cat-right

A Quick Guide on The Importance of Getting a Heart Screening

Majority of people in Singapore easily dismiss the need for a heart screening when they don’t fit under the obviously at-risk bracket. This risk bracket usually includes people who smoke, are overweight, have high blood pressure, or at an advanced age. Other factors might also come into play: such as kidney diseases, high cholesterol, diabetes, and other psychosocial factors.

However, every cardiologist would know that a cardiac screening isn’t just for these people. The risk may increase with age and it is notably higher in men, but other people can also be put at risk of developing a cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Statistics

According to the World Health Organization in 2013, approximately 17.5 million people die annually due to CVD. This accounts to an estimated 31% of all deaths across the globe. Due to the alarming figure, cardiovascular diseases have also been globally declared as the leading cause of death in comparison with other potential causes such as injuries and communicable conditions.

About 80% of all cardiovascular disease deaths are due to strokes and heart attacks. Furthermore, the Ministry of Health published that about 16 people die due to CVD on the daily in Singapore. In 2015 alone, it accounted for nearly 29.6% of all deaths in the city-state. This translates to the fact that nearly one of every three deaths in SG is caused by a stroke or a heart attack.

Why do you need heart screening?

If you do not want to meet a heart surgeon for complicated cardiovascular cases, it is better to at least get your heart screened regularly. This would allow you to see if there are any factors that may suggest the occurrence of the disease and monitor if your arteries and veins are functioning well.

Getting a heart screening is particularly important among those who have a family history of cardiovascular diseases. If an immediate family member has been diagnosed with a heart disease or any other cardiovascular problem, consult your heart doctor to see if you likely possess an elevated risk of heart diseases.

Taking care of your heart by regularly going to a heart screening specialist clinic in Singapore is a responsibility you must always address. After you reach the age of 40, your body will become more vulnerable to diseases. Think of getting a screening to constantly keep in check with your general health.

Regardless of whether you’re in the higher risk group or not, getting your heart regularly screened after the age of 40 is crucial. Doing so would detect hidden risk factors, such as raised cholesterol or alarmingly high blood pressure. These factors may seem minute – but keep in mind that these small factors can put just about anyone at risk of getting a heart disease even if you feel healthy.

Keeping track of your heart’s wellbeing also helps you realize when you need to make lifestyle changes. You might be advised by your heart doctor to get some more exercise, avoid consuming fatty foods, or take some medications which can help in your circumstance. Either way, this is done to ensure that any cardiovascular issues which require immediate treatment must be detected and treated as soon as possible.

Heart screening is also a non-invasive procedure. You don’t have to worry over any heart surgeon to work their scalpel inside your internal organs, but if you are diagnosed with an advanced form of any cardiovascular disease after your screening – it might be best to consider surgery as a likely option.

General assessment

Your initial heart screening involves a quick review of your relevant family history. The best cardiologist would ask if you have a history of cardiovascular disease in the family, or if any immediate family member has been diagnosed with CVD. You will also be subjected to a comprehensive cardiac risk assessment – which includes your current blood pressure, age, HDL level, total cholesterol level, hypertension and smoking history.

In some cases, your cardiologist would allow you to work directly with an experienced practitioner to develop an individualized plan to reduce your identified risk factors.

The general examination and assessment of a heart screening includes the following:

    1. Body Mass Index (BMI)
    2. Cholesterol evaluation
    3. Blood pressure
    4. Fasting blood sugar test
    5. Depression scale assessment
    6. Physical exam
    7. Sleep evaluation
    8. Weight consultation
    9. Pregnancy history (for women)

If you are diagnosed with an existing intermediate risk, the heart screening process may also include getting a/an:

    1. Echocardiogram – A test done to evaluate the structural aspects of your heart
    2. Ankle Brachial Index (ABI) – To screen if there are any abnormalities in your circulation of your lower extremities
    3. Electrocardiogram (EKG) – For your cardiologist to easily evaluate the electrical conduction of the heart
    4. Microalbuminuria – A urine test to screen the existence of any early kidney disease
    5. Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) – A blood test to determine one’s risk of Diabetes

Note that this list is compiled in no particular order. Moreover, it is advised to have a cardiovascular/heart screening as early as the age of 20. Your screening procedure is an opportunity to take control of your health and general well-being.

A consultation after your screening also allows you to modify any unhealthy lifestyle habits. Note that we are all exposed to obvious lifestyle factors which can put us at risk of getting a heart disease; such as smoking, being overweight, having an unhealthy diet, excessive drinking, and not getting ample exercise.

It can be easy to ignore these problems and go by the adage, ‘You only live once’ – but if you don’t want to regret your youthful decisions at some point in your life, you must think twice about your lifestyle habits as early as today. Getting your heart screened is also a chance for you to discuss any existing risk factors or get some advice on how to prevent/reduce them.

Comments are closed.