The Power of Prevention
Screenings help identify risk of stroke, heart disease
Family Features | 5/20/2015, 8:19 p.m. | Updated on 5/20/2015, 8:19 p.m.
You’ve likely heard the adage an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Patients looking to live a long and healthy life know taking preventive steps now is necessary to ward off many diseases in the future. This is especially true with cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death among adults.
Understanding cardiovascular disease
For middle-age and mature adults, pro-active steps toward prevention should be done to fight against atherosclerosis, or plaque build-up in the arteries, the main cause of cardiovascular disease. Early detection, improved health behavior and diet changes now can increase wellness benefits later. When not detected, more advanced stages of the disease can lead to more serious problems, such as stroke or heart attack.
One affordable, easy and non-invasive option for patients looking to stay on the road to wellness is cardiovascular screening, such as Life Line Screening, often recommended for adults age 55 and older. This type of simple ultrasound procedure allows doctors to see inside a patient’s arteries, and along with doctor checkups, can sniff out certain health issues before they become more serious. These vascular screenings can be a beneficial choice for patients in the right age range and with key risk factors (and screening data shows that more than 70 percent of the population over age 55 have two or more of these risk factors before their screening). Patients can then work with their doctors to put preventive strategies in place.
New studies prove screening’s benefit
A growing body of research supports this logical approach to fight disease. A 40-year study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed community-based integrated programming improved the health of residents and reduced hospitalization. Similarly, a study in South Korea may have set the standard for the future. There, a nationwide study found that health screenings were linked to lower rates of cardiovascular disease and helped patients better identify heart-related conditions and events.
To best prevent cardiovascular disease one must find it early, before the person is symptomatic, so the individual can be more accurately placed in the proper risk category. That is where ultrasound screening plays its special role. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, looked at ultrasound testing to identify blockages in carotid (neck) arteries in people who were healthy but at-risk, and found that detection of “subclinical” disease improved overall risk prediction.
Vascular screening may also motivate healthier behaviors in those screened because people get to “see” inside their body and understand their true health status. Life Line Screening examined a sample of American adults who underwent screenings. The research showed that those screened engaged in healthier behaviors. In fact, 76 percent of participants reported improved diets, 60 percent increased the amount of exercise and 73 percent reported maintenance of a healthy weight or weight loss following the screening.
For more information about preventive screening for you or a loved one, visit www.lifelinescreening.com.