Heart check

What is early detection of heart disease?
Early detection tests are tests done to find a disease before symptoms start. The goal of early detection is to detect a disease at its earliest and most treatable stage. To be widely accepted and recommended by physicians, an early detection program must meet a number of criteria, including reducing the number of deaths from the disease.

Screening tests may include laboratory tests to evaluate blood and other fluids, genetic tests that look for inherited genetic markers associated with the disease, and imaging tests that produce images of the inside of the body. These tests are generally available to the general population; however, a person’s needs for a screening test are based on factors such as age, sex, and family history.

During an early screening test for heart disease, people who do not have signs or symptoms of coronary artery disease (the most common form of heart disease) may be tested to measure:

-the amount of cholesterol carried in the blood, known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) (high levels can lead to clogged arteries), and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) that absorb cholesterol and carry it back to the liver, where it is removed from the body.
-blood glucose levels which is the amount of sugar present in the blood.
-blood glucose levels which is the amount of sugar present in the blood. The C-reactive protein appears in greater quantity when there is inflammation or swelling in some part of the body.
-blood pressure, the force of blood against the walls of the arteries when the heart beats and when it is at rest (systolic and diastolic, respectively).
* Depending on the results of initial screening tests and the presence of risk factors for coronary artery disease, your doctor may recommend additional tests, including:

* Depending on the results of initial screening tests and the presence of risk factors for coronary artery disease, your doctor may recommend additional tests, including:
stress test (also called an ergometric test or exercise electrocardiogram) consists of walking on a treadmill or pedaling on a stationary bicycle increasing the levels of difficulty, while monitoring the frequency and heart rate, blood pressure and electrical activity of the heart (by electrocardiogram), to determine if there is enough blood flow to the heart when the heart is demanded. Patients who are unable to exercise are given medicine that makes the heart beat faster and faster.
echocardiogram, which uses ultrasound to create moving images of the heart. In the stress echo, an ultrasound of the heart is performed before and after demanding of the heart, either through exercise or with a medication that stimulates the heart.
Cardiac CT for calcium quantification (also called coronary artery calcium quantification), examines the coronary arteries to measure the amount of calcium in the coronary arteries, an indicator of the amount of plaque in the arteries. Importantly, calcium only measures the presence of plaque. The severity of coronary artery narrowing (stenosis) cannot be assessed due to plaque.
coronary CT angiography (CT) that uses computed tomography (CT) and intravenous contrast medium (stain) to create three-dimensional images of the coronary arteries, and to determine the exact location and degree of plaque build-up.
myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) (also called a nuclear stress test) where a small amount of radioactive material is injected into the patient and accumulates in the heart. A special camera takes images of the heart while the patient is at rest and after exercises, to determine the effect of physical and emotional stress on blood flow through the coronary arteries and heart muscle.
coronary catheter angiography, which takes pictures of the blood flow through the coronary arteries, allowing the doctor to see any blockage or narrowing of the coronary arteries (stenosis). During catheter angiography, a thin plastic tube (called a catheter) is inserted into an artery through a small cut in the skin. Once the catheter is guided to the heart, a contrast medium is injected through the tube, and the images are captured using X-rays.

Who should consider screening for heart disease, and why?
About coronary artery disease
According to the National Institutes of Health, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and one of the leading causes of disability. Of the many different forms of heart disease, coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common and one of the leading causes of myocardial infarction (heart attack).

CAD occurs when plaque (a buildup of fat, cholesterol, and other substances) forms and grows along the walls of the heart’s arteries, a condition called atherosclerosis. As plaque builds up, the arteries of the heart (coronary arteries) narrow and blood clots can form limiting blood flow and creating a risk of complete blockage of the vessel resulting in a heart attack.

Risk factor’s?
Anything that increases a person’s likelihood of developing a disease is called a risk factor. Risk factors for CAD include:

age
gender
family history of the disease
smoke tobacco
a high level of cholesterol in the blood
high blood pressure
physical inactivity
obesity
diabetes

If preliminary tests identify signs of heart disease, or if you have specific risk factors for coronary artery disease such as abnormal cholesterol values, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, or family members who have developed the disease by At a relatively young age, your doctor may also recommend that you undergo one or more of the following diagnostic tests:

electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
exercise cardiac stress test
stress echocardiogram or echocardiogram
Cardiac CT for calcium quantification
coronary angiography (CT)
myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI), also called a nuclear stress test
coronary catheter angiography

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