Heart screenings look for health problems before you experience symptoms. They can also identify your risk for heart disease. Your doctor may recommend:
- Blood pressure test – High blood pressure (hypertension) increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. Starting at 20 years old, have a blood pressure screening test every two years.
- Lipid panel test – Measures the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. Too much cholesterol can build up on the walls of the arteries and put you at risk for heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease. Starting at 20 years old, you should have a lipid panel done every four years.
- Blood glucose (sugar) – Checks for high blood sugar levels, indicating untreated diabetes. Diabetes increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other conditions.
- Body mass index (BMI) – Gauges your tissue mass—muscle, fat, and bone—compared to your height to determine if you are underweight, healthy weight, overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese may increase your chances of heart disease. Calculating your body mass at home or during an annual check-up is best.
Health Screening Cost
Health insurance plans often cover the cost of heart screenings as part of wellness care. Pharmacies have machines to check your blood pressure for free. Your primary care doctor will also perform screening tests during your annual well exam.
If you have symptoms of a heart condition, your doctor may order diagnostic tests to find the cause.
Stress tests measure how your heart performs when it must work harder. They can help your doctor:
- Determine if there is enough blood flow to your heart during increasing levels of activity
- See how well treatment is working for your heart condition
- Identify abnormal heart rhythms
- Assist you in developing a heart-safe exercise program
During the test, you’ll either walk on a treadmill or take medicine to make your heart pump harder. We may also perform an echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) or nuclear imaging test at the same time. A board-certified cardiologist evaluates the images.
Abnormal heart rhythms tend to come and go. So, your doctor may recommend you wear a portable device to monitor your heart’s electrical signals during normal daily activity. The monitor records your symptoms only when you push the button. The recording allows your doctor to focus on what your heart was doing when you experienced symptoms.
A portable Holter monitor can record your heart’s electrical activity longer than an event monitor. You wear the monitor for 24 to 48 hours. The monitor will track your heart’s rhythm throughout the day and collect data to help your doctor diagnose your heart problem.
If you experience fainting and a heart rhythm problem, you may have a tilt table test. You lie flat on a table with safety straps and a footrest, and the table then tilts up to measure your heart’s activity as your position changes.
Vascular screening tests help catch plaque buildup, blockages and other vein and artery problems that can cause pain and other problems.
A vascular score includes three screenings that check for:
- Arterial disease
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm (weak area in your body’s largest artery)
- Blockages in the carotid artery (vessel in your neck that sends blood to your brain)
Each screening is $45, or you can get all three for $135. Other tests or procedures may be necessary if your doctor discovers you have vascular disease.
Over time, plaque can build up inside your peripheral arteries that run through your arms and legs. A peripheral arterial disease (PAD) screening can help identify the presence of narrowed and hardened peripheral arteries and assess your stroke risk. The screening includes:
- Personal and family health history and risk assessment
- Blood pressure reading
- Aortic ultrasound – Provides 2D images and video of your body’s largest artery in real time to detect blockages or a weakened artery wall
- Ankle-brachial index (ABI) – Compares blood pressure in your ankle and arm to identify PAD
Diagnosing Vascular Disease
Vascular disease affects how your circulatory system moves blood to and from the heart to the rest of your body. If your doctor thinks you may have vascular disease, you may need diagnostic tests to learn more.
Noninvasive ultrasound scans indicate how well blood flows through your veins and arteries. Specific types of ultrasound include:
- Abdominal vascular duplex – Assess blood vessels that supply blood to the stomach, liver and other abdominal organs
- Carotid duplex – Evaluates carotid (neck) arteries that supply the brain with blood
- Renal duplex – Examines how well blood flows to your kidneys through the renal artery
- Transcranial doppler – Examines blood vessels under the skull that send blood to the brain
Angiography provides detailed images of major blood vessels throughout your body. MRA helps detect aortic stenosis, aneurysms and other diseases and damage affecting your arteries.
An arteriogram is an imaging test that uses a special dye to see inside specific arteries or veins when taking an X-ray. It can show arteries in the heart and other parts of the body to help evaluate vascular disease.
A noninvasive arterial physiologic test checks for peripheral artery disease. It measures the blood flow volume and pressure at different places in your arms and legs. Your technician will wrap several blood pressure cuffs around your legs and arms at various places to get readings at each cuff point.
We want you to have the best possible testing experience, so we choose to follow the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission’s high standards for care. AnMed Cardiovascular Diagnostics holds accreditation in vascular testing. That means you can trust us to have the right staff, facilities, technology and processes to ensure your safety, privacy and accurate results.
Cardiovascular tests are available in more than one AnMed location, and services vary by location. Check with your referring physician or call ahead to the location if you have any questions about where to go.