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What age should you start heart screenings and how often should they be done?

Posted at 1:56 PM, Feb 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-14 15:56:07-05

February is Heart Healthy Month and research shows clear links between developing cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels and obesity.

Jaime Montuoro, a Smith's Pharmacist, says the key to preventing cardiovascular or coronary artery disease is managing your risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood glucose.

For many people, screening results can provide motivation for the hard work of changing less than desirable health habits.

Most cardiovascular screening tests should begin at age 20. The frequency of repeat screening depends on the results as well as on your level of risk such as: heart failure or atrial fibrillation, or if you have a family history of heart attacks, heart disease or stroke.

Montuoro says it's important to measure blood pressure because it usually has no symptoms that can be detected without being measured. It should be checked at least once every two years. Normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg. High blood pressure can be controlled through lifestyle changes or medication.

A cholesterol screening involves a blood test that measures total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol and triglycerides. Then, if your cholesterol is determined to be within a normal range, you should have the test repeated every four to six years.

High blood glucose levels put you at greater risk of developing insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is an independent risk factor for heart disease as well. You should have your blood glucose checked at age 45, or earlier if you have other risk factors including being overweight. Repeat blood glucose screenings are recommended every 3 years if within the normal range.

Smith's is working with the American Heart Association to raise funds to find cures and bring hope to those fighting cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

By donating $1 to the American Heart Association at the Smith's pharmacy check-out register, together we can save and improve lives in our community. The campaign runs through February.

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