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"Are cardiovascular checkups the only way of screening for heart disease?"
I have a family with a history of heart disease. I am a 48 year old man and would like to know more about screening for this disease.
The answer to your question depends on a few factors. Having a family history of heart disease is an important consideration when determining if and how you will be screened for heart disease. since you are in your 40s, you should get yearly tests for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. If any of these tests are positive, then you will need treatment. Good control of each of these can really help reduce your chances of having heart disease. In addition, if you are a smoker, then quitting is crucial to your heart health. If all of these factors are in check, and you are not having any concerning symptoms, then you probably don't need any further workup. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can review all your cardiovascular risk factors (high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and high cholesterol). In addition, your doctor can ask about any symptoms your are having. If you report any concerning symptom, then you may warrant either a stress test or an echocardiogram. The stress test would be done if you reported any chest pain or shortness of breath with exertion. It is a good screening test for coronary artery disease, the most common cause of heart attacks. The echocardiogram would show the details of your hearts function and be done if you are showing signs of heart failure. I hope that helps.
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