There are few organs that receive as much attention as the heart. Not only has it come to symbolize love and affection, it is frequently front and center when it comes to our health as well. After all, a strong heart generally indicates good overall health, while on the other hand, heart disease represents the leading health threat to both American men and women.
Keeping the heart strong and healthy requires a certain amount of attentiveness. Patients must be proactive in their health, as preventing problems is far easier than fixing them. This means identifying potential threats as soon as possible and taking the necessary measures to get them under control. Fortunately, many of the greatest issues which negatively impact cardiovascular health can be identified quickly and easily through some simple screening tests, many of which could be completed by your physician during any given visit.
Blood Pressure Screenings for Heart Health
Blood pressure is not only a vital component within the cardiovascular system, it is also incredibly easy to measure. It is taken at every doctor’s appointment, regardless of the cause, and blood pressure cuffs can be found in pharmacies across the nation. A quick check of the numbers can give patients and physicians valuable insight. Ideally systolic pressure (top number) should be less than 120, while diastolic pressure (bottom number) should be less than 80.
BMI Calculations for Heart Health
By far the easiest screening measure for patients is BMI, or body mass index. This number can be calculated by anyone, anywhere. All that is needed is height and weight. Plug these numbers into any one of the countless online charts and calculators, and you can quickly determine if your weight is in a healthy range for your height. This measurement is important, because a high BMI can indicate future health concerns, including diabetes and heart disease.
Blood Glucose Testing for Heart Health
Blood glucose levels are important in determining the presence of diabetes, a dangerous health condition which can damage blood vessels. In turn, this damage can lead to complications such as kidney disease, stroke, and heart attack. A simple blood test can easily determine if glucose levels within the blood are at normal and healthy levels. In order to get a complete picture, your physician many need you to fast beforehand or take multiple samples at differing times.
Cholesterol Levels for Heart Health
Cholesterol comes in both good and bad forms and a healthy balance is required for them to function properly. Too much bad cholesterol and too little good cholesterol can lead to a situation where plaque is able to build within the arteries, impeding blood flow throughout the body and to the heart. Again, a simple blood test from your physician can determine where your numbers stand.
Heart health is far too important to ignore, and the tests to monitor it are far too simple to bypass. While you may require more in-depth screening procedures based on your results, beginning with these simple screenings can help you gain greater insight into your heart and allow you the time to make the necessary changes in lifestyle or medication before irreversible damage has occurred.