Heart Disease Screenings in Erie, PA
Staying on top of your heart health is one of the most important things you can do for your body. Heart disease can develop without being noticed, especially with many American’s poor diets and lacking exercise routines.
Risk Factors for Heart Disease
Any person can be affected by a range of medical conditions included under the umbrella term “heart disease”. However, there are known contributing factors that can increase a person’s risk, including those who:
- Have a family history of heart disease
- Are of a more mature age
- Are male
- Frequently use stimulants such as alcohol
- Have high cholesterol
- Have high blood pressure
- Are obese
- Do not exercise regularly
- Maintain a poor diet
- Have uncontrolled type 1 or type 2 diabetes
- Have high C-reactive protein (CRP) levels
Not every risk factor for heart disease is within a person’s control, but there are certainly many ways to reduce your risk by eating more nutritious foods, quitting smoking, and making sure that any related health concerns are well monitored and maintained.
Diagnostic Testing for Heart Disease
Many different screening tests are available to diagnose and test for different forms of cardiovascular disease. The key is to understand your unique risk factors and know which symptoms to look out for.
Fasting Lipoprotein Profile
Lipoprotein profiles, or lipid panels, are done to determine the different levels of fat that are in a person’s blood. The three lipid levels physicians at Community Health Net regularly scan for are:
- LDL Cholesterol: Low density lipoprotein is often referred to as the “bad” type of cholesterol, as it can cause a buildup of plaque in the arteries.
- HDL Cholesterol: High density lipoprotein is the “good” cholesterol. A high HDL level is a contributing factor for preventing heart disease.
- Triglycerides: Every person will experience increased triglyceride levels after eating, as triglycerides are created by extra calories that are converted into fat that is stored within the body to be used later on if needed. These fats can contribute to heart disease, along with low HDL and high LDL levels.
C-Reactive Protein Screening
C-reactive protein (CRP) is created by the liver to address areas of inflammation within the body. As LDL cholesterol levels rise, it is common for affected arteries to experience significant inflammation, which will result in higher production levels of CRP.
High CRP levels have been linked to:
- Coronary heart disease
- Peripheral arterial disease
- Type 2 diabetes
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening
The screening process for abdominal aortic aneurysm is a very simple procedure. Patients will lie down on their back while an ultrasound is used to scan the abdomen, and any irregularities in the abdominal aorta are noted by a board-certified physician.
This diagnostic test is often ordered for males who have smoked regularly at some point in their life. Even men who have never smoked may be recommended for a screening, especially if they have a family history of this serious condition.
Once an individual reaches age 45, they should have their blood glucose (blood sugar) levels checked. This quick and easy test can help identify common conditions such as prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, or insulin resistance. If the person is overweight and possesses at least one other known risk factor for cardiovascular disease, a blood glucose screening is likely to be administered.
High blood pressure often shows no immediate symptoms, but is incredibly easy to check. Make sure to have your blood pressure monitored at least once every 2 years, or more frequently if any other known risk factors are present.
Community Health Net offers all forms of cardiovascular disease screenings mentioned above at our office locations throughout Western PA. Please call (814) 455-7222 today to schedule a consultation with one of our specialists to discuss your potential risk factors for heart disease, and how you can limit your risk by implementing small lifestyle changes in your day-to-day routine.