January 19, 2015
If you hadn’t noticed, this month I have chosen to concentrate on preventative medicine. Unfortunately, being proactive about your healthcare is not the norm! The majority of my patients are in the reactive mode. They come in only after their health has failed.
There are many factors that can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. While you can’t control your genetic heritage’s role in causing cardiovascular illness, you can positively reduce the other risk factors. Among those risk factors that can be proactively addressed are: smoking, obesity, diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol).
Certainly, early diagnosis of cardiovascular disease allows for prompt, proactive interactions to limit or reverse damage. Regular, proactive healthcare screenings become the mainstay of preventative care.
One of the modalities that is particularly effective in uncovering underlying cardiovascular disease in ultrasound. Ultrasounds are relatively cheap, painless and essentially harmless. Ultrasound exams that can be done in the comfort of my office are:
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Ultrasound checks for widening of the aorta, the major blood vessel carrying blood to the lower half of your body. Widening of the aorta can lead to rupture, a life threatening event.
- Echocardiograms image the heart and its internal structures allowing for early diagnosis of valvular and structural problems of the heart allowing, in many cases, for early intervention.
- Carotid Ultrasound is used to uncover plaque in the major arteries going to the brain. Plaque in the carotids is one of the major causes of stroke. This is my favorite way to investigate the health of your arteries.
- Renal Artery Ultrasound is used to search for renal artery Stenosis, one of the most treatable causes of hypertension.