• Heart Health Screening (HHS)

    The number of people suffering from a variety of cardiac-related diseases including heart attack is on the rise, prompting a lot of queries on how to prevent heart diseases. Fortunately, it is possible to prevent heart diseases by following the various heart health tips from the experts.

    The best way to avoid heart diseases in women and men is to lead a healthy life and monitor the following risk factors in heart diseases:

    Cholesterol

    Mere mention of cholesterol as part of the health screening guidelines can easily get everyone excited because of its bad connotation. However, not all cholesterols are bad and you need both the good or the HDL cholesterol and the bad or the LDL cholesterol to minimize your risk of a stroke or heart attack. Up to 75 percent of your body’s cholesterol is created by the liver and other body cells while the remaining 25 percent are sourced from your intake of animal products. Measuring your HDL and LDL cholesterol level is possible when you undergo cholesterol testing.

    It is important to keep your HDL levels up to minimize the symptoms of heart problems. Women who have 50 mg/dL, and men who have 40 mg/dL of cholesterol, or less than that, are at risk of developing heart problems. Your body will be able to produce more healthy cholesterol through the following:

    • Balanced diet
    • Avoiding intake of trans fat
    • Increased physical activity
    • Eating nutritious foods
    • Specific medications to increase HDL level

    Too much bad or LDL cholesterol in the blood can get your arteries clogged and increase the risk of developing heart problems or even a heart attack. The body already produces bad cholesterol naturally but there are certain genes that cause faster production of LDL cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends cholesterol testing once in five years. The test requires prior fasting of 9 to 12 hours. A total cholesterol level of less than 200 mg/dL puts you at low risk, 200 to 239 mg/dL is already borderline level and 240 mg/dL increases your heart disease risk by twofold.

    C-Reactive Protein

    The CRP level is also another important indicator of heart health with an increased level indicative of inflammation in the body. The C-Reactive Protein level is measured through a blood test. This test does not require any preparation or fasting so it can be availed of anytime. While the test is generally not painful, some people can feel a stinging sensation when the blood is drawn.

    This test is ordered to check for the following conditions:

    • Vasculitis
    • Lupus
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Effectiveness of the prescribed medicine
    • Infection
    • Cancer

    While a CRP test can indicate the presence of inflammation in any part of the body, a low level does not exactly negate the presence of inflammation. However, you can take the hs-CRP assay or high-sensitivity CRP test to determine your risk of getting a heart disease. A 1.0 mg/L hs-CRP level or lower puts you at low risk while a 3.0 mg/L hs-CRP level puts you at high risk of getting a cardiovascular problem.

    Glucose

    Your body’s glucose level can also be measured through a blood test. When you eat carbohydrate-rich foods like rice, fruits or bread, these are converted into sugar or glucose which your body needs for energy. The level of glucose in the body is controlled by glucagon and insulin.

    Health screening guidelines for a blood glucose test will require you to fast for at least eight hours.  The test may be ordered to diagnose diabetes, and also for other reasons such as when you experience seizures or fainting spells. When your fasting glucose test shows a result of between 70 mg/dL and 100 mg/dL then it is normal. When the test shows a 110 mg/dL to 125 mg/dL level then you have prediabetes. A result that shows at least 126 mg/dL means you have diabetes. While a high blood glucose level generally indicates diabetes, it can also mean an overactive thyroid gland, pancreatitis or even rare tumors.

    Biometric health screening is generally safe and bearable but the pain factor when it comes to getting the blood sample varies depending on the pain threshold of the patient and the size of the arteries and veins. While it is rare, there are patients who get an infection or experience excessive bleeding after a test. But painful or not, this is one of the best ways to ensure one’s overall health condition.

    References:

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