When You May Need Early Heart Health Screening
When you’re young and healthy, the last thing on your mind is keeping up with heart screenings. It may seem like a distant problem that you will not have to deal with for many years to come. But the truth is that the more proactive you are about your heart health, the better chance you have of detecting a condition early, opening up widerpossibilities for prevention and treatment.
Just as women perform self-breast exams, men get prostate checks and we are all recommended to get colonoscopies at certain ages, regular heart screenings are imperative for your health and well-being.
What Is a Heart Screening?
Heart screenings are non-invasive tests that can be performed at your routine check-up. Your cardiologist can look at your family history of any heart conditions to know what to look out for. This way, you can stay ahead of any underlying conditions that may be found and tackle them early. Sure, you may get a test result that puts you at risk for a heart condition, but this also enables you to make the changes necessary to lower that risk or strengthen your body to best manage the condition.
Heart screenings entail a few different kinds of tests including:
- Blood pressure – tested every 2 years starting at age 20
- Weight/BMI – tested at regular physicals
- Cholesterol – every 4-6 years starting at age 20
- Blood glucose – once every 3 years starting at age 40-45
- Physical activity – tested at regular physicals
- Diet – discussed at regular physicals
- Smoking habits – discussed at regular physicals
Which kind of tests and how frequently you get them depend on your own history of heart conditions and the risk you have of developing them in the future. Pre-existing conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and smoking may be cause for more frequent screenings. Similarly, a family history of heart disease usually indicates that you should have earlier and/or more frequent screenings. If it close family member of yours has had heart disease, we suggest speaking with your cardiologist to learn more about your risk and how your screenings should be modified, if at all.
The Bottom Line
Making sure you are up to date on your heart screenings helps you make the lifestyle changes necessary to decrease your risk of developing future problems as well as jumpstart any treatment you may need for existing conditions.
If you would like to talk to an experienced cardiovascular doctor about what heart screenings you should be getting and when you should start, give us a call today. Huntington Heart Center has been serving the people of Long Island for over 30 years with state-of-the-art heart care.