Ways To Diagnose Heart Conditions
Your doctor will do some simple tests to get clues about how well your ticker is doing. They’ll listen to your heart, take your heart rate, and check your blood pressure. You may get a blood test, too.
We know that the risk of cardiovascular disease is related to age, gender, smoking, blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol. Interventions such as optimised blood pressure control, a programme of weight control, increased physical activity and statin therapy can all alter future risks and save lives.
Common medical tests to diagnose heart conditions
The tests you’ll need to diagnose your heart disease depend on what condition your doctor thinks you might have. Besides blood tests and a chest X-ray, tests to diagnose heart disease can include:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
An ECG is a quick and painless test that records the electrical signals in your heart. It can spot abnormal heart rhythms. You may have an ECG while you’re at rest or while exercising (stress electrocardiogram).
- Holter monitoring
A Holter monitor is a portable ECG device you wear to continuously record your heart rhythm, usually for 24 to 72 hours. Holter monitoring is used to detect heart rhythm problems that aren’t found during a regular ECG exam.
This noninvasive exam uses sound waves to produce detailed images of your heart’s structure. It shows how your heart beats and pumps blood.
- Stress test
This type of test involves raising your heart rate with exercise or medicine while performing heart tests and imaging to check how your heart responds.
- Cardiac catheterization
During cardiac catheterization, doctors can do different heart tests, deliver treatments, or remove a piece of heart tissue for examination. Some heart disease treatments — such as coronary angioplasty and coronary stenting — are done using cardiac catheterization.
- CT scan
In a cardiac CT scan, you lie on a table inside a doughnut-shaped machine. An X-ray tube inside the machine rotates around your body and collects images of your heart and chest.
A cardiac MRI uses a magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to create detailed images of your heart.
Many people who could benefit from health checks are not getting them in the first place. If you know you’re at higher risk of developing heart and circulatory disease, it’s really important to attend regular health checks to help manage your risk factors to prevent problems later in life.