Cardiac Risk Assessment

Your doctor may do a number of procedures to determine if you are at risk for having a heart attack or having other problems with your heart. If you are aware of the risks, you can learn how to lower them.

YOUR PERSONAL HEALTH HISTORY

  • Factors that you cannot change include:

  • Your age.

  • Your gender.

  • Your ethnicity.

  • Family history (people in your family who have health problems).

  • Problems you were born with.

  • Factors that you can change include:

  • How active you are.

  • Blood pressure.

  • Your weight.

  • Smoking.

  • Alcohol or drug abuse.

  • How well you control your blood sugar (if you are diabetic).

  • Lipid profile.

PHYSICAL EXAM MAY INCLUDE:

  • Listening to your heart and lungs with a stethoscope.

  • Looking into your ears and mouth.

  • Touching pulses at your wrists, ankles and feet.

  • Feeling your belly.

  • Testing your reflexes with a little rubber hammer.

NON-INVASIVE TESTS MAY INCLUDE:

  • EKG (cardiogram).

  • Chest x-ray.

  • Stress test.

  • CT scan.

  • Echocardiogram.

  • Weight and height measurements.

INVASIVE TESTS MAY INCLUDE:

  • Blood analysis.

  • Angiogram or arteriogram. (Sometimes called cardiac cath).

  • Stress test with IV (in the vein) medicine.

IMPORTANT LAB TESTS

  • Desired fats (lipids) results:

  • Total cholesterol less than 200 mg.

  • HDL (good cholesterol) greater than 50 mg. Inherited trait. May be raised through exercise and some medicines.

  • LDL (bad cholesterol) less than 100 mg.

  • Triglycerides less than 150 mg.

  • Uric acid level. (An early warning sign).

  • Special CRP. (Believed by some to indicate higher risk).

TREATMENT

Treatment will be based on personal history and test results.

  • Most people will benefit from eating a healthy diet, low in saturated fat and high in fiber.

  • Exercise may lower blood pressure and positively impact lipid levels.

  • There are also drugs that may be effective in lipid management.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

VISIT: http://www.americanheart.org