The importance of a regular heart check-up

Getting a heart check up often is extremely important. It is beneficial to detect arteries that are clogged as they could later lead to heart attacks. Studies suggest that women who are under birth control pillls are at a higher risk of developing a heart attack. Hence, women should go for a heart check up more often.

Earlier doctors used to offer a stress test, but nowdays cardiologists provide blood tests and advanced imaging which give a much accurate picture of the risks of heart attack.  Better detection of heart diseases are of utmost important to prevent possibilities of developing one in the future.

Tests performed during a cardiac checkup :-

  1. Cardiac calcium scoring- A CT scanner is used to check traces of atherosclerotic plaque (made up of scar tissues, cholesterol and calcium) inside your heart’s arteries. Electrodes are attached to your chest and an EKG machine monitors your heartbeat. You are supposed to hold your breath for atleast 10 seconds during the test.
  2. Carotid intimal medial thickness test- An ultrasound test of your neck is taken to check the carotid arteries. These arteries are responsible in supplying blood to your brain and head.
  3. High sensitivity C-Reactive Protein test- A blood test usually measures the CRP. This is a protein found in your blood which indicates inflammation throughout the body. People with high levels of CRP in their blood are more prone to suffering from a stroke or a heart attack. According to research belly fat can contribute to the formation of CRP.
  4. Lipoprotein test or advanced lipid profile- Unlike cholestrol blood tests which measure the total amount of cholestrol, triglycerides, LDL and HDL, advanced lipid profile measure the size of the particles thoroughly. Some particles tend to be fluffy and big, therefore, they tend to travel through the body by bouncing off the artery walls while the particles which tend to be dense and small penetrate the lining of the arteries and form plaque. The presence of small particles doubles your risk of a heart attack or a chronic heart disorder.
  5. A1C blood glucose test- This test indicates the average level of blood sugar found in your body. Unlike other glucose tests, this test doesn’t require any fasting or drinking a beverage rich in sugar content.

Genetic tests- A blood test is performed and the sample is sent to the lab for mutations of APOE genes or KIF6. If further risks of heart diseases are diagnosed, changes in diet and a drug to lower cholestrol levels are prescribed.