ups, to identify the risk factors of heart disease:
1.Blood pressure screening
Monitoring blood pressure is essential throughout your life. Recommended blood pressure levels: systolic blood pressure should be less than 140 and diastolic blood pressure should be under 90.
However, your practitioner may set higher or lower limits depending on your personal risk factors.
This test is also known as cholesterol screening. As the presence of high cholesterol doesn’t show any symptoms, the only reliable method to find if you have high cholesterol is the lipid screening test.
People over 35 years of age should have regular lipid screening, particularly younger people who are at high risk. Like blood pressure, cholesterol levels can also depend on other risk factors.
3.Blood sugar screening
Everyone should have their blood sugar levels tested because high blood sugar not only puts you at risk of diabetes and heart disease, but also conditions like convulsions and blindness.
If you have any issues with the above screening methods, your doctor will probably suggest additional screenings to sort out the symptoms and explore the extent of the heart disease. Here are the most routine methods.
4.Cardiac stress test
This screening method uses exercise in order to stimulate the flow of blood. Your doctor also uses ultrasound, nuclear testing or electrocardiogram (EKG) to better evaluate heart function.
If the cardiac stress test gives abnormal results, your doctor will recommend this to analyze the coronary arteries and also to explore whether surgery or artery stents is the best option.
6.Ankle-brachial index or ABI
This test is used to detect peripheral artery disease. In this method, the practitioner determines blood pressure in the arm or ankle, initially during the rest position and then after walking for a few minutes.
This test is used to find out whether there are any blockages or other abnormalities in the blood vessels of your neck.
This test is used to detect the fraction of blood pumped by your heart with each heartbeat, using high-frequency sound waves to get a clear picture of four heart chambers and four heart valves.
Once test results are collated, your doctor will be able to diagnose your condition, start course of treatment and eliminate heart disease completely.
Posted in: Heart Diseases