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Should You Get an EKG Every Year to Check for Heart Disease?


Author:- Mr. Ritesh Sharma

Heart disease is the highest cause of death worldwide. Every other person in the world is affected by a heart problem and in a lot of cases it proves to be fatal. With such a horrifying epidemic enveloping the world, early diagnosis of heart disease becomes paramount. Moreover, in this early diagnosis, a handy tool is an electrocardiogram test. This test measures the electrical activity of the heart over a period of time. 

Through this non-invasive diagnostic test, from small heart conditions like heart palpitations or cardiac arrhythmias to major heart conditions such as a heart attack can be diagnosed within a few minutes. Hence, a question worth contemplating arises automatically: is ECG or EKG a good annual screening test for heart disease? The answer to this question is deeply intricate and rooted in the realm of cardiovascular health. 

In this blog, we will try to uncover the impact of an EKG test in detecting heart disease and providing early medical intervention. Furthermore, we will delve deep into the aspects of an electrocardiogram that make it a good screening test for heart disease annually. 

Understanding EKG

Before diving into different aspects of an electrocardiogram that make it a good annual screening test for heart disease, let’s understand the specifics of an EKG. An EKG test normally occurs to detect all kinds of heart abnormalities. To identify these abnormalities, different waveforms of an EKG are monitored. These waveforms are P-wave, QRS complex, and T-wave. 

The abnormalities in these waveforms indicate heart problems of different varieties. The P-wave ECG abnormalities, QRS complex abnormalities, and T-wave abnormalities are displayed in the recording device of an ECG machine. For this recording, various electrodes are placed on the skin of the patient which detect electrical impulses radiated by the human heart. These impulses are amplified by amplifiers which are then captured in the form of waves on a monitor or A4 sheets. 

How does an ECG detect a heart attack?

An electrocardiogram detects a heart attack through different ECG parameters in the abnormal ECG. In the case of a heart attack, an ECG is the go-to test for any healthcare professional. Since a heart attack is characterized by a complete blockage of oxygenated blood to the heart muscle through coronary arteries, an ECG easily identifies it. In an ECG test, the waves illustrate ST-segment elevation or ST-segment depression if the patient has suffered a heart attack. 

Apart from this, during a heart attack, the tissues of the patient are damaged as well. Hence this is also efficiently indicated in an EKG test. To detect a heart attack promptly, no test is as effective as an electrocardiogram. 

Detection of a Past Heart Attack by an EKG

EKG test for an annual screening for heart disease is only effective if it can detect a past heart attack. While ECG alone can give you insights into heart attacks that occur to you and lead to alteration of tissues in your heart muscles, it might not be too effective in detecting a past heart attack. However, ECG tests when coupled with some other tests, such as a CT scan, heart imaging tests, stress test, etc, might accurately give you vivid insights into a past heart attack. 

What can an EKG detect other than Heart Attacks?

Apart from heart attacks, an EKG competently detects various types of heart dysfunctions, such as structural heart diseases, Long QT syndromes, etc, and arrhythmias of different arrhythmia classifications, for example- Atrial fibrillation, monomorphic atrial tachycardia, monomorphic ventricular tachycardia, ventricular flutter, wide complex tachycardia, narrow complex tachycardia, etc. 

These heart dysfunctions and arrhythmias are detected through various ECG patterns on being tested. Hence, this makes a strong case for an EKG being an annual screening test for the detection of heart disease.

Can EKG predict a future heart attack?

People with even remote symptoms of heart attack are promptly given an EKG test to ensure that whether they have encountered the condition or not. However, whether an electrocardiogram can predict a future heart attack effectively or not is debatable. Through an ECG, you can detect symptoms that may indicate a future heart attack. However, it might not be completely accurate. This is because many times heart attacks occur without any pre-existing symptoms as well. 

Detection of Silent Heart Attack by an EKG

Silent heart attacks are those kind of heart attacks that occur to people without any physical symptoms. People with diabetes tend to experience these heart attacks. In these heart attacks, healthcare professionals cannot identify the condition until the patient develops an arrhythmia, i.e. irregular heart rhythms, another heart attack, or a heart failure. Therefore, for the detection of these heart attacks, a screening test like an electrocardiogram is mandatory. 

This test can identify abnormal ECG patterns even in the absence of prevalent symptoms of a heart attack. Therefore, this makes the annual EKG screening even more important for the identification of heart disease. 

In conclusion, annual screening of an EKG test for heart disease is a great practice for everyone. Even if you don’t have any heart disease symptoms, you must adopt it to ensure the optimal state of your cardiovascular health. Now, with the innovation of portable ECG devices, performing an ECG test has become easier than ever. Therefore, there is no reason for you to not adopt this practice in your daily life. Stay vigilant and ensure daily ECG screening for ideal heart health. 


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