Page 23

Leading Medicine Magazine, Vol 7, No 1 - 2013

HOW CAN YOU PREPARE? Active, healthy people are not immune to heart disease. Even in the midst of great technological strides in medicine, knowing your family history may be the most important diagnostic tool available. And knowing when to push yourself and when to see the doctor is as important as improving your best times or putting on your best game. Heart and Vascular Screenings The Methodist Hospital System offers heart and vascular screening packages that can help you better understand your risk factors for heart disease. These scans are quick, noninvasive and could save your life. The screenings are conveniently offered at Methodist locations throughout Houston. n To learn more or to schedule a screening, visit methodisthealth.com/heartscans or call 713-790-3333. Leading Medicine • Volume 7, Number 1 ASSESSING YOUR RISK WITH CAROTID ULTRASOUND “We take an oath in medicine, primum non nocere,” says Dr. Christie Ballantyne, a cardiologist at The Methodist Hospital and an authority on heart screening. “It means ‘first do no harm.’ There is no harm in this test.” The test he’s referring to is the carotid IMT, a new, noninvasive screening that uses ultrasound to help determine risk of heart disease or stroke. “The question isn’t the presence of disease, but of blockages limiting blood flow to the heart muscle,” says Ballantyne, “and ultrasound is just sound waves — there’s no radiation, and we can measure the carotid artery and scan for plaque.” The carotid arteries carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the head, and being able to see and measure them can give doctors clearer insight into a patient’s risk for a cardiac event. It also determines vascular age, similar to a “real age” test that helps determine an individual’s risk level. It’s painless, easy, radiation-free and has no side effects. It does carry a cost of around $200, but some insurance plans will cover it. It’s still vital to know your family history and stay attuned to potential symptoms, like pronounced fatigue during activity, severe lightheadedness while exercising, or a racing or erratic heart rhythm. “If something has markedly changed during exercise, you should go to your doctor to investigate potential heart problems,” says Ballantyne. “You could be running marathons or triathlons and doing vigorous activity and can still have significant coronary disease.” For active men over 40 or women over 50, Ballantyne recommends the carotid IMT for its convenience and accuracy — it’s not only a preventive measure against heart attack or stroke for those predisposed to cardiovascular disease, but also a boon for early detection in otherwise healthy individuals. n Dr. Miguel Quiñones i n a d d i t i o n 17 “There are three ways to tell if further testing is needed: symptoms, family history or an abnormality.”


Leading Medicine Magazine, Vol 7, No 1 - 2013
To see the actual publication please follow the link above