While some people with heart disease experience chest pain, nausea, dizziness, heart palpitations or shortness of breath, most people don't know that they have heart disease until they have a heart attack. That's why it's very important to get regular exams at your doctor's office, including checks of your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. High readings for any of these tests indicate an increased risk of heart disease. So does a high BMI or a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
If you or your doctor is concerned that you may already have heart disease, you might need more tests. One common test is an electrocardiogram, or EKG, to record your heart's electrical activity to find out whether you have a normal heartbeat or any heart damage. You may have it lying down, or when walking or running on a treadmill (known as a stress test).