Modern urban life has brought in a number of lifestyle health issues. One of the most common problems is related to your heart. Your heart works 24 hours a day, non-stop and you always take it for granted. If you live unhealthy life and eat wrong food, don’t exercise, harbour negative emotions within, your heart bears all the stress. You may get hypertension or heart blockages or high cholesterol. You will never know all this unless you face symptoms like extreme fatigue, chest pain, irritation, lose of interest in activities. It is always advisable to check your heart’s health periodically after you cross the age of 30.
Following are various ways to check the health of heart.
- ECG ( Electrocardiogram): This is a graph of voltage versus time – of the electrical activity of the heart using electrodes placed on the skin. These electrodes detect the small electrical changes that happen during each heartbeat (cardiac cycle). Changes in the normal ECG pattern occur if there is any problem in the heart. ECG is a safe, inexpensive and easy way to know primary information about your heart’s health. However, it is not conclusive. A healthy ECG may not show many other conditions related to heart. But this is a primary and immediate way of knowing information about the heart.
- Echocardiography : It is used in the diagnosis, management, and follow-up of patients with any suspected or known heart diseases. It provides helpful information, including the size and shape of the heart (internal chamber size), pumping capacity, and the location and extent of any tissue damage. It also helps determine whether any chest pain or associated symptoms are related to heart disease. Doppler echocardiography can also produce accurate assessment of the blood flowing through the heart. Three-dimensional echocardiography enables detailed inside assessment of heart. Echocardiography is not invasive (does not involve breaking the skin or entering body cavities) and has no known risks or side effects.
- Cardiac Stress Test: Cardiac stress test compares the blood circulation of patient between his conditions of rest and exercising. This test measures the parameters while the patient exercises on a treadmill. The level of stress is progressively increased by raising the difficulty level and speed of treadmill. The results can be interpreted as a reflection on the general physical condition of the patient. This test can be used to diagnose coronary artery disease and assess patient prognosis after a heart attack. Stress testing, although more effective than a resting ECG at detecting heart function, is only able to detect certain cardiac properties.
- Angiography: It is a medical imaging technique used to visualize the inside of blood vessels and organs of the body, with particular interest in the arteries, veins, and the heart chambers. The patient is injected with a dye into the blood vessel which enables to capture images of blood vessels and heart on a film. This test accurately shows the blockages within the blood vessels and other problems in the heart. It conclusively establishes many kinds of heart problems. However, this is an invasive test. One day prior preparation is required. In layman terms a thin wire is inserted into the blood vessel through the arm or thigh until it reaches the heart and then images of the heart are captured. It is very easy to do this test due to advanced technology nowadays and it is a very reliable test.
Remember, your health is in your hands. Proactively maintain good health and live a fulfilling and blessed life.