Cardiovascular disease kills one person every 33 seconds in the United States. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for many racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. Taking care of your heart is vital to your overall health and well-being.
That’s why it’s important to have regular cardiovascular health screenings to assess your risk for cardiovascular disease. It’s a non-invasive and simple way to check in on your heart and make sure it’s thriving, to keep you happy and healthy throughout your life.
What Is a Cardiovascular Health Screening?
A Cardiovascular Health Screening includes a variety of simple tests that can help your doctor spot any early warning signs of issues with your heart. Detecting these signs early on can help you address those issues and avoid serious heart diseases, heart attacks, and strokes.
In some cases, there aren’t any physical signs that your heart might be in danger. You might feel in perfect health but a cardiovascular health screening could determine symptoms that say otherwise.
Getting a cardiovascular health screening when you’re healthy, is still a good idea! Having a baseline of numbers for your body now can help your doctor spot changes in your health in the future. A cardiovascular health screening, allows you to take action in resolving heart health concerns before they appear or worsen.
Blood Tests Can Reveal Your Heart Health
A simple blood test can reveal a lot about what’s going on beneath the surface. There’s a variety of information your doctor can gain from testing your blood for cholesterol and sugar levels.
Nearly 40 million Americans have high cholesterol levels, luckily a quick screening can determine your levels and what you can do. Cholesterol is a waxy substance. It comes from the foods you eat and can build up in your blood over time.
A cardiovascular health screening includes testing your blood for cholesterol, lipid, and triglyceride levels. Testing these levels can help detect conditions that might lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Your diet can affect these levels, as well as age, sex, and family history. If your doctor notices high levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or bad cholesterol, then you can take steps to reduce the levels through healthier habits.
Low levels (under 40mg/dl in men and 55 mg/dl in women) of HDL (high-density lipoprotein), or good cholesterol, increase your risk of stroke and heart disease.
Triglycerides are another type of fat in your blood that your doctor will test. If there are high levels (150 mg/dl or higher) then you are at a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
Blood Sugar Levels
People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing heart disease. The risk of diabetes and heart disease are closely linked, which is why your doctor may order a blood glucose test. Having diabetes means your blood sugar level is higher than normal, so it’s important for your doctor to keep an eye on this when it comes to your heart health.
Test Your Blood Pressure
Without a medical professional taking your blood pressure, there’s no way to tell if you have high blood pressure. That’s why it’s important to have it tested. High blood pressure is a major indicator of heart disease.
It takes seconds to test your blood pressure but can tell your doctor so much about your heart health. If your blood pressure is high, for example over 120/80 mmHg, then your doctor can work with you to lower it through lifestyle changes or medication.
Share Your Family History
At your screening, your doctor will ask you about your family history. It’s important for your doctor to know if heart disease runs in your family, because this means there is a greater chance that you can develop it too.
When you and your doctor have a better understanding of your family history, it allows you to manage your own heart health in a more effective way.
Weighing In on Heart Health
Another way your doctor tracks your heart health is by weighing you. Being overweight can increase your chances of developing heart disease. Your doctor will want to take note of your weight, height, and waist circumference to ensure you are in a healthy weight range.
If there is concern over your weight, you can work with your doctor to find a diet and exercise plan that works best for you.
Talk About Your Lifestyle
For the most part, we do our best to live a healthy lifestyle by getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating healthy. But it can be hard to maintain when there are so many other factors, responsibilities, and stressors in life.
Habits such as smoking tobacco, increase your risk of heart disease. Chemicals in tobacco can damage the heart and blood vessels while reducing the oxygen in the blood. This results in increased blood pressure and heart rate.
The good news is your risk of heart disease starts to drop even a day after quitting smoking. It doesn’t matter how long or much you smoked, the benefits of quitting begin to instantly pay off.
It’s vital to our hearts that we make an effort to stay on top of our health. Luckily, getting a cardiovascular health screening can tell you where you’re at currently, as well as the steps you can take today to make improvements to your habits. No one is perfect, but it’s worth making an extra effort if your heart is in danger.
Let’s Get Started!
Don’t let cardiovascular disease sneak up on your health. Setting up a cardiovascular health screening is the first step to making a difference for your heart.
At Heart Care Associates, we provide comprehensive cardiovascular health screenings and non-invasive testing to help you stay on top of your heart health.
Our team of cardiologists are committed to ensuring you have the information you need to make informed decisions about your health. Don’t wait until it’s too late, prevention is the key to optimum health. Take the first easy step by calling us for an appointment 203-407-2500.