According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., affecting people of all ages and backgrounds.
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Cardiovascular Disease: Are you at Risk?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and millions of Americans are at risk. Fortunately, there are ways to assess your risk and protect yourself from many heart and vascular diseases.
Q: What is cardiovascular disease?
A: Cardiovascular disease is a class of diseases affecting the heart and blood vessel system. Most of these diseases are related to a process called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition that develops when plaque builds up on the walls of the arteries. The plaque buildup narrows the arteries, making it more difficult for blood to flow normally. This can cause blood clots to form, which, in turn, can block the flow of blood. Heart attacks or strokes can occur when plaque or clots restrict the blood supply.
Q: Who is at risk for developing cardiovascular disease?
A: Truly everyone is at risk for developing heart disease, but several factors can increase your risks. Risk factors include:
- Alcohol consumption
- Age, 50 years and older
- Family history of cardiovascular disease
- High cholesterol
- Physical inactivity
- Tobacco use
- Unhealthy diet
Q: What can you do to lower your risk?
A: Simple lifestyle modifications, like exercising regularly or eating a healthier diet, can reduce most risk factors of heart disease. If you smoke, it’s important to quit. Also, speak with a physician if you suffer from hypertension or high cholesterol to determine how to best control those conditions. Simple diet changes, like reducing saturated and trans fats, can significantly reduce dangerous plaque buildup in your arteries. Also, know your numbers. Get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly to prevent situations before they occur.
Q: What screenings are available?
A: In addition to regular checkups with a physician, a TripleView screening package can assess your risk for several heart and vascular diseases. With TripleView, you receive three screenings in one package:
- Ankle brachial index to detect peripheral artery disease (PAD)
- Carotid ultrasound to find carotid artery disease
- Abdominal ultrasound to detect abdominal aortic aneurysms
These highly accurate tests are painless, noninvasive and take less then one hour to perform
Smokers and individuals who have personal or family history of heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol or hypertension are encourage to get screened. However, TripleView screenings are available to everyone interested in determining their risks for heart disease. The TripleView screening package is specially priced at $99 and does not require a doctor’s order. To learn more or to schedule a TripleView screening, call 1-877-351-WELL (9355)
This information is provided by St. Luke’s Medical Center as general information only and is not intended to replace the advice of a physician.