Are there regular cardiology tests I should be receiving at my age and with my family history?
I am a healthy woman of 45 years of age. I've spent my whole life working toward good health, but haven't been too obsessive. I've allowed myself good balance in things such as food, exercise and an occasional alcoholic beverage. I guess you could say I'm not a person of excess. I've been cognoscente of my health, as I fear hereditary heart disease. So many of my family members have suffered from heart disease and heart issues leading to their death, with those issues happening to them between 40 and 65 years of age. I've seen my internal medicine physician for regular checkups, but have never been to a cardiologist. Is this something I should consider? Are there regular cardiology tests I should be receiving at my age and with my family history?
There are regular cardiology tests that you should be receiving at your age. What those test are might depend on what those conditions were that your family member's passed from, so it's important to discuss them with your primary care physician. If most of them died of sudden cardiac death, then getting an EKG with your doctor might be helpful to make sure you aren't at risk for an arrhythmia. If you have a murmur, then you should have an echocardiogram to make sure that you do not have a hereditary cardiomyopathy (disease of the muscle of the heart). If your family member's had issues with coronary artery disease and heart attacks, then you should have your cholesterol checked, be tested for diabetes, and have your blood pressure monitored at least once per year assuming all those are normal. I think that your first step should be to discuss your family history with your primary care physician. After that, you should have the appropriate testing based on what they died from and any symptoms you might be having. If all of this checks out and is normal, then you might be able to stick to regular preventative health visits with your primary care doctor. If anything is abnormal, then you should get a referral to a cardiologist for further workup.
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