Am I at Risk

Are you at risk?Your Cardiac Future

I'm sure that many readers can relate to a story where a friend or relative had a checkup with his or her doctor and told that everything was fine only to learn sometime later that he or she had suffered a heart attack. Unfortunately, stories like this are not uncommon, and the reason is that while standard screenings such as cholesterol tests and stress tests are important and necessary in detecting heart disease, they are really just the first step in determining your risk.

We are now able to screen for a host of newer and more advanced risk factors, and it is from this more complete picture that we can predict with far greater accuracy true cardiac risk. In fact, if you happen to have one of the many newer risk contributing to heart disease that don't get detected by the standard tests, then getting a normal cholesterol result may actually lull you into a false sense of complacency.

The Power of Research

At Saint Joseph's Preventive Cardiology Center we have the research and technological capabilities to screen for a far broader and advanced spectrum of cardiac risk factors. For example, we now know that getting a lipid profile that breaks down your cholesterol number into "good" (HDL) and "bad" (LDL) cholesterol is simply not enough. There are several sub-fractions of cholesterol that we now measure in our advanced lipid profile, which are much more accurate and give a much better indication of your true cardiac risk. We also include blood tests that measure inflammation in the coronary arteries and factors that adversely affect the clotting capability of your blood, all of which can also contribute to a possible heart attack.

Even more exciting, we now have access to several genetic screening tests that can tell us if you are genetically predisposed to suffering an early heart attack and, if so, what particular cardiac medications will work best for you in preventing this from happening. We can truly personalize your treatment program rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach.

Beyond Blood Tests

Imaging testBesides blood tests, we also offer advanced CAT scans of the heart and ultrasound measurements of the carotid arteries, which can accurately predict your risk for a future heart attack. The Cardiac Calcium Scan is a 10-minute procedure that detects early plaque buildup in your coronary arteries way before this shows up on a stress test and way before you even develop symptoms of heart disease. Likewise a CIMT ultrasound scan shows early cholesterol deposits in the carotid arteries, which correlate with your risk for a possible future heart attack or stroke.

These, and other tests that we have at our disposal, enable us to detect many cases of coronary heart disease that would otherwise fall through the cracks, causing sudden heart attacks to occur in people who thought they were at low risk. Our highly personalized program now makes it possible for you to be screened and treated well in advance.

For further information on our advanced screening program, call (678) 843-7633.