I’m 50 and diabetic. How often should I go for a heart check-up?

Diabetes and heart problem are two health conditions that are related to each other. A person with diabetes is very likely to develop heart disease at some point in his life. Individuals who are 50 years and older and suffer from diabetes should be more careful, as they are at a higher risk of developing a heart problem.

It thus becomes essential that a person with diabetes should make sure to get a heart check-up done too. For an individual who is over 50, it is recommended that he gets his blood pressure checked once a year and cholesterol level checked once in 5 years.

But for an individual who has diabetes, he should go for a BP and cholesterol check-up more often, so as to prevent or detect heart disease. Similarly, a heart check-up should be opted for more often too, that is at least once a year or more.

When considering heart checkup packages be sure that it includes the following heart check-up tests-

  1. Electrocardiogram (ECG) – The test is done to evaluate the heart’s electrical activity. The electric impulse or wave helps the heart pump blood to all the parts of the body. The test helps a doctor determine the time an electrical wave takes to pass through the heart. Thus, he can effectively evaluate if the wave is slow or fast.
  2. Echocardiogram- Quite safe and even painless, this test uses sound waves to determine the heart’s activity. The test uses a device, which releases sound waves that create a picture of the heart and its chambers. An ECG determines the thickness of the heart muscle and if it is pumping blood properly.
  3. Stress test- Also known as the treadmill test or the exercise test, it is done to determine the kind of capacity that the heart has. In case of hard physical activity the body requires more oxygen to function, thus the heart has to pump out more blood. It effectively determines if less blood is reaching the heart through the arteries.

The above are non-invasive heart checkup tests, a few common invasive ones are-

  1. Thallium stress test- It is a nuclear scan, which helps the doctor detect the amount of blood going into the heart.
  2. Coronary angiogram- It uses a dye that is injected into a patient’s blood stream to check for any blockage.

A heart check-up is necessary for a person who is 50 and has diabetes to prevent further complications in the future.