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I'm a 62-year-old executive with a family history of heart disease.What can I do to better understand and reduce my risk of heart disease?

"It is also important to choose the most appropriate screening tool to help understand individual disease risk early enough to correct and prevent heart disease."

Exercise stress testing is an important assessment tool, but has limitations as a screening tool. "Stress tests results must be carefully reviewed, as there may be false positive, as well as false negative findings," adds Dr. Dickinson.

The Executive Health program at Kelsey-Seybold focuses on providing a personalized risk assessment and helping patients to modify those factors that can help improve health.

"We use a directed and individual approach to cardiac screening tests, based on a given patient's risk factors, including family history, diet, stress and physical activity levels, lifestyle factors, lipid profiles, and other lab tests," notes Dr. Dickinson. "For many of our executive patients, a careful medical history and physical exam, supplemented by ECG, is most appropriate. For others, one or more additional tests may be needed."

Dr. Dickinson says there should be a careful balance between using the right test at the right time to benefit patients. "It's a high-tech, high-touch approach that is clinically the smartest," he adds.