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Thursday, March 6, 2014
Summer has arrived and the season for biking, hiking and swimming has only just begun. If you have not worked out in awhile, have a family history of heart disease or have had a cardiac event then you are at a high risk of having an issue with your heart. Knowing your body's condition can go a long way in preventing injury and disease. To make sure you continue to enjoy your summer plans, take a few tests to evaluate your heart health.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in men and women, and you can help reduce your risk for heart attacks, stroke and disabilities with these three check ups.
1. Check your blood pressure regularly.
High blood pressure may be an early indicator of heart complications such as heart disease, stroke or heart attack, so monitoring it on a regular basis, at every age, is important for your heart health.
Blood pressure is very easy to measure and relatively inexpensive. A measurement of 120/80, representing the systolic and diastolic values respectively, is considered to be a normal reading. With slightly higher systolic readings (between 120 and 139), or diastolic readings (between 80 and 89), one is considered to be "pre-hypertensive," which can eventually progress into a condition requiring medical attention and treatment.
2. Keep an eye on your cholesterol.
Cholesterol screenings measure the various lipid (fat) components in the blood and can identify if you are at risk for heart disease. Since lipids are one of the major heart disease risk markers that can be treated and modified, it is important for you to check them regularly. The lipid test is a fairly easy test to complete, and most medical professionals are familiar with the results.
It is important to note that if you have both high cholesterol and high blood pressure, you may be at a higher risk for heart disease or stroke than if you have just one of these conditions.
3. Have a Treadmill Stress Test.
Treadmill exercise stress testing can be a helpful tool in the prevention, detection and treatment of cardiovascular disease. The test takes less than one hour to complete and you'll leave with crucial information on the state of your heart.
Talk to your physician before starting any exercise program to make sure your heart is ready for exercise.
This article originally appeared in The Ohio State University Medical Center's Heart Newsletter and is published with permission.
Last Reviewed: May 21, 2010
Charles J Hardebeck, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University