What is a heart check-up?
A heart check-up (or heart screening) is used to detect any early heart abnormalities. The doctor will be able to determine if you are at risk of developing heart disease within the next five years. They will work with you to manage the risk of heart disease by encouraging lifestyle changes, such as exercise, and in some cases, taking medication.
What risk factors will my doctor look for?
As part of your check-up the doctor will look for and discuss the following risk factors during your heart health assessment:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- High cholesterol
- Blood sugar levels
- Lifestyle habits, such as smoking and alcohol consumption.
Are there any risks to having a heart screening?
Screening tests may cause harm as they have the potential to present false results. A false negative may put the patient into a group of people who are less likely to have any heart conditions, which provides false reassurance.
A false positive may put the patient into a group of people who are more likely to have the condition, which can result in anxiety and referral for additional diagnostic tests that may not be necessary.
What heart tests may be made?
If the doctor suspects that you have heart disease, the following tests may be required:
- Exercise stress test
- Coronary CT angiography
- Coronary catheter angiography
At what age should I have a heart check-up?
Health screenings, which includes tests for your heart health should regularly happen between ages 40 – 64.