Evaluation & Recommendations for Heart Disease Prevention

Most patients participate in our heart disease prevention program because their primary care physician or cardiologist found problems that--if left untreated--could lead to heart disease or a recurrence of heart disease. These problems or risk factors may include:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Obesity or being overweight
  • A family history of heart disease
  • A previous personal history of heart or vascular disease

Evaluation

Patient taking EKG stress test

Our physicians will review your medical history with you, perform an examination, and order any needed tests. Many of the tests can be conveniently performed the same day in the Center for Advanced Medicine. These tests may include one or more of the following:

  • Cholesterol test
  • Blood pressure reading
  • Homocysteine test. This test measures the level of a particular type of amino acid in the blood. Homocysteine is related to a higher risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG). This painless test measures the electrical activity of the heart. An exercise stress test is a type of EKG that is performed while you run on a treadmill or ride a bike.
  • Echocardiogram. An echocardiogram is a painless test that uses sound waves to study the anatomy and function of the heart.

Recommendations

After the examination, our heart specialists recommend individually tailored heart disease prevention plans. These plans usually include one or more of the following strategies to lower risk for heart disease:

  • Medications to control high blood pressure, lower cholesterol, or improve the pumping ability of the heart
  • Smoking cessation.
  • A weight control program. Nutritionists are available to create healthy eating plans with you.
  • An exercise program. Our exercise physiologists have years of experience working with patients at risk for heart disease or those who are recovering from heart procedures or surgeries.
  • A stress management program. University of Chicago psychiatrists and psychologists regularly help patients identify and manage stress, which may aggravate heart problems.