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A Test That Could Save Your Life

The American Heart Association estimates that more than 80 million people in the United States have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease. Could you be one of them?

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is an abnormal function of the heart or blood vessels that can lead to an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, heart failure and, ultimately, death. According to the American Heart Association, you may be at risk for CVD if you have a family history of heart disease, stroke or diabetes. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, tobacco use, high cholesterol, excess weight and lack of physical activity.

“CVD is the number one cause of death nationwide,” says Debbie Bricker, director of Cardiovascular Services at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth. “Many of the risk factors are lifestyle choices you can control, such as smoking and physical activity. You owe it to yourself to find out your risk and do something about it.”

Know Your Risk

The danger of developing a form of CVD increases with age. Early detection is the best defense, allowing you to make immediate lifestyle changes. A vascular or cardiovascular screening available at several Texas Health hospitals can determine your risks and set you on the path to prevention.

“A vascular screening is a painless procedure that consists of an ultrasound of neck and abdominal arteries in addition to a Doppler measurement of the ankle arteries,” explains Brenda McFadden, director of Radiology at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital. “The screening only takes 15 minutes of your time, but it could add years to your life.”

A cardiovascular screening goes a little deeper into assessing your personal risk for heart disease. It takes roughly 20 minutes and includes a cardiac health history, electrocardiogram, physical examination, blood pressure check, glucose and cholesterol blood tests, and a personal Framingham Risk Assessment estimating your risk for developing coronary heart disease within the next 10 years.

Speak to your physician regarding which screenings are appropriate for you.

For more information or to schedule a vascular or cardiovascular screening at a Texas Health hospital, please visit TexasHealth.org/vascularcardioscreenings
or call 1-877-THR-WELL (1-877-847-9355).

(Fall/Winter 2009)

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