In addition to performing a physical examination, your doctor will inquire about your personal and family medical history. Heart disease is diagnosed using a variety of investigations such as the following:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): captures the electrical signals in the heart and helps to detect if the heart is beating too quickly or too slowly.
- Holter monitoring: A portable ECG device called a Holter monitor is worn for a day or longer to record the heart’s activity during normal activities to determine abnormal heartbeats that are missed by a standard ECG.
- Echocardiogram: non-invasive examination, sound waves are used to provide precise images of the beating heart. It demonstrates how the heart’s valves and blood flow through the heart. If a valve is constricted or leaking, an echocardiogram may assist to identify it.
- Exercise tests or stress tests: using a treadmill or a stationary cycle while the heart rate is being tracked to determine how the heart responds to exercise and whether exercising causes any symptoms. You can be prescribed drugs if you are unable to exercise.
- Cardiac catheterization: reveals cardiac artery obstructions. The heart is reached by inserting a long, thin, flexible tube (catheter) into a blood artery, typically in the groin or wrist. To reach the heart’s arteries, dye passes through the catheter. During the exam, the dye makes the arteries more visible on X-ray images.
- Heart (cardiac) Computed Tomography (CT) scan: you recline on a table within a doughnut-shaped machine for a heart CT scan. The machine’s internal X-ray tube spins around your body while taking pictures of your chest and heart.
- Heart (cardiac) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan: a magnetic field and radio waves produced by a computer are used in a cardiac MRI to produce precise images of the heart.
Treatment for heart disease is based on the type and cause of heart damage. Healthy lifestyle practices, including quitting smoking, exercising frequently, getting enough sleep, and eating a low-fat, low-sodium diet, are crucial components of treatment.
Medication may be required to control heart disease symptoms and to avoid complications if lifestyle modifications alone are ineffective. The kind of cardiac condition is what determines the medicine required.
Surgery or other procedures
Some heart disease sufferers might require a procedure or surgery. The type of heart illness and the degree of cardiac damage will determine the type of surgery required.