How to Check If You Have Heart-Related Diseases

Heart disease is considered a leading health risk among men today, affecting more than one in three adults. Whether it may be a heart failure, angina, coronary artery disease, or an arrhythmia, any heart disease is a serious condition that must be detected and treated promptly.

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However, many individuals go about their daily lives without knowing that they have developed an underlying heart disease. Here lies the importance of knowing the early signs of heart disease and of having it diagnosed at the soonest possible time.

Risk factors and early signs

The early detection of any disease starts with the patient. You may be at high risk of developing heart disease if you are overweight or obese, have diabetes, have poor diet, or physically inactive. Having high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and excessive drinking habits can also increase your risk of developing the condition. In America, half of the population, both men and women, are known to possess at least three of these risk factors.

Aside from the risk factors, you may experience the first sign of heart disease, which is often a serious event like a heart attack. However, you may be able to report some notable symptoms early on, which include difficulty of breathing after moderate physical activity, discomfort or squeezing feeling in the chest lasting for at least 30 minutes. Unusual pain in the jaw, neck, and upper torso, irregular heartbeat, and dizziness or fainting.

Detecting a heart attack

A heart attack happens once the heart disease has developed into a point where it impedes blood flow to the heart. It commonly manifests through a squeezing sensation or pain in the chest. This discomfort may also occur in the neck, jaw, back, arms, and abdomen.

During a heart attack, the patient will experience shortness of breath, nausea, lightheadedness, and unexplainable profuse sweating. It may develop into a stroke, which occurs when there is numbness or weakness on one side of the body. Aside from numbness, there may be intense headache, vision changes, loss of balance or coordination, and confusion. Once you are admitted for a heart attack, your vital signs will be constantly monitored, which includes the use of Dinamap SpO2 apparatus to monitor oxygen saturation in the blood.

Diagnosing heart disease

There is no single test that can diagnose a heart disease. If you have the abovementioned risk factors and symptoms, or if you have experienced a heart attack, your doctor may recommend several heart-related tests, such as an electrocardiogram, blood tests, and stress testing.

An electrocardiogram is a simple, non-invasive test that records the electrical activity of the heart, including its heart rate and rhythm. Aside from these, it is also able to manifest signs of heart damage due to the disease and show signs of a current or previous heart attack. Meanwhile, blood tests are required to keep track of certain levels in your blood, including cholesterol, sugar, fats, and proteins. Abnormal levels of these parameters may indicate your risk for heart disease.

Another diagnostic test, a stress testing, can also show possible indicators of a heart disease. During this test, you will be prompted to exercise to make the heart beat faster while tests are done. Photographs of your heart may be taken while you exercise and while you’re at rest. These imaging tests indicate how well blood flows through the heart and how well the organ beats and pumps blood.

While certain forms of heart disease can’t be prevented, many other types can, and it can be done through making certain lifestyle changes to improve the condition of your heart and to avoid unnecessary treatments and tests in the future.

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