Why is it Important to Get Your Heart Checked?

Screening for Heart Disease

Being immersed in social life, we do not usually pay attention to our bodies, what chemical reactions keep on happening inside and how the body responds to physical activity or psycho-emotional stress. The internal organs are controlled through self-regulation, and therefore minor health problems remain neglected, especially at a young age.

The most vital organ of the body is the heart, whose action can be compared to a pump. It has two atria that receive blood and two ventricles that pump blood through the body. The heart makes the blood circulate throughout the vascular network, consisting of arteries, veins, and capillaries.

Cardiovascular diseases include a range of dangerous conditions with a high mortality rate. In the past, such diseases were commonly encountered in elderly patients. However, there has been a rise in heart disorders among young people in recent decades. Even 25-30-year-olds have a risk of developing a heart attack. Fortunately, it is possible to lower the chances of its occurrence by knowing your risk of heart disease and undergoing regular screenings at the clinic.

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Heart Health Screening at Lake Conway Primary Care Clinic

Electrocardiogram (ECG) at Lake Conway Primary Care Clinic

The main danger of cardiovascular diseases is that high blood pressure and high cholesterol do not produce noticeable symptoms. In most cases, cardiovascular events (stroke or heart attack) may be the first signs of heart disease. Therefore, do not delay going to the doctor until you start experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, and weakness.

Diagnostic tests for monitoring cardiovascular health are simple, take little time, and cause no pain. Heart screenings are an important part of maintaining good health and active life.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

The proper functioning of the heart requires the work of many muscle bundles. Therefore, thousands of nerve fibers located in the heart transmit commands (weak electric current). The process is similar to the transmission of electricity through wires. The ECG registers the sum of these signals, reflecting the electrical activity of the heart.
It is a painless procedure that involves attaching a number of sensors to the chest and limbs. The result is recorded on a special tape or stored on the computer.

Heart Ultrasound (Echocardiography)

Echocardiography is a diagnostic technique used to detect structural and functional cardiac abnormalities or monitor the management of cardiovascular diseases. It is a short procedure that does not require any special preparations.

In the process of electrocardiography, an ultrasound transducer placed on the patient's chest (in the intercostal spaces since ultrasound cannot penetrate bone) emits ultrasound waves, analyzing the speed of reflected waves from the heart tissues. The Doppler effect can be used to evaluate characteristics of blood flow within the heart, such as velocity and direction. Also, the computer creates images of the heart that doctors can use for further examination.

Blood Pressure Measurement (Hypertension)

Blood pressure numbers are an important indicator of heart health, which shows the force exerted by the blood upon the walls of the blood vessels.

Persistently raised blood pressure above 140/90 is one of the most dangerous risk factors for developing heart disease. According to medical studies that involved more than 400 thousand people, each increase of 7.5 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) in diastolic pressure raises the risk of stroke by 46% within the next 10 years. 

Laboratory Diagnostics 

  • Lipoprotein profile (lipid panel). The blood test measures total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and HDL (“good”) cholesterol. This information helps the doctor to assess the function of blood vessels and estimate the risks of developing heart disease.
  • Blood glucose test. A procedure that is used to diagnose and control diabetes (type 1 and type 2) and other diseases associated with impaired carbohydrate metabolism. Diabetes is closely linked to heart disease and negatively affects the state of blood vessels. 

Discussion about Your History and Lifestyle

Your lifestyle is an essential part of cardiovascular risk assessments, so your doctor needs to know some facts about your health habits. 

  • your diet
  • physical activity levels
  • frequency of smoking and drinking alcohol
  • whether you are maintaining a healthy weight
  • family medical history 

Risk Assessment for Heart Disease 

The doctor uses the information gathered to estimate the risk of a heart attack or stroke over the next five years.

People at high risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next five years may need to take medication and make lifestyle changes to lower their risk. Your healthcare provider may refer you to another health professional for further testing.

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