According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death globally. An estimated 17.3 million people died from CVDs (mainly coronary heart diseases and stroke) in 2008, accounting for 30 percent of all global deaths.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels, can be prevented through healthy eating, regular physical activity, avoiding alcohol/tobacco use and getting evaluated. There are some standard and simple diagnostic techniques to check if your heart functions well and whether you a have heart disease.
The three diagnostic tests that help lower the heart disease risk are as follows.
In this test, your healthcare provider feels your pulse to check for heart's rate, rhythm and regularity. They check if each pulse matches up with a heartbeat that pumps blood into the arteries and the amount of blood flow to different areas of your body.
Heart rate is the frequency of heart beats in one minute. You can also check your pulse and tell if your heart is beating the way it should. To measure your pulse, you can do it with the help of a watch. Keep your index and middle finger of your hand on the inner wrist of the other arm, just below the base of the thumb. You will feel a tapping or pulsing, count the number of taps in 10 seconds. To calculate your heart rate, multiply that number by six.
Doctors use a stethoscope to listen to your heartbeat. The opening and closing of your valves make a noise known as heart sounds. These sounds help doctors evaluate your heart and valve function.
Blood pressure is the pressure exerted in the arteries by the blood when pumped around the body by the heart. Blood pressure is recorded as two measurements – systolic blood pressure (pressure in the arteries during the heart's contraction and diastolic blood pressure (pressure in the arteries when the heart is relaxed).
Blood pressure can fluctuate, depending on your age, activity, emotions, heart’s health and the medications you take. One high reading doesn’t suggest that your heart is not functioning well. Therefore, it is important to measure your blood pressure at different times while resting to find out your typical BP value.
Your doctor can also check your heart through a physical exam or blood tests. During a physical examination, the doctor examines the parts of your body, such as your eyes, arms, legs, and skin, to tell about your heart's function. Checking your heart through blood tests includes checking your cholesterol and other markers that may mean heart disease.
Besides diagnostic tests and annual checkups, you need to adopt a healthy diet plan and establish an exercise routine to lower your chances of developing heart disease. Limit your intake of high-fat/ sugary foods and follow your doctor's recommendations to keep your heart healthy.
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