Do you know how these controllable risk factors affect your risk of heart disease, stroke and metabolic syndrome?
- high blood pressure
- high blood cholesterol
- being overweight or obese
- physical inactivity
It’s essential that everyone understands their risk of heart disease and make a plan for how to prevent it. These risk factors can greatly increase the chances of developing cardiovascular disease, including heart attack, stroke and diabetes. A family history of heart disease also increases your risk.
Cardiac Specialty Institute provides high quality, state-of-the-art, comprehensive cardiovascular care in a compassionate and service-oriented environment. The physicians who are part of our group practice are board-certified or board-eligible cardiologists who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease.
The key to preventing cardiovascular disease, also called coronary artery disease (CAD), is managing your risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high total cholesterol or high blood glucose. But how do you know which risk factors you have? The best way to find out is through screening tests during regular doctor visits.
“Regular cardiovascular screening is important because it helps us detect risk factors in their earliest stages possible,” said Barry A. Franklin, Ph.D., director at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., and an American Heart Association volunteer. “This way, you can treat the risk factor with lifestyle changes and pharmacotherapies, if appropriate, before it ultimately leads to the development of cardiovascular disease.”
Few of us have ideal risk levels on all screening tests. 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,” Franklin said. “Higher than optimal cholesterol or body mass index, for example, may drive home the message that it’s time to modify your diet and get more physical activity. When the test comes back and you see abnormal numbers, it becomes 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 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, or if you have a history of heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular events. Learn more about these, more specific tests, at the American Heart Association’s Cardiovascular Conditions website: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Caregiver/Resources/WhatisCardiovascularDisease/What-is-Cardiovascular-Disease_UCM_301852_Article.jsp 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.