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Heart Health Screening

Heart health screening is available at our Cardiac Rehab facility located in the Mehl Center at 619 S Cascade St. Fergus Falls (Corner of Cascade & Vasa). You may make an appointment directly for this preventive health screening, no referral from a provider is necessary.

What is it?

A heart health screening is a comprehensive check of your heart health using various tests and checks including:

  • Health History
  • Weight/Height - Body Mass Index
  • Cholesterol
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • Blood Pressure
  • Framingham Risk Score

This screening is offered at a low flat rate of $50 which is required at the time of screening. Credit card payment preferred. If you have an HSA, you may wish to check on eligibility to determine if you can pay with your HSA card.

Who should be screened?

Anyone 18 or older who is concerned about their heart health may ask for a referral or make a direct appointment to be screened. A heart screening is recommended if you are over 40 or if you have early family history of heart disease, a history of smoking or are currently smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes or are a postmenopausal woman.

Why heart health screening is important:

Early detection of heart disease allows you and your primary care provider to make changes now that can reduce or prevent problems later. Heart health screening is an affordable and painless way to measure your risk and give yourself some peace of mind. This is an easy, affordable way to take control of your health.

What to expect at a heart health screening appointment

Appointments will take approximately 45 minutes. Wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing. Please fast for most accurate lab results, but take medications as prescribed. You will receive preliminary results and recommended next steps before you leave your appointment.

More about the components of a heart health screening

EKG: The heart is a hollow muscle that contracts and relaxes to pump blood and oxygen throughout the body. Each heartbeat has an electrical impulse. These electrical impulses create a series of peaks and valleys that represent a cardiac cycle (one heartbeat). An EKG measures these peaks and valleys to evaluate your heartbeat.

For an EKG test, the test administrator will place sensors on your skin to record the electrical activity of your heart. This brief snapshot of your heart’s electrical activity can show if it is beating normally. If your EKG shows your heart is beating irregularly, more tests may be scheduled.

BMI: Your BMI is easily determined using your height and weight.

Based on your BMI, you’ll be placed in a weight category:

  • Underweight: 18.5 or less
  • Normal weight: 18.6-24.9
  • Overweight: 25-29.9
  • Obesity: 30 or greater

Being overweight or obese could put you at risk of health conditions like heart disease. BMI is a guide to how much body fat you have, although it underestimates and overestimates body fat in certain populations. Your provider can provide a more comprehensive understanding of your weight and health risks.

Cholesterol: Cholesterol is a soft, waxy fat found in the blood and body cells. The liver makes all the cholesterol the body needs, but people also get cholesterol through their diet.

High cholesterol levels increase the chance for plaque buildup in artery walls. Your body needs cholesterol to function, but too much cholesterol can cause serious problems such as heart attacks.

A cholesterol screening is a quick finger poke. The amount of cholesterol in your blood is measured and evaluated. It measures the ratio of total cholesterol (TC) vs. high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is the good type of cholesterol that can protect against plaque buildup. Low-density lipoproteins are the bad type.

Your TC/HDL ratio predicts your risk of heart attack and stroke:

  • Recommended: 199 or less
  • Moderate risk: 200-239
  • High risk: 240 or greater

Blood pressure: Blood pressure measures the force blood puts on blood vessel walls as it travels through the body. When you get your blood pressure tested, your provider will give you two numbers such as 120/80. The systolic (top) number shows the pressure in the heart and arteries when the heart contracts. The diastolic (bottom) number shows the pressure in the heart and arteries during the resting or filling stage of the heartbeat.

A normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 but will vary with activity or stress. Elevated blood pressure can lead to heart attack and other forms of heart disease.

Because high blood pressure often has no symptoms, it is known as the silent killer. If high blood pressure is not treated, it stresses the blood vessel walls, causing them to thicken or weaken. It can cause clots to break off artery walls and plug an artery in the heart, brain or elsewhere in the body. Many people don’t know they have high blood pressure until they’ve been tested for it. A painless arm squeeze will educate you on your risk.

Framingham Risk Score: The Framingham Risk Score gives you a number that estimates your risk of having heart disease in the next 10 years. Your score will be determined by assessing your risk factors and personal health history such as:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Tobacco use

Get monthly advice about keeping your heart healthy.