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Coronary Artery Disease Risk Screening


Topic Overview

The tests you might have to check your risk for coronary artery disease depend on your age, health, gender, and your risk factors. Different groups of experts write guidelines for different types of tests. Talk to your doctor to find out which tests are right for you.

Beginning at age 18

At least every 5 years, your doctor will talk with you about your risk factors for heart disease during every routine exam. Your doctor will probably ask if you:

Your doctor will measure your:

Based on your risk of high cholesterol and diabetes, your doctor may recommend that you have a cholesterol test and a fasting blood glucose test.

Beginning at age 35 for men and age 45 for women

At least every 5 years, your doctor will check your risk of heart disease and heart attack. If you have a higher risk, your doctor will want to check your risk more often.

Your doctor will calculate your risk of getting heart disease or having a heart attack in the next 10 years. This risk is based on your age, gender, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and whether you smoke or have diabetes. If you know your numbers, you can check your risk using the Interactive Tool: Are You at Risk for a Heart Attack?Click here to see an interactive tool.

Other tests for your heart

Heart tests, such as electrocardiograms and stress tests, are not typically used to screen for heart disease. But they are used if your doctor thinks you might have heart disease. For more information, see the topic Heart Tests: When Do You Need Them?

Other times your doctor may check your risk

Many doctors recommend checking your risk for heart disease if you are:

  • Over age 39, have diabetes or more than one risk factor for CAD, and want to start a vigorous exercise program or are going to have major surgery.
  • Responsible for the lives of other people as part of your daily life (such as a pilot, bus driver, or sole caregiver for small children).
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