Z\Heart disease and suicide are big killers of the over 40s. Take these tests before it’s too late:
1. Coronary calcium scoring
If you are a male over 45, or have a family history of heart disease plus risk factors such as being overweight or having high blood pressure, a CT scan to check the plaque, cholesterol and scar tissue in the arteries around your heart.
“Calcified plaque, a major warning sign of coronary artery disease, is the leading cause of heart attacks. It shows up at least 10 years before a heart attack or stroke hits. By catching the problem early, you can treat it before the build-up narrows arteries so severely that it triggers a heart attack.”
The scan takes three minutes after electrodes are attached to your chest and to an ECG machine that monitors your heartbeat.
Every man over 40 and woman over 50 see their doctor for a coronary angiogram to detect any flaws in the heart before they begin a serious exercise regime.
2. Drinking test
This simple test need not involve your doctor – how big is your glass?
According to the National Health and Medical Research Council, if you drink more than two standard alcoholic drinks on any day, or more than four drinks on a single occasion, your lifetime risk of disease or injury increases. But what’s a standard drink?
You’ll probably be surprised to read a standard drink is 285ml of beer, 100ml of wine or 30ml of spirits.
3. Blood pressure test
High blood pressure (or hypertension) can lead to heart attack, stroke or heart failure, says Dr Rob Grenfell, National Cardiovascular Health Director for the Heart Foundation. It’s often called a silent killer because there are no symptoms. The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is by having regular check-ups.”
while there is no firm rule about what defines high blood pressure, normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg and high blood pressure is anything above 140/90 mmHg.
4. Cholesterol test
The Heart Foundation says all adults should have a fasting cholesterol test every five years – and every two years if there’s a family history of heart disease.
A blood test is used to measure your total cholesterol which includes your “bad” cholesterol known as LDL and your “good” cholesterol, HDL.
“As a general rule, aim for total cholesterol levels of less than 4, HDL cholesterol of more than 1, LDL cholesterol of less than 2 and Triglycerides of less than 2. “Too much cholesterol in the blood causes fatty deposits to build up in your arteries, which can cause a heart attack or stroke.”