The family health history is the collection of health information about a person and his or her close relatives. The health issues faced by a patient’s parents or grandparents can be a good indicator of the health issues that a patient could be at risk of contracting. This is because family members share genes and usually environment, lifestyles, and habits, which help to identify increased risk for disease. Patients with a family history of heart disease can change their behaviors in ways to try to minimize their risk. For example, they could quit smoking, eat a healthy and balanced diet, take more regular exercise and have regular screenings. The aim of preventive care is to stop cardiac events from occurring, and in cases where there is a family history of cardiovascular disease, forewarned does indeed mean forearmed.
Even if your family does not have a history of heart disease, there may be other genetic factors that are important to be aware of. For example, African-Americans show higher risk for high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke, and Hispanics are statistically more likely to suffer from high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Regular screening for heart disease helps to identify risk factors at an early and more easily treated stages. This allows for the risk to be treated with lifestyle changes and medicines, if appropriate, before full blown cardiovascular disease develops. Cardiovascular screening should start around the age of 20, and take place every three to five years, unless the patient is at high risk. The key screenings include:
Blood pressure: It is important to test blood pressure, because high blood pressure does not usually present any other symptoms. High blood pressure is a key indicator of being at higher risk for cardiovascular disease.
Fasting Lipoprotein Profile: This test measures the patient’s total good and bad cholesterol levels and triglycerides. If these lipids are out of balance, a higher risk of heart disease is possible. However, these levels can also be controlled through healthy diet and exercise.
Body weight: People who are overweight put more stress on their cardiovascular systems, which can lead to heart disease. Starting at age 20, doctors may start to monitor a patient’s body weight index and waist measurement. If the measurements indicate that the patient is overweight, the doctor may suggest some lifestyle changes to help lose excess weight.
Blood Glucose: Patients should have their blood sugar levels tested at least every three years. High blood glucose levels indicate a risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, which can lead to other medical issues like heart disease and stroke.
Below is a short-list of just some of the plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed below.
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