According to the World Health Organization, heart attacks and strokes account for more than four out of every five CVD fatalities. The primary behavioral risk factors for heart disease and stroke are unhealthy food, physical inactivity, smoking, and alcohol consumption. In the past, doctors had a tough time predicting which patients will develop heart disease in the future and prevent it. However, cardiologists are increasingly employing several heart tests to identify individuals developing heart diseases such as atherosclerosis years before any symptoms appear.
What are the different heart tests you should consider to diagnose heart problems?
If you have heart-related problems or are suspected of having heart problems, your doctor may request several heart tests. Some of these are mentioned below.
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1. Physical exam and blood tests
- Blood pressure test
High blood pressure significantly increases your risks of getting heart disease and stroke. Therefore, you must monitor your blood pressure readings regularly, and if they rise or fall above or below average, you should immediately visit your doctor.
- Blood sugar test
High blood sugar levels increase your chances of acquiring type 2 diabetes. Diabetes, if not diagnosed and appropriately treated, can cause various major medical issues, including heart disease and stroke.
- Cholesterol test
This involves testing total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and HDL (good) cholesterol in your system. Once you reach the age of 20, it is advised that you take a lipoprotein test every four to six years.
- Weight or BMI
BMI is your body mass index, which determines your level of fitness. Obesity increases your chance of developing health problems such as stroke, atrial fibrillation, heart disease, and congestive heart failure.
2. Non-invasive tests
Once you are done with your regular blood and physical fitness check-up, you will also need to take certain non-invasive heart tests such as:
The Electrocardiogram test uses the passage of sound waves through your heart to comprehend the electrical activities there. It enables your doctor to observe how your heart beats, how blood flows through it, and if it is functioning optimally.
- Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE)
Echocardiogram uses ultrasound or high-frequency sound waves to create detailed images of your heart and the arteries. Echocardiogram images are used to discover abnormalities in the heart muscle and valves.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Large radio waves and magnets are used in MRI testing to produce pictures of the interior of your body. It may be used to inspect your heart and blood arteries and identify stroke-affected brain parts.
- CT scan
Computer tomography, or a CT scan, is an X-ray imaging technology that utilizes a computer to create cross-sectional pictures of your heart. It can check your heart and blood arteries for any heart problems.
Many techniques and tests available today can be used to determine whether a person has or will develop any heart problems. At first, your doctor would advise you to do a blood test and a physical test to see whether there is a general problem with the function of your heart. The doctor would advise you to go through specific specialized non-invasive tests that accurately show the exact issue.