The only way to know for sure whether you’re at risk for heart disease is to visit your doctor and get a complete physical exam and blood tests to learn your cholesterol levels. However, you’ll get a good idea about your general risk by seeing if you match any of the factors that increase your risk for heart disease. You’re at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease if you’re a man older than 45 or a woman over the age of 55. A family history of heart disease is normally a red flag, too. Other risk factors include:
High blood pressure: High blood pressure makes your heart work harder and causes damage to blood vessels
High cholesterol: Excess cholesterol can stick to artery walls, block the flow of blood, and cause a heart attack
Overweight and obesity: Being overweight puts you at risk even if you don’t have any of the other risk factors
Diabetes: Diabetes is a significant risk factor
Smoking: Cigarette smoking can raise blood pressure and damage your heart and blood vessels.
If the doctors at Ballantyne Medical Associates are worried about your risk factors, or an examination or blood tests raise concerns about your heart, they’re prepared to find answers with in-depth diagnostic testing, such as:
When our tests show you have a problem in your heart or blood vessels, it’s time to see a cardiologist. We’ll give you a referral to a trusted physician and, with your permission, we’ll share our test results and talk with the cardiologist to make sure your transition goes smoothly. We’re still your primary care physicians, so we’re here to answer questions and to support your health through treatment for heart disease, especially with areas that are so vital for your heart like nutrition, reducing stress, and maintaining a healthy weight.