It is easy to dismiss the need for cardiac screening if you don’t fit into the most obviously at-risk group. However, heart screening isn’t just for older men. Although the risk of heart disease does increase with age, and it is higher in men, other people can also be at risk. It is still important to take care of your heart if you are a woman, and you should start thinking about screening after you reach the age of 40. Getting tested for heart disease is particularly important if you have a family history of cardiovascular problems. If your father or brother was diagnosed with heart disease before the age of 55, or if your mother or sister had a cardiovascular problem before the age of 65, then you may have an elevated risk of heart disease.Even if you are in a lower risk group, regular heart screening after the age of 40 is still important. Cardiac screening will be able to detect the hidden risk factors, such as high blood pressure or raised cholesterol, that can put us at risk of heart disease even when we feel healthy. Keeping track of these aspects of our health can help us to recognise when we need to make changes, as well as ensuring that any problems that require treatment are detected as soon as possible.
Talking to a doctor can also help us to address some of the more obvious lifestyle factors that can put us at risk of heart disease. Even when we are aware that we are putting ourselves at risk by smoking, drinking too much, being overweight, or not getting enough exercise, it can be all too easy to ignore these problems. A heart screening can be a chance to discuss these kinds of risk factors and to get some personalised advice on how to reduce them.