As you age, you tend to have more bad cholesterol in your blood, which clogs arteries and raises your risk of stroke. Possible culprits include diet, lack of exercise and genetics.
The tests to get:
You should have your cholesterol tested starting at age 35 for men and 45 for women. Check at least every five years. Are you overweight? Do you smoke? Do you have a family history of heart disease? Begin testing as early as age 20. The cost: $35.
Have your blood pressure checked at least every two years. Anything over 140/90 is considered high.
What you can skip:
Unless you're at high risk for heart disease, you can do without an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), a stress test and blood tests for C-reactive protein and homocysteine.