Resolve to Take Charge of Your Health
Tips from Cardiovascular Associates of Roswell
Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, but did you know that most of the risk factors that cause heart disease are preventable? By taking charge of your health and scheduling yearly check-ups, you increase your odds of catching preventable conditions early. And what better time is there to resolve to take control of your health than the New Year?
Check-ups may seem like a waste of time, but they are invaluable when it comes to detecting underlying problems. "The largest predictors of heart disease are conditions that you may not know that you have," said Ashley Rivers, MD, an Interventional Cardiologist at Cardiovascular Associates of Roswell. "High blood pressure and diabetes often have no associated symptoms, yet; if left untreated can have very significant consequences on your health and will put you at a very high risk of a heart attack and stroke. A routine health exam could assess these, start treatment and reduce your risk substantially."
Major risk factors of heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, lack of physical activity, smoking, high blood sugar and lack of physical activity. At a routine yearly check-up, a doctor will take into account your overall health, including your risk factors, talking with you about your family history, medications and any new conditions that have arisen.
"The physician will conduct a physical exam basically to look for any early signs of preventable disease," said Dr. Rivers. "This usually includes examination of your eyes, ears, mouth, throat, thyroid gland, heart, lungs, abdomen, skin and pulses. Your doctor may perform other exams as is appropriate given your individual health problems and concerns."
We recommend coming to your check-up prepared in order to make the most of your time:
- Fast before your check-up in case your doctor needs to order fasting labs. It may save you an additional trip to the lab on another day.
- Bring in a list of your medication prescribed by all of your doctors so that your primary doctor knows what your specialists are also prescribing you.
- Ask your family about their health history so that you can tell your doctor about your own possible risks.
- Keep track of any procedures or exams that you may have had done by other physicians such as eye exams, mammograms, well-woman exams etc. Also keep track of your immunizations if not received by your regular doctor so that he can update you records.
- If need be, make a list of questions that you have been wanting to ask your doctor, likely if you don't write it down you will forget when you are seen.
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