A word about 'cardiac health check-ups'.
Q. Nowadays many hospitals, clinics and path labs have come up with a variety of health check-ups especially cardiac health check-ups. Many corporates doing annual check-ups. So how useful are they, who should get it done and when?
Ans. Doing a variety of unnecessary investigations in healthy individuals without any symptoms is a big no. It should not be done and are totally useless.
Q. 2. What tests do you say are useless as part of cardiac health checkup in apparently healthy individuals.
Ans. Ecg, echo, TMT, stress test, ct angio should not be done at all, do not add any value to your overall health status.
Q3. Why do you say these tests are useless.
Ans. They are useless because many trials around the world over last 20 years have proven beyond doubt, that even if you have underlying blockages in heart, which does not cause any symptoms, then treating them will neither prevent you from a future heart attack nor prolong your life.
It is also possible that today you have ECG, echo normal and still, you develop a heart attack tomorrow. So these tests give a false sense of security which has no value actually.
Also due to this false security, such people with normal reports have a tendency to continue their unhealthy lifestyle
Q4. What are the tests you say are useful?
Ans. Know your blood pressure, blood sugar, lipid profile (cholesterol, LDL, triglyceride and HDL) and body mass index (BMI) as part of your routine health check-up. That's it.
In lipid profile, there is no use of getting unnecessary tests like lp (a), homocysteine, apo (b) and a variety of other scary variables that you commonly see in the report.
Note - in a specific subset of people who have a strong family history of cardiac disease or sudden cardiac death may undergo ECG, echo, TMT as part of routine evaluation
Lastly and most importantly no health check-up can replace a healthy lifestyle and exercise. It is the surest way of avoiding heart ailments.