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Screenings for Heart Health

  • Category: Healthy Living
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  • Written By: Frederick Health
Screenings for Heart Health

Screenings are one of the most important things you can do for your heart health. Some conditions show no signs or symptoms, so the only way to catch and treat them is through an appropriate screening process. Depending on your lifestyle, personal and family health history, or risk factors, your doctor may recommend different tests or screenings. By knowing when and how often to get certain tests, you can take control of your heart health.

Blood Pressure

Testing your blood pressure is extremely important because high blood pressure typically presents with no symptoms. Having high blood pressure significantly increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.

If your blood pressure is within normal range (less than 120/80 mm Hg), you should get it checked at least once every two years starting at age 20. If your blood pressure is higher, your doctor will recommend getting it checked more often. Don’t drink coffee or smoke cigarettes at least 30 minutes before a screening since they can alter your blood pressure.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 93 million U.S. adults aged 20 or older have high cholesterol, but because no symptoms accompany it, many people don’t know their levels are high. Having high cholesterol can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke.

A fasting lipoprotein profile is a blood test that measures the total cholesterol in your blood. This test should be done every five years for people 20 or older who are at a low risk for cardiovascular disease, and more frequently for those who are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Having a family history of heart disease or high blood cholesterol, having diabetes, or being overweight are all risk factors for high cholesterol.

Obesity Screening

Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for heart disease and high blood pressure. One way your doctor can perform an obesity screening is by measuring your body mass index (BMI). A BMI is a calculation of your weight relative to your height. While directly measuring fat on the body is difficult, a BMI can give a good estimate to determine if you have a healthy percentage of body fat. Your results will fall into one of these categories:

  • Below 18.5: Underweight
  • 18.5-24.9: Healthy weight
  • 25-29.9: Overweight
  • 30-39.9: Obese
  • 40 or above: Morbidly obese

Your Primary Care doctor will perform a BMI test during your annual well visit.

Blood Glucose

A blood glucose or blood sugar test measures the levels of glucose in your blood. Glucose is a type of sugar and your body’s main source of energy. Too much or too little glucose can be a sign of a serious medical condition. Having high blood sugar can lead to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Your doctor may recommend a blood glucose test if you have symptoms of high or low blood glucose levels. The test may also be recommended if you have risk factors for diabetes including being overweight, having high blood pressure, or having a family history of diabetes. If you have or develop any of these risk factors, a blood glucose test may be recommended at least every three years.

At Frederick Health, treatment through prevention is the focus of your care. With regular visits to Primary Care, your doctor can learn about your unique personal, family, and social health history and how those factors affect your health. Your doctor can recommend screenings and tests based on this information and help identify and treat diseases or conditions before they progress.

Request an appointment with Primary Care today and see get a head start on important heart health screenings.