Because there are many measures that you can take to prevent non-genetic related heart disease, understanding how your heart is performing is one the most important steps to becoming Heart Smart. These screenings range from the simple, everyday task to the more complex, you-might-want-to-call-off-work procedure. But regardless of the effort required to perform the screening, they are all significantly important in managing and preventing heart disease.
Believe it or not, every time you visit your Physicians East primary care physician, you take part in an extremely important heart screening. It’s often the first line of defense for your physician and plays a vital part in your overall wellness as well. At check-in, your primary care nursing staff will get your vital information like your height, weight, blood pressure, pulse and personal history update. All of this information plays a significant role in the screening process. If anything out of the ordinary shows up, your physician will be better equipped to recommend additional testing or screenings.
Also known as an exercise stress test, this screening exam is meant to measure the amount of stress exercise plays on the heart. You’ll begin a slow walk and gradually move to a steady jog on an incline while harmless electrodes placed on your body record all of the information about your heart.
This “Heart Ultrasound” is a non-invasive, painless procedure that gives your cardiologist a real-time image of the performance of your heart. This screening is usually performed as a diagnostic tool when you primary care physician feels necessary. It’s often used for patients who have had or currently have unexplained chest pain, a heart murmur, a congenital heart defect, a heart attack or rheumatic fever. There are three types of echocardiogram, and you can learn about all of them by exploring our diagnostic services page.
An echocardiogram gives your physician a real-time VIEW of your heart, but an ELECTROcardiogram gives your physician a real-time SOUND of your heart. This is used to monitor the pattern of your heartbeat as compared to standard heartbeat patterns. This test is used to diagnose issues with your heart’s electrical status, such as arrhythmia.
If a more extended report of your heart’s performance is required, your cardiologist can order a Holter Monitor study to record your heart’s rhythm for 24 hours or more. Small electrodes placed on your body measure your heart’s performance on a monitor. After the testing period is complete, your cardiologist will review the results and make a more informed recommendation on your treatment.
As stated above, the most important step to screening for heart problems is the first step: at your check-in. If you have questions about what those numbers mean and whether or not they are within acceptable ranges, just ask! The nursing staff is more than equipped to help you better understand the importance of those vitals (to understand just how vital they are). Just like you are the first step in preventing heart disease with a good diet and a regular exercise plan, understanding your vitals is your first step in screening for any heart problems before they start.