What is a heart screening?

doctor holding stethoscope facing viewer

A heart screening provides you and your cardiologist with an assessment of your heart. Heart screening tests can detect conditions that may not have symptoms, allowing for earlier treatment. They can include blood tests, a chest x-ray examination, a 12-lead electrocardiogram, a treadmill cardiac assessment, as well as measurements for body weight, height, and blood pressure.

When you consult a cardiologist, he or she will review the tests with you, follow up with you on the results of the screening, answer any questions you have about your health, and help manage your heart health thereafter.

Heart screening helps in the early detection and allows you to understand your risks in developing cardiovascular disease. By taking these tests, you are taking control of your health. Depending on your physical condition and appropriate treatment, you can take steps to help yourself prevent or control any heart disease progression.

When or how often should I get a heart screening?

stethoscope on a table

According to the Singapore Health Promotion Board’s “Screen for Life” Programme, you are encouraged to be screened for obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and diabetes (all risk factors for cardiovascular disease) every three years if you have not already been diagnosed for any of the conditions above1.

Enquire with our cardiologists.

Did you know?

The Cardiovascular Lifetime Risk Pooling Project at Northwestern University showed that non-smoker adults with ideal levels of cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure have substantially longer overall and CVD-free survival periods than those who have poor levels in one or more of these risk factors. For example, at age 45 years, the study found that males with optimal risk factors are likely to live 14 years free of all cardiovascular events and 12 years longer overall than people with 2 or more elevated risk factors2.

How should I prepare for my appointment and what can I expect during my heart screening?

elderly couple jogging under trees

Before your heart screening, please follow the instructions from your cardiologist and medical team, and do note the following:

● Fasting is required for the blood test. Please abstain from food and drinks for at least 10 hours before your scheduled appointment. Generally, sips of plain water are allowed.
● Sports attire comprising comfortable sports shoes and socks is required for treadmill cardiac assessment.
● For your comfort and convenience at the medical examination, it is advisable to wear a 2-piece outfit.

How do I maintain a healthy heart?

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major cause of death in Singapore. Some of the conditions within this family of diseases can be caused by the way we live.

You are at a higher risk for developing heart disease if you:
● Have high cholesterol or high blood pressure
● Smoke
● Are overweight or obese
● Do not get enough physical activity
● Do not have a healthy diet

You can take steps to reduce your risk of developing heart disease if you:
● Eat healthily
● Exercise regularly
● Maintain a healthy body mass index
● Stop smoking and stay away from second-hand smoke
● Control your cholesterol and blood pressure
● Drink alcohol in moderation
● Manage your level of stress

If we choose to live a healthier lifestyle by eating well and exercising regularly, we can reduce our risks of developing this disease.

Request an appointment with a cardiologist today.

[1] Health Promotion Board S. Screen for Life. https://www.healthhub.sg/programmes/61/Screen_for_Life. Accessed October 19, 2017.

[2] Wilkins JT, Ning H, Berry J, Zhao L, Dyer AR, Lloyd-Jones DM. Lifetime risk and years lived free of total cardiovascular disease. JAMA. 2012;308(17):1795-1801. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.14312.