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Healthy Heart: Which tests you should take

9:33 AM, Aug 10, 2011   |    comments
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Healthy Heart

(WZZM) - How often do you wonder - do you I really need my cholesterol checked again? Or is an exercise stress test really necessary?

It can be not only confusing but intimidating to talk with your doctor about what tests you should be getting for your heart as you age.

The September issue of Consumer Reports is dedicated to helping you protect your heart and lists a series of tests that are common and which ones most people don't need. Spectrum Health's Medical Director of Cardiovascular Imaging, Dr. David Langholz agrees with many of the findings. He also says often patients are over tested,"We do test too much. There are a number of studies showing that there's too much testing done. Testing is a way sometimes to help reduce the risk of lawsuits unfortunately it's just a true statement. The other piece is driven by patients want objective for their symptoms. And it's reassuring if they have a normal test."

Here is a breakdown of some of the most common tests:

Blood Pressure
Everyone needs a blood pressure test every time they visit the doctor. It's a good early indicator of what's going with your vascular system and it doesn't cost much.

Cholesterol
Every 5 years for healthy individuals
But for men over 35 and women over 45 who have heart disease risk factors they should consider having it done every year.

EKG ( Electrocardiogram)
Best for people who have symptoms of heart disease who have chest pain or those over 50 who would like a baseline.

Exercise Stress Test
Only for those who have symptoms of heart disease like chest pain.

Ct Angiography
For patients who have chest pain and an abnormal result on an EKG.

It's your health and you deserve the best care possible without paying for more than you need.

By Valerie Lego

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