Screening for heart failure can save lives. If you are at risk of heart failure, identifying this risk before you actually fall ill will enable you to start treatment earlier, and potentially even to avoid having a major cardiac event.
The benefits of heart screening are clear, but the type of screening that you need and how often you should have your heart checked will depend on your risk of heart disease and whether you have experienced any symptoms. If you are in a high risk group, if you have had a heart problem or any possible symptoms of heart disease, or if your doctor has recommended it, then you should undergo screening for heart failure.
You can work out whether you are likely to be at risk of heart disease by looking at your lifestyle and medical history. If you are overweight, if you do little exercise, or if you eat an unhealthy diet, you could be at risk from heart disease. Drinking alcohol and smoking can also increase your risk, as can a history of diabetes, high blood pressure or obesity. You might also be at higher risk if you have a family history of heart disease.
Thinking about these risk factors can help you to decide whether you should be screened for heart failure, but it can also help you to identify ways in which you could improve your health. Many of the risk factors are within your control, so you can start to take better care of your heart by losing excess weight, giving up smoking, or working on lowering your cholesterol. Screening is important, but it is just one part of a good defence against heart disease.
If you still aren’t sure whether you should have a screening for heart failure, you can always talk to your doctor. It isn’t always easy to tell who is at risk from heart disease just by looking at people’s lifestyles, but a general health check can determine who will benefit from further screening. All cardiac screenings will actually begin with a more general check up, taking your medical history and asking about your lifestyle, in order to decide which tests you should undergo.