When Should You Have a Heart Health Checkup ?

2023-08-03 14:44:21 0 By: Jigar Patel Times Read: 1462
When Should You Have a Heart Health Checkup ?

Are you aware of the risk factors associated with heart disease? Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death globally? Many individuals often overlook the importance of monitoring their heart health until they experience symptoms or an emergency. However, being proactive and scheduling a heart health checkup can help identify potential issues early on and reduce the risk of heart disease. In this blog, we'll discuss when you should have a heart health checkup, the vital signs to look out for and what you can expect during the process.


When Should You Have a Heart Health Checkup?

1. Preventive Check-Ups at Regular Intervals

Preventive check-ups at regular intervals are crucial for maintaining good heart health. During these check-ups, healthcare providers can assess your risk for heart disease and identify potential issues early on. Checking weight and BMI during regular annual checkups can help track changes in body composition and identify if weight gain is putting you at risk for heart disease.

Blood pressure tests, at least once every two years, starting at age 20, can help identify hypertension or high blood pressure, which is a leading risk factor for heart disease. Blood cholesterol tests, at least once every four to six years, starting at age 20, can help determine your cholesterol levels and assess your risk of developing heart disease.

Additionally, blood glucose tests viz. Random Blood Sugar (RBS), Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS), Glycated Haemoglobin (HbA1c) or other related tests would be recommended at least once every three years, typically starting at age 40 to 45, to check for diabetes, which is another significant risk factor for heart disease. By monitoring these key metrics, you can take proactive steps towards maintaining good heart health and reducing the risk of heart disease.

2. When You Feel These Signs:

(1) Chest Discomfort

Chest pain is often the most recognizable symptom of heart disease. When an artery is blocked or a heart attack is underway, individuals may experience feelings of tightness, pressure, or pain in the chest. The sensation is often described differently by various individuals. Some liken it to an elephant sitting on their chest, while others may describe it as a pinching or burning sensation.

The duration of the pain is typically more than a few minutes and can occur while at rest or while engaging in physical activity. However, if the pain is brief or localized to a specific spot, it is unlikely to be heart-related. It is still advisable to consult a doctor in such instances. If the symptoms are severe and persistent, calling an ambulance is recommended. 

(2) Heartburn

Heartburn is a burning sensation felt in the chest, often caused by stomach acid backing up into the oesophagus. It can be a common symptom of acid reflux, which occurs when the muscle that separates the stomach from the oesophagus (the lower oesophagal sphincter) doesn't close properly, allowing stomach acid to flow back up. In addition to a burning feeling in the chest, heartburn may also cause a sour or bitter taste in the mouth, difficulty swallowing, and a feeling of food being stuck in the throat.

Certain foods, beverages, and activities can trigger heartburn, including spicy or fatty foods, alcohol, smoking, and lying down shortly after eating. Over-the-counter antacids and lifestyle changes, such as eating smaller meals and avoiding trigger foods, can often help alleviate heartburn symptoms. However, persistent heartburn may require medical attention.

(3) You Feel Dizzy or Lightheaded

There can be various reasons why someone might experience a momentary loss of balance or a feeling of faintness. For instance, skipping meals or dehydration can cause such symptoms. Similarly, standing up too quickly can also cause a momentary dizzy spell. However, if you experience sudden and persistent unsteadiness along with chest discomfort or shortness of breath, it's crucial to seek medical attention immediately. This combination of symptoms may indicate that your blood pressure has dropped due to your heart's inability to pump blood effectively. In such instances, timely medical intervention is essential to ensure that the underlying issue is addressed promptly.

(4) Pain that Spreads to the Arm

Pain radiating down the left side of the body is a classic symptom of a heart attack. Typically, the pain begins in the chest and spreads outward, but in some cases, patients may experience arm pain as the primary symptom. It's essential to seek immediate medical attention if you experience such symptoms.

(5) Irregular Heart Beat

It's normal for your heart to beat faster when you're excited or nervous, and occasional skipped or added beats are also common. However, if you're experiencing palpitations, it's advisable to consult your doctor. Call an ambulance if the palpitations or irregular heartbeat persist or if they're accompanied by chest pain, dizziness, or shortness of breath. Palpitations are often caused by easily fixable issues like lack of sleep or excessive caffeine consumption. However, it could also signal a condition like atrial fibrillation that requires treatment. Therefore, it's essential to have a doctor evaluate the condition.

Final Thoughts

It is important to prioritize your heart health and ensure that you are taking steps to protect yourself from developing cardiovascular disease. Visiting your doctor for a regular checkup can help you stay proactive about your health, as well as give you peace of mind. Knowing the signs and symptoms of heart disease, watching for changes in your lifestyle, and having an annual checkup are great ways to keep on top of your heart health.

Author Bio:

Jigar Patel is the Founder of Health-e, a HealthTech app that simplifies health records management along with providing personalized and preventative healthcare solutions. Although he has 20+ years of operations and management experience in the EPC domain, Jigar’s true passion lies in making healthcare simpler, faster and more accessible for doctors and patients alike. He strongly believes that people need to be empowered to participate in their own healthcare and is constantly thinking of ways to build this into his app. He loves to keep things simple be it in life, product design, his work or the content he develops. Being married for 10 years and having 2 kids have taught him that perspective matters, so you can always count on him to share new perspectives on various topics.

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