The occurrence of cardiac diseases is on a steep rise in India. Studies show that 1 out of 4 lives are lost to cardiac diseases in the country. This figure has pushed Indians to dig up more information about what diagnostic tests can be done to evaluate heart function
Common Heart Diseases
Heart diseases can often affect you without any prior symptoms. Here’s a list of common cardiovascular diseases and their signs:
- Coronary artery disease – This condition occurs due to raised cholesterol levels in your blood which results in plaque deposition and narrowing of your blood vessels. Coronary artery disease can lead to shortness of breath, chest pain and even a heart attack if not diagnosed in time.
- Myocardial Infarction – It is a form of heart ailment that is caused by damaged heart muscles. If the blood flow to your heart gets interrupted, the muscles of this vital organ do not get the necessary oxygen and nutrition and slowly get damaged. Myocardial infarction is more commonly known as heart attack. This condition is characterised by dizziness, fatigue, pain in between the shoulder blades, jaws, arms and chest, dizziness, fatigue, cold sweat, heartburn, nausea, anxiety, etc.
- Arrhythmia – It is a condition where your heart beats in an irregular manner. This disorder can be of 4 types – tachycardia, bradycardia, premature ventricular contractions and fibrillation. Fluttering heartbeat, racing heartbeat, slow heartbeat, shortness of breath, sweating and chest pain are common symptoms of arrhythmia.
Common Tests for the Diagnosis of Heart Diseases
There are both lab tests and imaging tests that could conduct a cardiovascular assessment. You can get yourself tested with the following diagnostic methods to avoid any serious complications caused by them:
Cardiovascular Lab Tests
- Cholesterol Test – Cholesterol test is a blood test that is used in heart disease diagnosis caused due to cholesterol deposition in the vessels. This investigation can shed light upon your chances of developing coronary artery diseases that could increase your risk of getting a heart attack.
- Natriuretic Peptides test – B type: Natriuretic peptides (BNP) are a form of protein that is produced by your heart and blood vessels which helps to relax your blood vessels. In case you suffer from a heart ailment, the concentration of BNP increases in your blood.
Imaging Tests for Cardiovascular Assessment
- Echocardiogram (ECG) – Echocardiogram is an imaging test that produces live images of your heart using sound waves. It helps doctors to diagnose problems in the valves and chambers of your heart and its ability to pump blood that could lead to conditions like arrhythmia, myocardial infarction etc.
- PET scan (nuclear imaging) – Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a test used to diagnose coronary artery disease and cardiomyopathy (diseases related to your heart muscle). In this test, radioactive materials are introduced in your blood stream that produce gamma rays and are captured by specialised cameras. This test helps to diagnose conditions like coronary artery disease and heart failure.
Various studies have shown that the younger (25-35 years) generation of India is now at a greater risk of heart diseases. This has increased the importance of knowing about the tests to detect heart diseases, especially if you start to have symptoms of such conditions.