Cardiac Preventive Screening
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Regular screenings and prevention education are the definitive keys to maintaining your overall health.
Florida Cardiopulmonary Center supports good heart health with community education programs, sponsored heart health events, and preventive screenings. The programs and events are offered to help you learn more about your risks for heart and vascular disease, as well as how to take the necessary steps to manage them.
The more you know about heart disease, the better off you will be at avoiding and surviving a heart related issue. Florida Cardiopulmonary Center offers useful resources for you to visit and find out more about the anatomy of the heart and blood vessels, how they function normally, and what happens to them when things go wrong.
Our online health library is the best place to learn about heart health and disease prevention.
At Our Health Library You Will Find Out More About:
- Am I at Risk of Cardiovascular Disease?
- What causes Cardiovascular Disease?
- How Can I Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease?
The key to preventing cardiovascular disease or coronary artery disease (CAD) is managing your risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high total cholesterol, and high total glucose. To determine what risk factors may affect you get screened routinely.
Regular cardiovascular screening is important because it helps you detect risk factors in their earliest stages. Then you will be able to decrease your risk factors with some lifestyle changes and medication (if appropriate) before it ultimately leads to the development of cardiovascular disease.
Cardiac Preventive Screening Eliminates Doubt:
- How often should I get screened?
- Does my age matter?
- What tests do I need?
- What risk factors do I have?
Few of us receive perfect results from cardiovascular screening, however, if you do have test results that are less than ideal it doesn’t mean you’re destined to develop a serious cardiovascular disease. On the contrary, it means you’re in position to begin changing your health in a positive way. For many patients screening results can serve as a wake-up call. Higher than optimal cholesterol or body mass index, for example, may drive home the message that it’s time to modify your diet and become more physically active.
When the test results come back and you see abnormal numbers it becomes truly personal. Suddenly, the idea of making lifestyle changes isn’t just a recommendation in a pamphlet it’s something that can impact your life and health. Most regular cardiovascular screening tests should begin at age of 20. The frequency of follow up will depend on your level of risk. You will probably require additional and more frequent testing if you’ve been diagnosed with a cardiovascular condition such as heart failure or atrial fibrillation (AFib), or if you have a history of heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular events. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with a condition, your doctor may want more stringent screening if you already have risk factors or a family history of cardiovascular disease.
The Key Screening Tests Recommended for Optimal Cardiovascular Health
Blood pressure is one of the most important screenings because high blood pressure usually has no symptoms so it can’t be detected without being measured. High blood pressure greatly increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. If your blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg, be sure to get it checked at least once every two years, starting at age 20. If your blood pressure is higher, your doctor may want to check it more often. High blood pressure can be controlled through lifestyle changes or medication. After age 65, women have a higher risk of high blood pressure than men, and African-American adults of all ages have a higher-than-average risk.
Fasting Lipoprotein Profile (Cholesterol and Triglycerides)
You should have a fasting lipoprotein profile taken every four to six years, starting at age 20. This is a blood test that measures total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol and triglycerides. You may need to be tested more frequently if your healthcare provider determines that you’re at an increased risk for heart disease or stroke.
Older women tend to have higher triglyceride levels than men. Like high blood pressure, often cholesterol and triglycerides can be controlled through lifestyle changes or medication.
Starting around 20 years old, your healthcare provider may ask for your waist circumference or use your body weight to calculate your body mass index (BMI) during your routine visit. These measurements may tell you and your physician whether you’re at a healthy body weight and composition. About two of every three adults are now overweight or obese. Being obese puts you at higher risk for health problems such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and more.
Starting at age 45, you should have your blood glucose level checked at least every three years. High blood glucose levels put you at greater risk of developing insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Untreated diabetes can lead to many serious medical problems including heart disease and stroke. If you’re overweight AND you have at least one additional cardiovascular risk factor, your doctor may recommend a blood glucose test even if you’re not yet 45, or more frequently than every 3 years.
Smoking, physical activity, diet
Smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States. If you smoke, tell your doctor at your next healthcare visit. Your doctor can suggest approaches to help quit.
Also discuss your diet and physical activity habits. If there’s room for improvement in your diet and daily physical activity levels, ask your doctor to provide helpful suggestions.