When you visit your doctor, ask him or her to check your blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate, blood sugar, and weight. These standard and simple exams provide your doctor with the first clues to how well your heart functions and whether you have heart disease. There are also basic tests that can measure the strength of your lungs. In healthy adults, a lower heart rate at rest generally implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness. The breathing heard through a doctor’s stethoscope can usually give clues about the health of your lungs.
Have an honest conversation with your doctor about your risk for developing heart disease, lung disease, or other conditions. If you are at risk, educate yourself, and work with them to develop a plan to reduce your risk. Remember that conditions that seem common, like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or shortness of breath, can lead to more serious health problems later if they go unmanaged. Many diseases related to heart and lung health are preventable. So take the time to play an active role in your health care, and work with your doctor to invest in your health today.