When it comes to getting a heart screening, what should you know? Keep reading to find out what it is and how to prepare for one.
By scheduling an annual checkup with your healthcare provider, you can know your risk factors and manage them effectively. Screenings can inform you about your blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, body mass index (BMI), and blood glucose.
Chandrakant Pujara, M.D., a cardiologist at Beaumont Hospital, recommends a comprehensive heart screening for certain individuals. “For patients with two or more risk factors who are experiencing symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or irregular heartbeats, we would consider additional cardiac tests,” he says.
The following are different heart screening tests your doctor may recommend, when to have them, and why you should get them.
It’s a good idea to get an EKG if you have risk factors for an enlarged heart or heart disease. These factors can include high blood pressure (hypertension), chest pain, shortness of breath, or an irregular heartbeat.
An EKG checks your heart rhythm and your heart’s electrical system. If you have other risk factors such as diabetes or a family history of heart disease, talk to your doctor about getting an EKG.
Exercise Stress Test
You can get an exercise stress test to check for any abnormal changes in your heart while you work out. It may be a good idea to get one if you have symptoms of heart disease like heavy heartbeats, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Moreover, if you want to start an exercise program and have other risk factors, this test may be beneficial for you.
Echocardiograms use ultrasound to check for abnormalities in your heart valves, chambers, walls, and blood vessels. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing chest pain or shortness of breath. If they believe your issues stem from a problem with your heart’s structure, they’ll recommend an echocardiogram.
This test uses a computed tomography scan, or CT scan, to look for calcium buildup in the walls of your arteries. Your doctor will recommend this exam if you are at medium risk for heart disease.
It can help determine your risk for heart disease, heart attack, or stroke. Furthermore, your doctor may use these results to make necessary changes to your treatment plan.
Getting a Heart Screening
Even though these tests may be beneficial, they are not for everyone. “Selection and frequency of more advanced testing should be discussed with your physician,” says Dr. Pujara. “Prevention is often more beneficial than fancy (and at times costly) procedures that aren’t right for everyone.”
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