Even if you do everything
right, you can still develop cardiovascular disease.
That’s why it’s especially important to
have your heart health evaluated by a physician. Most
experts agree that if you are healthy, you should get
a regular checkup at least
Twice in your 20s (every 5 years)
• Three times in your 30s (every 3 to 4 years)
• Four times in your 40s (every 2 to 3 years)
• Five times in your 50s (every 2 years)
• Every year if you are 60 or older
How do I know if
I am having a heart attack?
Heart attacks often
present with a pressure like heavy feeling in the center
of the chest. This sensation can radiate of spread to
the neck, shoulders or arms. You may also be short of
breath, have nausea and vomiting and sweating. Pain
that lasts only a few seconds is rarely ever from the
heart and the pain of a heart attack will last for minutes.
If these symptoms occur it is important to seek immediate
How do I know if
my chest pain is coming from my heart, or is only heartburn?
The chest pain of angina
pectoris is often a heavy tightness occurring in the
center of chest. It often occurs with exertion and resolves
with rest. Angina will typically last from five to twenty
minutes. Angina may not always occur at the same level
of exertion. It is sometimes very difficult to tell
heartburn from a heart attack. If your doctor is concerned
about the possibility of a heart attack you may undergo
a stress test or observed in the emergency room or chest
If my parents have
heart problems, will I?
The familial nature
of coronary artery disease is clear. There are many
factors that may account for this. Cholesterol levels,
tendency for diabetes, blood pressure may all be related
to familial risks. Dietary habits may also be learned
from parents and affect cardiac risks.
What is the importance
of my cholesterol level?
The blood levels of
cholesterol and triglycerides are also important risk
factors for coronary artery disease. The level of cholesterol
is directly related to the risk of coronary artery disease.
Cholesterol is measured as LDL or ‘bad cholesterol’
and as HDL or ‘good cholesterol’. The level
of cholesterol that your doctor will consider "good"
for you will depend on many factors. Levels of total
cholesterol are often best kept below 220. We can lower
the level of our cholesterol by eating a diet low in
fats and cholesterol. Avoiding fried and fatty foods
can be an important part of controlling blood cholesterol.