Heart disease remains prevalent worldwide due to lifestyle factors such as eating unhealthy food, physical inactivity, smoking, and drinking alcohol. These behavioral risks often go unnoticed and some patients are only diagnosed with coronary heart disease until they have had a heart attack. This makes cardiovascular screenings and checkups important for heart disease prevention, ensuring a longer and healthier life.

What Is Heart Disease?

Heart disease refers to various conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels. It includes coronary artery disease, heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias), heart infections, and congenital heart defects. The term often implies coronary artery disease, a condition characterized by the narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries, which can lead to heart attacks.

Signs and Symptoms of Heart Disease

The signs and symptoms of heart disease can vary depending on the specific type of heart disease. Common symptoms include chest pain or discomfort, palpitations, shortness of breath, fatigue, and dizziness. Some people may experience no symptoms at all, especially in the early stages of heart disease. Cardiovascular screenings and checkups should be scheduled regularly to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Effects of Heart Disease

Heart disease can have devastating effects on an individual’s health and quality of life. It can lead to serious complications, including heart failure, a heart attack, stroke, or sudden cardiac death. 

The emotional and financial burden of managing chronic heart conditions also impacts patients and their families. Cardiovascular screening helps families change unhealthy habits as soon as possible. The routine exams also allow patients and their families to prepare emotionally and financially. 

How Is Heart Disease Diagnosed?

Diagnosing heart disease involves a combination of medical history evaluation, physical examinations, and various tests. Cardiovascular screenings and checkups may include:

  • Blood tests to check for levels of certain fats, cholesterol, sugar, and proteins in the blood.
  • An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) to record the heart’s electrical activity.
  • Echocardiogram to create images of the heart’s structure and check how well it’s functioning.
  • Stress tests to measure how the heart and blood vessels respond to exertion.
  • Cardiac CT scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to obtain detailed images of the heart and its structures.

Early Detection for Heart Disease Prevention

Early detection of heart disease through cardiovascular screenings and checkups is effective in reducing severe heart-related complications. These screenings identify risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and early signs of heart disease, even before symptoms develop. Addressing these risk factors through lifestyle changes and medication can prevent or delay the onset of heart disease.

How Early Should I Get Cardiovascular Screenings and Checkups?

The right age for starting cardiovascular screenings and checkups depends on individual risk factors, family history, lifestyle, and existing health conditions. Generally, it is recommended to begin heart disease screening at age 20, with frequency depending on the risk level:

  • Blood pressure screenings should be conducted at least every two years starting at age 20.
  • Cholesterol checks should start by age 20 and be repeated every four to six years for individuals at average risk.
  • Diabetes screenings should also be considered, as diabetes is a significant risk factor for heart disease.

Individuals with higher risk factors may need to start screenings earlier and have them more frequently. Schedule your consultation to get personalized advice on the appropriate schedule for cardiovascular screenings and checkups.

Contact Us to Learn More

Preventive measures and early detection can protect you and your loved ones in the battle against heart disease. If you have concerns about your heart health or want to learn more about the right preventive strategies for you, do not hesitate to contact us. Schedule your consultation and our team will help you understand and manage your heart health effectively. Taking proactive steps toward heart disease detection and prevention can lead to a healthier and longer life.