No matter the condition, most patients realize that early detection and treatment is key to maintaining health and the best possible long-term prognosis. This is precisely the reason that colonoscopies are recommended at age 50 and that many perform their own skin checks and breast self-exams each month. It’s a small measure but one that may be life-saving.
However, ask any American adult when their heart health screenings should begin, and most are unsure of the answer. In fact, a recent national study from Orlando Health found that only 8 percent of women know the age at which these tests should start, with most believing a full 10 years later than when doctors recommend.
The good news is that the screenings needed to help ensure a healthy heart are not invasive and can be performed by your physician during the course of a routine physical exam. When performed at recommended intervals and with family and medical history also taken into account, these simple tests can give your doctor great insight into your overall heart health and help safeguard you from future problems.
Recommended Heart Health Screenings and Intervals
At what age do you believe physicals should begin? Thirty years old? Forty, or even later? If you guessed within this range, you aren’t alone. Most Americans assume that there is no need to visit their physician until something is wrong. In reality, regular examinations and screenings related to heart health should begin at 20 years old, with most tests being performed every 2 to 4 years. Such measures can often clue both patient and physician into any potential heart problems before serious health complications occur.
Based on guidelines set forth by the American Heart Association, here are the most important screenings for heart health and how often each should be performed:
In addition to the recommendations for those at “normal risk,” doctors will want to see patients with high-risk factors more frequently. For some, these factors are uncontrollable and may include age, heredity, or gender. For others, it is the controllable elements such as smoking, physical inactivity, or high blood pressure that warrant increased monitoring.
If you are 20 or older, now is the time to address your heart health. As our nation’s number one killer, the risks associated with cardiovascular disease cannot be overstated. A healthy lifestyle and routine monitoring of heart health factors are more than just recommendations, they are necessities for long-term well-being. Cardiologists at any location of Cardiovascular Institute of the South can help you understand your risk for heart disease, monitor for heart health, and make recommendations to keep your heart strong for the long haul.