Heart disease isn’t reserved for older individuals. No matter your age, heart disease can become a risk. Between 1995 and 2004, the rate of heart attacks in those aged 35 to 54 rose from 27% to 32%. In the last ten years, the chances of people under 40 experiencing a heart attack increased by 2%.
Now that you know you could be at risk of a heart problem no matter your age, you must discuss these conditions with your doctor.
What to Expect During Your Consultation
When you visit your primary care physician, they will take several routine measurements to evaluate your heart health. These include:
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure
- Lung activity
Your doctor will also conduct standard blood tests such as cholesterol, blood sugar, and sodium. If you are at risk of developing high blood pressure and cholesterol or diabetes, your chances of contracting heart disease increase.
These tests are typical of an annual physical. If your doctor doesn’t immediately suggest them, you can opt to request them. Other more in-depth tests might include:
- A coronary angiogram, which involves inserting a catheter into your artery and applying a dye
- An echocardiogram, which is a type of heart ultrasound that focuses on your valves and chambers
- An electrocardiogram (ECG), which reads your heart’s electrical impulses
- An MRI, which creates detailed images of your heart using powerful magnetic fields and radio waves
Common Symptoms of Heart Disease
If you feel you are experiencing symptoms related to heart disease, vocalize them to your doctor. These symptoms might include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Chronic or sporadic chest pain
- Sensations of pressure or squeezing around the heart
In women, symptoms of heart disease are different. Often, women mistake a heart attack for a severe cold or food poisoning. Women having a heart attack might also experience:
- Pressure in the upper back or upper abdomen
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Nausea and vomiting
When it comes to heart disease in children and teenagers, symptoms are far more subtle and will hardly involve chest pain. In younger patients, symptoms of heart disease might include:
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing when keeping up with peers
- Inability to physically keep up with strenuous activities or sports
- Dizziness when taking part in physical activity
- Heart palpitations
- Frequent fainting
- Blue color around the gums
What to Ask Your Physician
If your doctor doesn’t explicitly ask about your heart during your annual physical, you can bring up the following questions.
- How is my heart health?
- Are my heart rate and blood pressure readings within the normal range of my age group?
- Would you recommend undergoing additional blood work?
- What are my risk factors for heart disease?
Bringing up a condition you aren’t sure you have can be a daunting task. However, it is a necessary one that will benefit your health over time. Prepare for your consultation by listing your questions beforehand.
If you’re a patient in need of preventative care, find out how Medistics Health can link you up with a dedicated care manager. With our services, you can easily schedule appointments and monitor your health remotely.