Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Should I be tested for heart disease?

3-minute read

The term heart disease refers to a group of conditions that affect the heart. These include coronary heart disease and heart failure. If you have the early stages of heart disease, you may not notice any symptoms. Understanding your risk of heart disease can help you take steps to reduce it and to protect your heart.

Am I at risk of heart disease?

You can estimate your risk of getting heart disease using the healthdirect Risk Checker.

Your risk of heart disease is increased if you:

When you find out your score, you should discuss it with your doctor and act to reduce your risk of heart disease.

ARE YOU AT RISK? — Are you at risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease? Use the Risk Checker to find out.

Who should have a heart disease test?

If you are aged 45 years or above (or 30 years or above for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples), it’s recommended that you have your risk of heart disease assessed. Speak to your doctor about getting this done.

What happens during a heart disease test?

Your doctor may do a few things to assess your heart health. These include:

  • measuring your blood pressure
  • measuring your cholesterol level
  • measuring your weight
  • recording your age — the older you are, the higher your risk of heart disease
  • finding out if you have a family member with heart disease — if you do, this increases your risk
  • asking you about your lifestyle, such as your diet and physical activity

If your doctor suspects a heart condition, they may also arrange a number of tests, including:

  • an electrocardiogram — to show how well your heart is beating
  • blood tests
  • echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) — this gives a picture of the structure of your heart, including the heart’s walls, chambers and valves.
  • stress tests — to show how hard your heart works during exercise
  • coronary angiogram or coronary computed tomography angiogram

What do heart disease tests cost?

Medicare will cover part or all of the costs of most of the above tests. Blood tests are often bulk billed, but other tests and doctor consultations may incur costs above the Medicare rebate.

What follow-up is involved?

You will usually need to see your doctor to get your test results. Ask your doctor how to reduce your risk of heart disease. You may want to use an action plan to improve your health.

Changes you might need to make include eating healthily (if you don’t already), being physically active, quitting smoking if you smoke, and reducing your alcohol intake. Your doctor can also advise you on how often you should test your blood pressure and cholesterol.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: November 2020

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

ECG test - Better Health Channel

A doctor may recommend an electrocardiogram for patients who may be at risk of heart disease because of family history, smoking, overweight, diabetes or other conditions.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Electrocardiogram - ECG -

An electrocardiogram is a medical test, commonly called an ECG or EKG, that uses a machine to measure and record the electrical activity in the heart.

Read more on myDr website

Exercise stress tests -

Exercise stress testing assesses the performance and capacity of the heart during exercise and is used to help diagnose or investigate heart disease.

Read more on myDr website

Medical tests for heart disease | Heart Foundation

Common tests your doctor may want you to have which will help understand and manage your condition

Read more on Heart Foundation website

Coronary heart disease

The underlying cause of coronary heart disease is a slow build up of fatty deposits on the inner wall of the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle with blood (the coronary arteries).

Read more on WA Health website

Rheumatic Heart disease fact sheet

Rheumatic Heart disease fact sheet

Read more on NSW Health website

Rheumatic heart disease - Better Health Channel

Stopping episodes of recurrent ARF can prevent rheumatic heart disease (RHD).

Read more on Better Health Channel website

What is heart valve disease?

Heart valve disease means that your heart valve or valves don't open or close properly.

Read more on Heart Foundation website

Congenital heart disease: 0-18 years | Raising Children Network

Children with congenital heart disease are born with heart defects. Many heart defects don’t need treatment, and most children go on to live active, healthy lives.

Read more on website

Nuclear Medicine Cardiac Stress Test - InsideRadiology

InsideRadiology provides free and easily accessible, accurate, up to date and credible information about medical imaging tests and procedures.

Read more on InsideRadiology website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.