Health screenings can be one of the most important ways of ensuring a long and happy life. There are many types of health screenings, but one of the most important for both men and women is the cardiovascular screening. Every year, over 600,000 people die of heart disease in America, and heart disease accounts for one out of every four deaths that happens. Each year, 735,000 people in the United States will have a heart attack, and 88,000 of those people will be women between the ages of 45 and 64. Heart attack and heart disease are killers. The best way to beat these killers is to see them coming. Cardiovascular screenings are a great way to protect yourself, and here’s what you should expect when you go in for this type of disease screening:
- You will talk about your family history. If a number of people in your immediate family have suffered heart disease, there’s a good chance that you are at risk for it as well. Any cardiovascular screening will include detailed questions about the heart health of your immediate family, including parents, siblings, grandparents, and possibly aunts and uncles. The more you know about your family’s personal history, the easier it will be to understand your potential for heart disease risk.
- You will have your blood pressure taken. This is likely nothing new since most people have their blood pressure taken regularly during annual checkups. It’s very important, though, because high blood pressure is a major indicator of risk and yet it has few if any physical symptoms. about one in every three adults in the United States, or approximately 75 million people, have high blood pressure. If your blood pressure is high, the screener will give you some tips and ideas about how to bring it down and possibly prescribe medication.
- Many cardiovascular screening centers will check your blood sugar levels. This is because the risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes are quite similar, and those who are at risk for heart disease are often at risk for diabetes as well. Unchecked diabetes can lead to heart disease, so it’s good to make sure that your blood sugar is normal. If not, there are steps you can take to get it under control.
- You will be weighed. A person’s weight can increase or decrease their risk of developing heart disease. Most centers will tell you your body mass index which is a calculation based on weight, height, and waist circumference. For those who are particularly muscular and active, BMI can be faulty since the numbers on the scale cannot differentiate between muscle and fat. For most people, the circumference of their waste is the most important factor when determining heart disease risk.
- You will be asked about your lifestyle. The way that you eat, the way that you exercise, and even the way that you sleep can have a profound effect on your risk of developing heart disease. The doctor conducting your cardiovascular screening will ask questions about how often you exercise at what you do, how well you sleep, and what you tend to eat. Questions may also be asked about smoking and drinking. Drinking in moderation is not associated with much cardiovascular risk, but drinking too much and smoking at all are both associated with a greater risk of developing heart disease.
- You will have a cholesterol screening. Cholesterol is an important substance that your body secretes to repair damage in its arteries. One type of cholesterol, LDL, repairs damage to the arteries. The second type, HDL, comes along and clears away the LDL. What you eat can cause your body to produce unbalanced levels of LDL and HDL. The most important question for this part of your cardiovascular screening is not your total cholesterol, but the ratio of HDL to LDL.
Heart disease screening is one of the most important types of preventative health screening anyone can get in their lifetime. Don’t wait until you have a problem to get help: get out in front of the issue with a preventative screening that can help you take charge of your health.