Guest Blog: 3 tests to determine your risk for heart attack or strokeSubmitted by Agrawal Associates on February 8th, 2018
February 9, 2018
We all know of someone with cardiovascular disease. It is the number one cause of death and hospitalization in Canada, yet it’s also the number one preventable disease. We have some of the best physicians to deal with an emergency when it happens. Calgary is one of the best places to have a cardiovascular event. However, there is a big gap when it comes to preventing heart attacks and strokes.
Just as you meet your financial planner to check in on your wealth management plan, going to your family doctor is a great first step to check in on your heart health. They will look at your blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, and diabetes risk, and make sure you are on the right dose of medications. While that’s a good initial assessment, a cardiologist is a logical next step to really get an accurate picture of what you’re looking at.
At the cardiologist’s office they will perform an electrocardiogram (ECG), an echocardiogram to look at the structure and function of the heart, and an Exercise Stress Test. An Exercise Stress Test has been used for years and is the only test to determine and look for heart blockages on a non-invasive basis. Though this is a great test for determining advanced stages of the disease, there remains a gap in determining blockages that are less than 50 per cent — which cause the majority of heart attacks and strokes.
Looking to take control and do some testing on your own to determine your risk? Here are three key areas to consider when assessing your personal risk for a heart attack or stroke:
1. Floss your teeth
Bleeding in your gums can lead to a systemic inflammation, which can result in a heart attack or stroke.
2. Erectile dysfunction
Yes, it’s a sensitive subject, but sexual dysfunction is a big marker for artery dysfunction. Your arteries going to these organs are a lot smaller than the arteries going to your heart.
3. Carotid ultrasound
This test can be ordered by your family doctor to look for carotid (arteries in your neck) plaques. If there are plaques present, or an increased artery thickness, this can help assess your risk of cardiovascular disease. Plaques in your arteries are not normal. You may get a clean bill of health but it is important to ask about these things.
Discover you are at risk? Consider further testing and then look at the variety of treatment options available, with help from your medical team. Whether you focus on conventional or evidence-based natural treatment options, the goal is to reduce your risk and maintain a healthy heart.
Diamond Fernandes is a published author of Beating Heart Disease, 5 Powerful Pillars to Prevent and Reverse Disease. Diamond Fernandes is also the founder and director of the Heart Fit Clinic, a cardiac rehabilitation and heart attack and stroke prevention clinic in Calgary.
Opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of Investors Group. Consult your physician for health-related advice.