The best thing you can do to find out about your risk of heart disease is to see your doctor for a heart health check.
You may not be aware you have risk factors of heart disease early enough. Often there are no symptoms. So it’s really important to get your doctor to check your risks frequently, to ensure your heart is healthy.
We strongly recommend having a heart health check if you’re over 45 years old, and over 35 years if you have a family history.
What happens at a heart health check
A heart health check can be done as part of a normal check up with your doctor or health practitioner.
Your doctor will take blood tests, check your blood pressure and ask you about your lifestyle and your family (your grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters).
Give your doctor as much information about your lifestyle and family history as possible.
Once your doctor or health practitioner has your blood test results, ask them for your report which will state if you have high (more than15%); moderate (10-15%) or low risk (less than 10%) of a heart attack or stroke.
Questions you can ask your doctor
If you’re not sure what questions to ask, these suggestions might help.
- Does my family history mean I’m at more risk of heart disease?
- If I feel palpitations in my heart beats, should I get it checked?
- What should my blood pressure be?
- How often should I have my blood pressure checked?
- How can I lower my blood pressure?
- What do my cholesterol levels mean?
- What should my cholesterol levels be?
- When should I get my cholesterol checked?
- What can I do to reduce my total cholesterol level?
- What changes can I make to maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels?
- How much physical activity should I be doing and what can I do?
- What can I do to achieve or maintain a healthy weight?
- What can I do to stop smoking?
- Do I need to take medicines for my blood pressure or cholesterol?
- What do they do?
- Are there any side effects?
- How long do I need to take medicine for?
- How should I take my medicines (e.g. once a day with food, or twice a day 30 minutes before meals)?
- Where can I get consumer information about my medicine?
- Do I need to see another health professional, such as a dietitian or physical activity professional?