Care for Your Heart — Schedule a Screening
Knowing you’re in good health with complete certainty is always better than just guessing. Too often, patients live their lives unaware of potential problems until it’s far too late. In those situations, all loved ones can do is wonder, “What if?”
If you’re proactive about your health, minor warning signs can be detected early before they result in more devastating health consequences. This American Heart Month, learn about the various heart screenings available at Culbertson Memorial Hospital and secure peace of mind so you and your family never have to wonder.
About heart disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. About 697,000 Americans died from heart disease in 2020, accounting for 1 in 5 deaths and claiming one life every 34 seconds. Additionally, heart disease cost the United States roughly $229 billion each year from 2017-2018. The CDC reports coronary heart disease is the most common form of heart disease, affecting about 20.1 million adults ages 20 and older. Heart attacks are also common, affecting 805,000 Americans every year — roughly 605,000 of whom suffer their first heart attack.
Schedule a screening
The most effective way to get ahead of a serious heart problem is to schedule a heart screening test. Using a variety of procedures, physicians can recognize and diagnose warning signs, then develop a treatment plan to prevent more serious issues. Types of heart screenings include:
- Cardiac CT scan — This imaging test uses X-rays to capture images of the heart and its vessels. Painless, non-invasive, and only about 15 minutes long, this test can help doctors detect issues with blood flow and can even detect blockages such as calcium or fat deposits.
- Cardiac stress test — Some heart issues can only be detected during periods of physical stress or activity. A cardiac stress test measures how healthy a patient’s heart is and how well it works during such times, like exercise. Usually involving a treadmill or a stationary bike — or in some cases, a medicine that makes the heart beat faster — a cardiac stress test may be recommended for patients experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, and rapid or irregular heartbeat.
- Echocardiogram — This painless test uses sound waves to create moving images of the heart, like an ultrasound. Echocardiograms can detect blood clots, fluid buildup in the pericardium, tumors, complications of the aorta, and damage to the heart tissue.
- Electrocardiogram — Commonly known as an ECG or EKG, an electrocardiogram is a painless test during which electrodes are stuck to a patient’s body to measure the heart’s electrical activity. Electrocardiograms detect heart rate, irregular heartbeats, and strength and timing of the heart’s electrical impulses.
- Lab testing — Doctors may also order a blood test to ascertain a patient’s risk of heart disease. A panel of cholesterol tests can determine the amount of fat and cholesterol in the blood, thereby determining the patient’s risk of heart disease.