Heart Disease and Regular Screenings
Posted in Uncategorized on November 19, 2018
Heart disease or coronary artery disease is a very real and very extreme heart condition. Though often preventable, heart disease risk factors stem from age, heredity, smoking, obesity, and blood pressure. Getting regular screenings to help prevent heart disease is vitally important. The name of the game is to keep risk as low as possible. It’s hard to guess what risk factors you may have, but your healthcare provider can perform (or request) screenings to help keep things on the up and up.
Interpreting Your Test Results
Most people will not have perfect risk levels when it comes to all screenings and labs. But take heart, people are living longer, stronger, and staying younger these days than ever before! Let’s say your test results come back less than perfect, this doesn’t mean you have or are going to develop certain heart disease. What it does mean, though, is that you’re in the perfect position to make changes. Positive changes, of course. Routine medical exams measure your weight and BMI (body mass index), blood pressure, and a few other factors. Follow up appointments may or may not be necessary, depending on the severity (or lack thereof) of your results.
The good thing is, you’re still alive and kicking and you’re ready to right the ship. If you’ve been previously diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, a-fib, or are a heart attack or stroke victim, your visits will occur more frequently. Family history also plays a role in how your physician will approach your treatment. If your parents or grandparents were/are afflicted by heart disease, she’ll likely want to see you more often.
What to Expect When Getting Routine Cardio Screenings:
Generally fasting (no food or drink 12 hours before), this blood test measures total cholesterol. Your cholesterol levels are comprised of HDL (good) and LDL (bad)LDL cholesterol. Cholesterol levels can be moderated with medication (if necessary) and lifestyle changes.
Unlike other symptoms, blood pressure must be measured to be detected. It’s not obvious like cholesterol, obesity, or family history. Though, family history can be a big factor in blood pressure levels. Ideal blood pressure levels are usually lower than 120/80, but that can change based on other factors. The higher your blood pressure is, the higher the likelihood of heart disease or stroke. Like cholesterol, blood pressure can be treated with lifestyle changes and/or medication.
Exercise, Diet, or Smoking
Keeping your body in motion is an essential element to keeping your ticker in shape. Different doctors and medical journals vary with the amount of time per day to exercise. But moving anytime you can is a huge help. Some people go by the 10,000 steps per day rule, this is also very effective. Getting a watch or fitness tracker that can track your steps can be a huge motivator. Eating 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables a day is key, along with keeping your saturated fat, and calorie intake limited. Savory and sweet foods are very tempting, so use those in moderation. If you’re a smoker, tell your physician during your next appointment how often and for how long, so they can help create a program for you to quit.
Measurements like body weight, waist size, and age can help your healthcare provider calculate your BMI. Your BMI tells a lot about you, although it’s not an exact science. For instance, a bodybuilder might have a BMI of 31, which is considered obese. But with his body fat percentage being less than three, he’s obviously not obese. Your doctor will be able to tell how healthy you are based on all tests and screenings. Being obese does put the body at higher risk of heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and other conditions.
Higher blood glucose (sugar) levels have the potential to increase your risk of diabetes. Left untreated, diabetes may lead to serious medical issues such as stroke or heart disease. Being overweight will usually prompt your doctor to check your glucose. A1C levels might also be measured to help determine the risk of prediabetes or diabetes.