Heart diseases is the number one cause of death in men and second most common cause in women. The symptoms of heart diseases take time to show. It is always advisable to take preventive steps, before a disease gets aggressive on our body and understand the changing symptoms that your body tells you.
We know our own bodies best and do notice and understand the changes they show. For example, if a person can climb stairs comfortably but appears to huff more over time, this could be an indication of heart disease.
Awareness and acceptance are the keys. Knowing what indicates a heart disease and accepting that your body is progressing towards it, can save you from the potential damage.
It is recommended that you visit a cardiologist and discuss the changes and symptoms that you may observe. Your cardiologist will prescribe some tests that can easily find out the cause of the changes and the intensity of the same.
Your cardiologist will first check your heartbeat. This involved checking the number of times your heart beats in one minute. This is important, as it helps in understanding the functioning of your heart. 60-100 heart beats per minute are considered a normal heart rate range.
High blood pressure can damage your arteries by making them less elastic, which decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart and leads to heart disease. In addition, decreased blood flow to the heart can cause chest pain called angina. Your cardiologist will check your blood pressure to see if there is any abnormality in your vitals.
High blood pressure mostly goes unnoticed as it doesn’t have any significant signs or symptoms, and most people don’t know if they have it. However, it keeps damaging the arteries at its own pace. Some of the symptoms of high blood pressure that are often ignored are headaches, shortness of breath, and nosebleeds.
Low blood pressure, on the other hand, is often described as causing dizziness, fainting, blurred vision, and a feeling of weakness.
Knowing the range of LDL, the bad cholesterol, and HDL, the good cholesterol, can also help you understand your heart condition. LDL builds plaque in the arteries and makes it difficult for the blood to pass. This may increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. HDL, on the other hand, helps remove the bad cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Your doctor may also suggest blood tests to check your levels of sodium, potassium, albumin, and creatinine. Abnormal levels may indicate problems with organs such as your kidneys and liver, as well as signs of heart failure.
An electrocardiogram, commonly known as an ECG, is done to sense the electrical activity of the heart. It helps your cardiologist to know what is happening in all the areas of the heart and if there is any problem with the heart rate or rhythm. This is a non-invasive procedure, done at a hospital or clinic that usually takes only 5–10 minutes, and the results are generated alongside.
Treadmill testing, also known as TMT, is used to determine how well the heart functions under stress. This means, if you are under a stressful condition or if there is a blockage, how well will your heart function? This is an important test in which you are made to run or walk fast on a treadmill, and your heart rate or rhythm is recorded.
This test gives an insight into heart blockage and the probability of heart disease.
Echo is an ultrasound of the heart. It shows how the blood moves within the heart valves. This test also assesses the pumping chambers of the heart. The normal range of ECHO is 55–65%. If the range is less than or equal to 40%, it means that the heart is not functioning properly.
Calcium scoring is the most accurate test to determine the blockage in the heart. If the calcium score is high, it indicates that the arteries are more blocked and that the risk of heart disease is very high. Many cardiologists consider this to be a reliable indicator of heart disease risk.