How to Keep an Eye on Your Heart Health

Your primary care physician is your teammate in helping detect and prevent heart disease.  Along with giving you tips for living a heart healthy lifestyle, they can offer screenings that can detect heart disease before you show symptoms.

Screenings your doctor may suggest include:*

Blood pressure
Screenings should be performed each year when you visit your physician to help track over time any changes in your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a key risk factor in heart disease and stroke, but often shows no symptoms.

Cholesterol
Cholesterol screenings should be performed routinely after age 35 for men and after age 45 for women who have an increased risk of heart disease. Cholesterol is a fatty substance that can build up in your arteries, causing heart disease.

Based on your individual health history and family history, your doctor may also suggest the following screenings:

Advanced Lipid Panel
An advanced lipid panel is a blood test that provides a large amount of information about your cholesterol and heart health. If you have a family history of heart disease and high cholesterol, these tests may be valuable in helping better understand your risk for heart disease.

Blood Sugar
Blood sugar tests can help diagnose diabetes or pre-diabetes, one of the leading risk factors for developing heart disease.

Abdominal Ultrasound
Those age 65 or older who have smoked may also undergo an abdominal ultrasound to check for an abdominal aortic aneurysm, a weakening in the walls of the aorta that may be life threatening.

Always talk to your doctor about what screenings would be right for you as well as any changes in your health and well being.

By Dr. Jason McHugh

*Screening recommendations from the US Preventive Services Task Force.

+ Watch Dr. McHugh talk about Advanced Lipid Panels.

About Dr. McHugh – Jason M. McHugh, DO, CAQSM is board certified in Family Medicine and Osteopathic Manipulation with a Certificate of Added Qualification in Primary Care Sports Medicine from the American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians. He earned a doctoral degree in osteopathic medicine from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed a residency in family medicine at the Genesys Regional Medical Center. Dr. McHugh did his fellowship in primary care sports medicine at Michigan State University/Sparrow Hospital. Dr. McHugh sees patients at Western Branch Family Practice.

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