Dr. Suzanne Sorof describes the tests women should have to maintain a healthy heart.
Ladies, I’d like to give you an overview of the tests that are available and the screening that we can perform to give somebody a good heart healthy checkup. If somebody is healthy and has never had a heart problem and they are just coming in for screening, usually a standard EKG and some blood tests can let us know where they are as far as their risk factors. That would predispose them to coronary artery disease. We check for blood levels of cholesterol, of glucose, of kidney function, we check thyroid levels and we do an EKG. If you do have anybody in your family that has had heart disease or a stroke and you are over the age of 40 we recommend at least doing a treadmill test, especially if there’s any kind of symptoms at all, such as chest pain or chest tightness. If somebody is short of breath we do want to measure pressures and look at the valves of the heart and that would be an echocardiogram or an ultrasound of the heart. And like I said previous, in earlier my recommends, women who have a larger body habitus or who do not exercise regularly, should have additional imaging when they are having their treadmill test or their EKG treadmill, and that will give us a good, solid, sensitive and accurate test of how the heart is handling stress. And that could be both psychological stress and physical stress because both of them can exert themselves on the heart and cause heart attacks.