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Safeguarding Your Lifeline: Annual Tests for Heart Health

Annual Tests for Lifeline Safety

In this busy day and age, it’s easy to forget about our health, especially our hearts. Prioritizing your heart health through annual assessments isn’t just a recommendation. It’s an essential commitment to your overall well-being in today’s fast-paced world. You should include these assessments in your yearly healthcare routine. They’ll help you detect potential issues, manage risk factors, and make informed decisions about your heart health.

We must be proactive and get yearly heart health assessments to keep our hearts in good shape. This article will delve into the indispensable tests that should be part of your annual health regimen. They’ll help you secure your heart’s long-term vigor and vitality. If you include these tests in your healthcare routine, you’ll make significant progress in keeping you healthy.

Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

Blood pressure measures the force of blood against artery walls as the heart pumps it through the body, with systolic (when the heart beats) and diastolic (when the heart is at rest) values. Maintaining a healthy blood pressure is essential for cardiovascular well-being, as prolonged high blood pressure can strain arteries, leading to serious issues like heart disease and stroke.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance vital for cell building and hormone production, circulating in blood as  HDL (high-density lipoprotein) and LDL (low-density lipoprotein). While cholesterol is necessary, an excess of LDL, known as “bad” cholesterol, can contribute to artery plaque formation, restricting blood flow. Conversely, HDL, or “good” cholesterol, helps remove LDL, lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Monitoring and managing blood pressure and cholesterol levels are crucial for maintaining heart health.

Monitoring blood pressure is essential. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is often called the “silent killer.” It can damage your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke and cause additional health problems. 

Regular blood pressure checks can help identify hypertension and enable timely management. This can be done through lifestyle changes or medication. These tests are vital to preventing heart disease and ensuring long-term health. 

A Holistic Cardiologist: Nurturing Heart Health Beyond Traditional Care

In cardiovascular health, a holistic approach can make a profound difference. A Holistic Cardiologist, like Dr. Cynthia Thaik, extends care beyond the conventional boundaries, considering the interconnected facets of mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Holistic Cardiologists often collaborate with practitioners from various fields, fostering an integrative approach to healthcare. This may include working alongside nutritionists, mental health professionals, and holistic practitioners to address the diverse needs of their patients.

In essence, a Holistic Cardiologist goes beyond the traditional scope of cardiovascular care, aiming to foster well-being that encompasses the body, mind, and spirit. Dr. Cynthia Thaik, as a Holistic Cardiologist, exemplifies this approach, providing compassionate and comprehensive care that transcends conventional boundaries, ultimately nurturing heart health in its entirety.

Glucose Test

Glucose is a vital energy source for your body, mainly from the carbs in your food and drinks. After consumption, your blood carries glucose to all cells, fueling their activities. Insulin, produced by the pancreas, plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. 

Suppose blood glucose is too high (hyperglycemia). In that case, it often indicates diabetes, a condition where the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or the body doesn’t respond to insulin properly, disrupting the balance of blood sugar regulation.

A blood glucose test is a fundamental heart diagnostic procedure. It’s used to screen for diabetes by measuring your bloodstream’s glucose (sugar) levels.

Capillary Blood Glucose Test

This test involves a healthcare professional collecting a tiny drop of blood, usually from a fingertip prick. They use a test strip and a glucose meter (glucometer) to show your blood sugar level within seconds.

Venous (Plasma) Blood Glucose Test

A phlebotomist takes a blood sample from a vein in a venipuncture procedure. These tests are often part of a broader blood panel, like a basic metabolic panel, and are typically sent to a lab. Medical laboratory scientists use specialized machines called analyzers to perform the test.

Venous blood glucose tests are generally more precise compared to capillary tests.

Doctors often recommend fasting blood glucose tests to screen for diabetes. These tests are done after an overnight fast because eating can influence blood sugar levels. Fasting tests offer a clearer baseline of your blood sugar.

As a fundamental diagnostic procedure, the blood glucose test screens for diabetes by measuring glucose levels. Dr. Cynthia offers insights into capillary and venous blood glucose tests, emphasizing their importance in understanding blood sugar levels.

Body Mass Index Measurement 

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a numerical tool that evaluates whether your weight is healthy by taking into account your height and age. Calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters, BMI categorizes individuals as underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese, providing a quick way to assess weight status. 

While BMI doesn’t directly measure body fat, it’s a useful indicator for potential health risks related to weight. It’s essential to consider individual health variations, and BMI is most effective when considered alongside other health indicators for a more comprehensive understanding.

