Heart Disease

Heart disease prevention and heart disease screening has become an increasing prevalent topic as a variety of respected faces have fallen victim to its ramifications.

One instance that is particularly familiar is President Bush’s surgery that took place after thorough heart screening focused on preventing heart disease. If you would like to read more about this instance please read the article we have hosted by SHAPE on our site:

SHAPE Task Force Applauds President Bush’s Medical Team for Recognizing Value of Screening to Prevent Heart Attacks

For the majority of individuals, the first symptoms of heart disease is an actual heart attack or sudden cardiac death.  Heart disease is responsible for more than a 1. 4 million heart attacks and 500,000 deaths annually in the United States, which is more than all cancers combined.

Heart disease does not discriminate between race, gender, or nationality.  Almost 80% of those who die of heart attacks are younger than 65.

Heart Screening /  Heart Attack Prevention

Nearly half of people will die from their initial heart attack.  These individuals, using traditional models would have been classified as low or intermediate risk for heart disease.  Therefore, these methods of measuring the risk for heart disease are sometimes not enough. This leaves many people asking the question “How can I prevent heart disease?”. There have been significant advances in cardiac and vascular imaging that has allowed for early detection and screening for heart disease.  If appropriately detected, early treatment with current advance therapies can lead to prevention of heart disease or halt the progression of existing coronary artery disease.  In fact, the majority of heart attacks are caused by modifiable heart disease risk factors.

Atherosclerosis is the major cause of heart attack and strokes.  Our arteries are much more than simple tubes; they are well organized systems that supply organs of the body with blood which delivers vital nutrients and oxygen.  With the constant stress of high cholesterol and blood pressure and other mentioned risk factors, plaque begins to build up in these critical arteries which prevented adequate blood flow and can lead to future heart attacks and stroke.

Because heart attacks do not always worn and strike fast, early screening and detection can lead to prevention of such devastating events.  Each ear over 500,000 people die of heart disease, usually within minutes from onset of heart disease symptoms.

Risk Factors For Heart Disease

Men over the age of 45 and woman over the age of 55 with one additional heart disease risk factor are at increased threat.  The risk factors include high blood pressure, high total cholesterol, high LDL (“Bad”) cholesterol, low HDL (“Good”) cholesterol, Diabetes, overweight or obesity, family history of heart disease, sleep apnea, current or former use of tobacco, and lack of regular exercise, all increased the risk of future heart attack and stroke.  Patients with these risk factors should consider evaluation for early detection of atherosclerotic heart disease.

Testing For Heart Disease

The use of non-invasive atherosclerosis imaging test for at risk patient population using a variety of modalities has allowed detection and early treatment of heart disease.  While chest pain or shortness of breath can be signs of heart disease, many individuals with disease having no symptoms.  Depending on an individual’s symptoms and risk factors a variety of detection options are available.

Noninvasive screening test allow cardiologist to look inside her arteries for blockages that cause heart attack or stroke.  These images are acquired from outside the body in a short period of time and can potentially be lifesaving.

If test identified and heart disease risk factors exist, preventative measures can be taken to prevent future buildup of plaque in the arteries supplying the heart and brain.  Dietary changes, increased physical activity and fitness, and if necessary, medications may significantly reduce your heart disease risk of future heart attack or stroke.  The earlier such plaques are detected, the more benefit one will drive from preventative measures.  Our focus and goal is to shift from treatment of disease that has already occurred to prevention of the first event.

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