How do I know if my heart is at risk?
“About 28 million Americans are considered to have an intermediate risk for having a heart attack or stroke”, says researcher Joseph Yeboah, MD, of Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.
By having a “heart to heart” talk with your Doctor your cardiovascular risk can be screened as a part of a health risk assessment. For example an ECG, which stands for electrocardiogram, can be ordered which can reveal an underlying heart rate or rhythm dysfunction. With a strong family history for cardiovascular disease, you should be having an annual ECG screening. As a part of a cardiovascular screening, your Doctor may order an echocardiogram, ABPI, and a CIMT.
There Are Many Effective Tests Available
An echocardiogram shows the size, structure and movement of the different parts of your heart, including the valves, the septum (the wall separating the chambers on the right and left sides of the heart), and the walls of the heart chambers. The Doppler ultrasound technique shows the movement of blood through the heart.
The Ankle Brachial pressure Index (ABPI), also known as ABI, is the blood pressure in the lower legs divided by the blood pressure in the arms. With this test, our doctors can identify the potential for blocked arteries (peripheral vascular disease) or PAD. Atherosclerosis is a condition in which fatty material collects along the walls of arteries. This fatty material thickens, hardens (forms calcium deposits), and may eventually block the arteries.
The carotid intima-medial thickness CIMT test gives us a “window” to the coronary arteries and CIMT is an independent predictor of future cardiovascular events, including heart attacks, cardiac death and stroke. CIMT is a noninvasive test which is performed with a high-resolution B-mode ultrasound transducer. The CIMT is being recommended by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology to screen for heart disease in apparently healthy individuals age 45 or greater. We can refer you to a lab or physician that does this testing.