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An important aspect of lowering risk of cardiovascular disease, also called coronary artery disease (CAD), is managing health behaviors and risk factors, such as diet quality, physical activity, smoking, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, total cholesterol or blood glucose. But how do you know which risk factors you have? Your healthcare provider may conduct or request screening tests during regular visits.
Few of us have ideal risk levels on all screening tests. However, if you do have test results that are less than ideal, it doesnt mean youre destined to develop a serious cardiovascular disease. On the contrary, it means youre in a position to begin changing your health in a positive way.
Some measurements such as body weight and blood pressure are taken during routine medical appointments and some cardiovascular screening tests begin at age 20. The frequency of follow up will depend on your level of risk.
You will probably require additional and more frequent testing if youve been diagnosed with a cardiovascular condition such as heart failure or atrial fibrillation, or if you have a history of heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular events. Even if you havent been diagnosed with a condition, your healthcare provider may want more stringent screening if you already have risk factors or a family history of cardiovascular disease.
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