Cardiovascular health: What controls are necessary and how often, according to age

Cardiovascular health: What controls are necessary and how often, according to age
Cardiovascular health: What controls are necessary and how often, according to age

How often is it wise to have a blood test, EKG, or blood pressure measurement (Getty Images)

Maintaining heart health requires a series of care that doctors regularly recommend: maintain an adequate weight, eat healthy, get enough rest, perform regular physical activity, reduce stress and also control pressure and other parameters through clinical analysis.

But how often is it wise to do a blood test, an EKG, or measure your blood pressure. Specialists warn that The answers to these questions may vary depending on a variety of factors such as age, gender, health conditions, and a person’s medical history.

Taking into account that there are not many specific recommendations on the periodicity in the consultations and the type of routine studies required in each population group, and in the framework of the commemoration of the World Heart Day, next Wednesday, a group of specialists from the Argentine College of Interventional Cardioangiologists (CACI) drew up a list of general guideline recommendations on cardiovascular controls, always subject to agreement with each person’s general practitioner or general practitioner.

“These guiding parameters referred to the sphere of cardiovascular control are intended to bring information to the general population about the main routine controls agreed by the medical community, that help to prevent or detect early possible diseases or imbalances that undoubtedly are not giving a specific symptomatology and that, diagnosed and treated in time, offer the possibility of cure or improve the prognosis of the condition “, the cardiologist doctor held Diego Grinfeld, president of the CACI.

Measuring blood pressure is a practice that should be done with different periodicity according to age and cardiovascular risk (Getty Images)

In addition to the background of familial cardiovascular disease, It is important to contemplate the generality of the individual, among which it stands out if it presents risk factor’s What high blood pressure, diabetes, being overweight or obese, sedentary lifestyle, high cholesterol or triglycerides, your stress level, if you smoke and / or if you drink alcohol excessively, or if you present any type of symptoms; In these cases, the general recommendations lose validity and will be spring of each doctor to suggest the realization of the studies that you consider appropriate.

“Also exist some non-modifiable risk factors, such as age (the older the risk increases) and also be male, since men present a higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease than women, especially among those under 60 years of age. However, we prefer not to distinguish between sex in our recommendations, since, for having made differences for many years, we are seeing more and more women with cardiovascular disease, many times because they themselves or the doctors themselves underestimate the symptoms or the rigorous controls ”, completed the doctor Martin Cisneros, vice president of CACI.

Specialists recommend in childhood and adolescence to follow the pediatrician’s recommendations to the letter, but remember that to do physical activity and sports, both in childhood and at any age, it is necessary to undergo a prior examination and present a certificate signed by the treating physician.

In any case, they emphasize that beyond the medical fit, it is always recommended at least once in their life before the age of 16 a blood test and an electrocardiogram, especially in children with a family history of cardiovascular disease. Without forgetting the control of blood pressure, which is an indicator that the pediatrician usually measures in the consultation when he considers it appropriate.

Between 40 and 50 years, a laboratory analysis should be done every 2 years, an annual electrocardiogram and blood pressure measurement ideally on a quarterly basis (GETTY)

Between 20 and 30 years of age, always in individuals without a family history of coronary disease and without symptoms, the general recommendations of the CACI are to carry out a laboratory analysis every 3 years, a EKG every 5 and the measurement of blood pressure at least every 2 years. The frequency increases slightly for those between the 40s and 50s: lab tests every 2 years, an annual EKG, and blood pressure measurement ideally every four months.

“Is this age group recommended before turning 50 have also performed a stress test at least once or ergometry, which is a study where the response of the heart to physical effort measured through an electrocardiogram and other parameters is seen. Generally, it is a test that aims to detect a coronary disease and is requested when the patient reported any symptoms, but even without symptoms in this age group we recommend its performance ”, for his part, the doctor Daniel berrocal, former president of the Argentine Society of Cardiology (SAC).

From the age of 50, the controls seem to start an upward curve that makes them gain in periodicity and incorporate new studies: annual laboratory tests expanding the parameters requested according to medical criteria, an electrocardiogram every 6 months, the measurement of blood pressure regularly (without obsessing over it) and a stress test every 2 years or annually, as deemed by the healthcare professional.

“All these control schemes lose validity and become much more exhaustive if in any of the check-ups the presence of a risk factor is detected, such as arterial hypertension; in this case, the doctor will surely evaluate the performance of new studies and more periodic check-ups on this factor and on the general state of health of the individual ”, he clarified Grinfeld.

After the age of 50, annual laboratory tests should be done, an electrocardiogram every 6 months, blood pressure measurement regularly (Oliver Krato / dpa)

“An important consideration is that the periodic scheduling of certain types of studies is entirely related to the visit to the doctor. If the person knows that they have to have, for example, an annual blood test, that will prompt them to remember that they have to come to the consultation. AND The consultation is the opportunity – much more than the result of a routine clinical analysis – that the doctor will have to investigate the patient’s conditions, evaluate their overall health status and recommend the studies that it deems appropriate based on the conclusions drawn from said meeting ”, said the cardiologist Alejandro Cherro, former president of CACI.

Regarding the parameters that can be detected in the recommended analyzes, in general terms risk factors are considered high when their values ​​are equal to or greater than the following:

Blood pressure: 140/90 mmHg –the ideal is 120/80 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) or less

Total cholesterol: Do not exceed 200 ml (milligrams per deciliter)

Body Mass Index: Do not exceed 27 kg / m -coefficient that arises from dividing the weight in kilograms 2 times by the height in meters- the ideal is between 25 and 27 Kg / m

Waist circumference: In men it must be less than 102 cm and in women, less than 88 cm

Blood glucose: It should not exceed 100 mg / dl (milligrams per deciliter)

“Another element that works against is the sum of risk factors, having 2 or more factors high or present multiplies the risk of presenting a cardiovascular event or coronary disease or heart failure in the future, and forces the doctor and patient to take extreme control strategies “, he completed Cisneros.

“Our patients are mostly those who arrive at the hemodynamic room with an indication for angioplasty. They unwittingly express the failure “of the care recommendations (Gettyimages)

As a general recommendation, in addition to complying with medical consultations and conducting studies, CACI professionals place emphasis on work on modifying unhealthy behaviors; this includes the weight control, changes in diet by reducing portion sizes and avoiding fat consumption and trans fats and increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables, carrying out regular physical activity, if you smoke quit smoking, the same as regulate alcohol consumption, monitor blood pressure values ​​and parameters that arise from a routine test, such as blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides, and for those who take certain medications prescribed by their doctor, maintain adherence and do not discontinue them without prior consultation with the professional.

“Our patients are mostly those who arrive at the hemodynamic room with angioplasty indication to unclog a clogged artery or to replace a damaged heart valve. Generally, they unwittingly express the failure of all the above. Our goal, as interventional cardioangiologists, is to provide prevention advice to avoid or delay the appearance of these conditions as much as possible, on which fortunately we can do a lot, but in which the disease is unfortunately already installed ”, he concluded Berrocal.

The Argentine College of Interventional Cardioangiologists (CACI) It is the only Argentine company in this specialty. It was created in 1985 in order to inform all specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases by catheterization. Today it has more than 600 associate members. Among many other activities, CACI has the first and oldest career as a Specialist in Interventional Cardioangiology in the world, lasting three years, carried out jointly with the University of Buenos Aires.


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