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:
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?
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
Greenland P, et al. (2010). 2010 ACCF/AHA guideline for assessment of cardiovascular risk in asymptomatic adults: A report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 56(25): e50–e103.
Redberg RF, et al. (2009). ACCF/AHA 2009 Performance measures for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in adults: A report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Performance Measures. Circulation, 120(13): 1296–1336.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2004). Screening for coronary heart disease: Recommendation statement. Annals of Internal Medicine, 140(7): 569–572. Also available online: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspsacad.htm.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2009). Using nontraditional risk factors in coronary heart disease risk assessment. Available online: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspscoronaryhd.htm.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.