The calculation divides a person’s weight by height (in kilograms and meters, respectively). This results in the BMI value for the specific person. For most adults, an optimal BMI falls within the range of 18.5 to 24.9.

Let’s look at some general BMI measurements:

  • Below 18.5- suggests you are in the underweight category
  • Between 18.5 and 24.9- healthy weight
  • Between 25 and 29.9- overweight category
  • 30 or higher- obesity

Remember, individuals with high muscle density might have an obese BMI but remain healthy. Some examples are heavyweight boxers, weight trainers, and athletes. Ethnic background also plays a role, as some groups may have differing health risks associated with specific BMIs. 

Pregnant women should refrain from using BMI as a measure. It’s better to seek guidance from their midwife or provider if weight-related concerns arise.

Electrocardiography (ECG or EKG)

For this procedure, specialists put small sticky electrodes on your chest. These electrodes connect to a machine called an ECG machine. 

The ECG machine records your heart’s electrical activity and provides essential heart rate and rhythm information. ECGs are valuable in diagnosing various heart conditions and irregularities.

Exercise Cardiac Stress Test

Small electrodes are affixed to your chest during an exercise cardiac stress test and connected to an ECG machine. Afterward, you will be told to do exercise, like walking, running on a treadmill, or pedaling a stationary bike. Throughout this exercise, a healthcare provider closely observes how your heart responds to the heightened physical exertion. 

This test helps determine how well it handles exercise and stress. It can unveil any underlying cardiac issues that might not be evident during rest periods.


Echocardiography entails using an ultrasound machine to generate images of your heart. This diagnostic test allows healthcare practitioners to assess your heart’s pumping efficiency and examine the state of its valves. 

In certain situations, echocardiography may be conducted before and after physical exercise. Moreover, it could be done after administering particular medications. This further allows observation of how you react to stressors.

Nuclear Stress Test

During a nuclear stress test of the heart, a small amount of radioactive dye is injected into your bloodstream, which travels to your heart. Imaging machines are then used to capture images of your heart both at rest and after exercise. 

This test provides valuable information about blood flow within your heart. This further helps identify blockages or abnormalities.

Cardiac CT Scan

A cardiac CT scan is when you lie under a big camera (CT scanner) with sticky patches on your chest to check your heart’s electricity. Doctors use this machine to take detailed pictures. With them, they check for calcium buildup in your arteries. 

Finding calcium can tell them if you might have heart artery problems (coronary artery disease).

Coronary CT Angiography (CTA)

Like the previous test, coronary CTA requires lying under a CT scanner with chest electrodes to record heart activity. A contrast dye is injected into your bloodstream to enhance the clarity of the images. 

This enables healthcare professionals to identify any plaque buildup within your coronary arteries, aiding in diagnosing coronary artery disease.

Coronary Catheter Angiography

A small catheter tube is put into your body during coronary catheter angiography. It’s then moved through an artery to your heart. Contrast dye is injected through the catheter while X-ray images are taken of your heart. 

This procedure provides a direct view of your coronary arteries. It allows healthcare professionals to determine their condition. They’ll be able to see if they are narrowed or blocked, often used to guide treatment decisions.


Amidst the fast-paced demands of contemporary living, our cardiovascular health often takes a back seat. Yet, experts, particularly those equipped with post-masters FNP programs online, advocate for proactive steps to safeguard our heart health. A pivotal practice among these measures is the annual undertaking of heart health assessments, vital for securing our heart’s well-being and vitality.

Regular monitoring of blood pressure is crucial for identifying hypertension, the “silent killer” that can lead to heart disease and stroke. Dr. Cynthia emphasizes timely management through lifestyle changes or medication, contributing to preventing heart disease.

Dr. Cynthia Thaik emphasizes that prioritizing heart health through annual assessments isn’t merely a recommendation; it’s an essential commitment to overall well-being. These assessments play a vital role in detecting potential issues, managing risk factors, and making informed decisions about heart health.

Take charge of your heart health with Dr. Cynthia Thaik – Schedule your annual heart health assessment today!

About the author

Dr. Cynthia Thaik, M.D., FACC is a Harvard-trained cardiologist serving the greater Los Angeles community at her holistic health center in Burbank and Valencia, CA. Dr. Thaik is the author of Your Vibrant Heart: Restoring Health, Strength, and Spirit from the Body’s Core. To learn more about Dr. Thaik or the Holistic Healing Heart Center, or to schedule an appointment, please contact info@drcynthia.com or call (818) 842-1410.

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