Identifying Arterial Plaque
At Revolutionary Health Services, part of helping you to live well is to prevent disease before it becomes untreatable. Heart attack and stroke are the leading causes of death in the U.S. and most countries worldwide. Because we know that the events leading up to heart attack and stroke occur over decades, there is much opportunity for early detection of disease before it manifests itself.
When it comes to heart attack and stroke prevention, ultrasound evaluation of the carotid artery is an excellent method to detect early disease. This test identifies inflammation of the arterial wall, the earliest sign of atherosclerosis. It can also evaluate for the presence of plaque which if vulnerable can rupture to cause heart attack and stroke.
A 2009 study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, confirmed by a 2016 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that ultrasound identified plaque in 34% of individuals with no known cardiovascular risk factors!
The good news is that if identified, inflammation can be reduced and plaque can be stabilized with good medical therapy and addressing root causes such as pre-diabetes, sleep apnea, and periodontal disease. In an editorial published in 2016, the authors note the “ultrasound could prove to be a potent tool in life-style medication, as there is nothing more powerful than asymptomatic individuals experiencing a real-time image of their arteries showing atherosclerotic deposits.
We believe that this screening is appropriate for everyone over the age of 40. We strongly recommend it for anyone with a family history of heart attack, stroke, or dementia. You should be tested if you have a traditional risk factor like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, or smoking. We also strongly recommend it for anyone who has one of the root causes of vascular disease like pre-diabetes, sleep apnea periodontal disease, and any of the inflammatory diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel, others).
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