Which Tests Screen for Cardiovascular (Heart) Disease?

Alexis Bryan
Alexis Bryan23 Aug 2022
Reviewed and Fact Checked ✔️

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) affects the heart and blood vessels, leading to heart attacks and strokes. CVD is the #1 cause of death in the U.S., claiming over 650,000 lives per year, even though a large majority of heart disease and stroke events are preventable through lifestyle changes. Tests that screen for cardiovascular disease include cholesterol screening, glucose screenings, c-reactive protein screening, and more.

Tests that Screen for Cardiovascular (Heart) Disease

Monitoring your blood pressure is arguably the easiest way to ensure heart health. By keeping your blood pressure within the healthy range (below 120/80 mm Hg), you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys. Blood pressure monitors are not just available in a doctor’s office but are also often located in grocery stores, pharmacies, and other community spaces. Read up on the correct way to measure and interpret your blood pressure to be in control of your heart health.

Cholesterol Screening

Heart disease screenings also include a cholesterol screening, called a Lipid Panel, which requires a blood sample. Sometimes the provider will offer a finger-stick blood sample to measure cholesterol levels to determine your risk of developing atherosclerosis. With Mira, the customer service team can help you find a nearby location for a same-day lab test. 

Glucose Screening

Measuring your glucose is not only an important heart disease screening but also an important diabetes screening. High blood glucose, or “blood sugar,” puts you at risk for developing insulin resistance, prediabetes, and diabetes. The A1C test measures your average blood sugar levels over the past three months. If you are overweight, you are at higher risk for having high blood sugar and should seek additional heart disease screenings as well.

C-reactive Protein Screening

C-reactive protein is an indicator of inflammation in the body and can suggest the presence of atherosclerosis. When arteries are blocked with plaque, the body releases this protein. A simple finger-prick test can inform you if you have abnormal levels of c-reactive protein in your blood.

Carotid Artery Ultrasound (Plaque) Screening

In addition to blood tests, there are various invasive and non-invasive heart disease screenings. One common screening is the Carotid Artery Ultrasound Screening that identifies black build-up in the two large blood vessels in the neck. Using ultrasound technology, this non-invasive test measures your blood flow and creates images for your physician to review. Adults over 40 years old with two or more risk factors can discuss this option with their doctor.

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Alexis Bryan

Alexis Bryan MPH, is a recent graduate of Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. She is passionate about increasing access to care to improve health outcomes. Outside of work, she loves to travel, read, and pay too much attention to her plants.

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