When plaque builds up inside your arteries, it constricts blood flow. This limits oxygen from traveling to the heart. These blockages are a sign of heart disease, the number one cause of death of men and women in the United States. This is why early screenings are essential for heart disease prevention. Cardiovascular Institute of the South helps you understand, avoid, and control the risks of cardiovascular disease. This way, you can maintain a long, happy life.
Why Are Early Screenings Important?
Screening your heart health allows physicians to detect the earliest signs of cardiovascular disease. This is when it is most treatable. You will first undergo a screening to catch any risk factors that may not appear on the surface. This typically consists of a blood test. If your results show signs of heart disease risk, your physician may seek additional screening. Your testing may include but not be limited to the following:
- Blood tests measure cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. This is used for your initial screening.
- Echocardiography allows cardiologists to view your heart’s movement with ultrasound.
- Electrocardiography monitors the heart’s electrical activity to study its rhythm and rate.
- Cardiac stress tests utilize exercise to measure blood flow during stress. You may walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike through varying intensity levels.
If you do not have any risk factors or symptoms, do you still need heart screenings? Consider this—after a few thousand miles, your car requires an oil change. This prevents built-up dirt from severely damaging your engine. By preventing the build-up, you can extend the life and function of your vehicle. Bart Denys, MD, one of our premier cardiologists since 1994, says that patients should mirror this mentality with their heart health:
To have a long and healthy life, we must assess what we have now. Find the problem before it finds you. We have the tools to see what your risk is. Then with that knowledge, we make a plan that includes what changes need to be made for you to lower your risk, extend your life, and hopefully never need to see me in the hospital.
Prevention is key to longevity, whether or not you are presenting symptoms or risk factors. The American Heart Association (AHA) states that cardiovascular screening can begin as early as age 20. Even if your screenings do not indicate that you are a high-risk patient, your results can act as an incentive to lead or continue a healthy lifestyle. Ready to take the first steps in heart disease prevention? Connect with one of our highly-trained cardiologists! New and returning patients can request an appointment today.
Know the Risk Factors of Heart Disease
You now know that heart screenings are essential even without current signs for worry. But knowing your risk factors is still vital to your health. There are risk factors that can and cannot be changed. Examples of factors outside our control are race, age, and gender. Males, patients 65 years of age and older, and African-Americans are at the highest risk of developing heart disease. Risk factors for heart disease that can be modified include:
- High body mass index (BMI)
- High blood sugar and cholesterol
- Smoking and drinking alcohol
- Low levels of physical activity
- And your dietary habits
Consult with your cardiologist to learn if you are at risk of cardiovascular disease. Your physician will explore your lifestyle choices, family history, and current state of health. If you show signs of risk, your physician can offer you solutions for prevention. This can include medication, heart stents, or altering your diet and physical activity.
Find More Tools For Heart Disease Prevention
With knowledge of heart disease risks and regular visits to your cardiologist, you can stay on top of heart disease prevention! Whether or not you are presenting symptoms of cardiovascular disease, you should continue consistent check-ups. This will offer peace of mind or help to catch any dangerous symptoms early on. At Cardiovascular Institute of the South, you can find expert care with internationally-recognized physicians. Are you ready to make your heart healthy and disease prevention a priority? Call your nearest clinic or request an appointment with us today. We look forward to sharing the care and compassion you deserve!