Vascular Disease Screening

Heart/Cardiac Tests

Vascular disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, is a broad “umbrella” term used to encompass many heart conditions and vascular diseases affecting the entire circulatory system. Vascular disease can affect the brain, vital organs and tissue, also. Heart attack, heart failure, stroke, brain aneurysm, carotid artery disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, atherosclerosis, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, critical limb ischemia, peripheral arterial disease, kidney failure and numerous other medical conditions can develop from cardiovascular disease. Millions of people suffer devastating consequences, including death or severe disability, due to undiagnosed and untreated conditions every year. Unfortunately, many vascular related diseases display no recognizable symptoms until they reach a critical stage.

Vascular screening may detect the presence of these silent, but sometimes deadly diseases. Patients that are concerned with the possibility of developing cardiovascular disease should discuss existing personal risk factors and any signs or symptoms they have experienced with their physician. Early detection can play a significant role in the effects of many heart problems and vascular conditions.

Certain risk factors contribute to the development of many cardiac and vascular diseases. Increasing age, ethnicity, gender, family medical history, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, high blood glucose levels, obesity and unhealthy lifestyle are some primary risk factors for cardiovascular disease. There are some risk factors that cannot not be eliminated or controlled. Risks associated with age, ethnicity, gender, and personal and familial medical history cannot be changed. However, other important risk factors can be controlled, reduced or eliminated.

High blood pressure, high cholesterol and high glucose levels can usually be controlled or reduced with medication or lifestyle changes, or both. Usually, increasing physical activity, developing healthy sleep habits, eliminating tobacco use, limiting alcohol consumption, implementing effective stress management techniques and improving dietary choices will have a positive effect on blood pressure, cholesterol levels and glucose levels. Reducing your sodium, saturated fat, carbohydrate and sugar intake should prove beneficial. Also, illicit drug (cocaine, crack, and methamphetamine) use can greatly increase your risk of hypertension.

Increased physical activity and improved dietary choices will help obesity. Walking and low-impact aerobics are excellent fitness choices for beginners. At least four 30 minute fitness sessions per week should provide healthy benefits. Talk with the doctor before beginning a new exercise program. Eating more nutritious, low-fat, low calorie foods, and limiting carbohydrates will aid weight loss and provide health benefits.

After performing a physical examination, evaluating your risk factors and considering any symptoms you may have indicated, Dr. Alonso will assess your candidacy for vascular screening. An initial vascular screening typically includes a carotid artery test (stroke screening) using duplex ultrasound, an abdominal aortic aneurysm screening with an aortic ultrasound scan and a peripheral arterial disease (PAD) test using an ankle-brachial index (ABI) test. Other screenings that may be recommended include an endo-PAT test, an electrocardiogram or exercise treadmill testing.