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Diagnosing Heart Disease

If you have some symptoms of heart disease you should go and meet a doctor and get screened. He will do a series of test that includes the following:

(ECG or EKG). An ECG is a quick and painless test that records the electrical signals in your heart. It can spot abnormal heart rhythms. You may have an ECG while you're at rest or while exercising (stress electrocardiogram).

  • Holter monitoring. A Holter monitor is a portable ECG device you wear to continuously record your heart rhythm, usually for 24 to 72 hours. Holter monitoring is used to detect heart rhythm problems that aren't found during a regular ECG exam.

  • Echocardiogram. This noninvasive exam uses sound waves to produce detailed images of your heart's structure. It shows how your heart beats and pumps blood.

  • Stress test. This type of test involves raising your heart rate with exercise or medicine while performing heart tests and imaging to check how your heart responds.

  • Cardiac catheterization. In this test, a short tube (sheath) is inserted into a vein or artery in your leg (groin) or arm. A hollow, flexible and longer tube (guide catheter) is then inserted into the sheath. Using X-ray images on a monitor as a guide, your doctor carefully threads the catheter through the artery until it reaches your heart. During cardiac catheterization, the pressures in your heart chambers can be measured, and dye can be injected. The dye can be seen on an X-ray, which helps your doctor see the blood flow through your heart, blood vessels and valves to check for problems.

  • Cardiac computerized tomography (CT) scan. In a cardiac CT scan, you lie on a table inside a doughnut-shaped machine. An X-ray tube inside the machine rotates around your body and collects images of your heart and chest.

  • Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A cardiac MRI uses a magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to create detailed images of your heart.

The doctor will also perform a physical exam that can include a blood test and chest X-ray. Lastly, he will ask about your personal and family medical history.

What is the Blood Tests for Heart Disease for:

A Lipid profile that includes:

  • Total cholesterol

  • LDL (low-density lipoprotein), the so-called "bad" cholesterol

  • HDL (high-density lipoprotein), the so-called "good" cholesterol

  • Triglycerides

  • Lipoprotein (a) is a special type of lipid-containing protein. Your genes, not diet or exercise, play the main role in determining your level of Lp (a).

  • Your liver produces C-reactive protein (CRP) as part of your body's response to injury or infection. Inflammation plays a central role in the process of atherosclerosis, in which fatty deposits clog your arteries. CRP test results combined with other blood test results and risk factors for heart disease help create an overall picture of your heart health.

Test the Homocysteine

  • Your body uses homocysteine to make protein and to build and maintain tissue. However, too much homocysteine may increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Homocysteine is usually ordered for people who have a high risk for developing heart disease or have a known history of heart disease. It is also used for people with a family history of heart disease but no other known risk factors.

And other Blood Tests for Other Body Systems such as:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)is a series of tests that measures your red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

  • Sodium and potassium levels are measured to detect a problem with electrolytes in the body fluids.

  • Blood urea nitrogen and creatinine are measured to check kidney function.

  • Fasting glucose is performed to diagnose diabetes or pre-diabetes.

  • ALT and AST is performed to detect liver inflammation or damage.

  • TSH is measured to check thyroid function.

Why do we check on family history?

A family history could increase your risk of developing heart disease in a number of ways. You could've inherited genes that cause heart disease. While there's no single gene that causes heart disease, several genes can work together to increase your chances of developing it.

Overall, the tests you'll need to diagnose your heart disease depend on what condition your doctor thinks you might have.



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