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How to Find Out If You Have Heart Disease

Learn how to find out if you have heart disease from Dr. Dennis Finkielstein in this Howcast video.


How can you find out if you have heart disease? Well, one way would be to see your doctor. You'll talk to your doctor about some of the symptoms you may be having, and your doctor may do some basic tests, such as checking your blood pressure and doing some basic blood work which might include cholesterol checks. Identifying whether someone actually has heart disease may involve some basic imaging of the heart. That may come in the form of non-invasive imaging, where we do ultrasound of the heart, or a stress test. To take it one step further, we may do a test such as a coronary angiogram, where we take catheters or wires that go inside the body to the heart and take pictures of the heart arteries.

Usually an invasive test such as this is not required. Doctors look for the risk factors for heart disease and try to lower those. Whether or not someone actually has heart disease, these risk factor reduction methods just lead to generalized better health. Using various tests may tell us if someone has heart disease. An imaging test such as a cardiac ultrasound can look to see if the heart is squeezing strongly or not, and how are the heart valves working. Other tests such as stress tests may look to see if there are any blockages of the arteries of the heart, what we call the coronary arteries. Whether or not someone actually has heart disease, looking for the risk factors for heart disease, and treating those if they're there, is always a good idea.

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