The American Heart Association reports that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. That equates to about 600 thousand people dying from this disease every year. This sounds like a dreadful number and it is however there is a silver lining because doctors say in most cases this disease is preventable.
The most common problem associated with heart disease has to do with the buildup of plaque in the arteries. This waxy substance can build up and block blood flow to the brain and the rest of the body. This blockage can cause heart attacks and even stroke. You may experience some symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath or even have more obvious signs such as chest pains or tightening of the chest. Doctors say you may also feel pain in the shoulders, arms, neck or jaw bone. These can all be warning signs and should not be ignored, seek medical attention immediately. In some cases there will be no signs at all. This is why screenings, especially if you are considered high risk may be life saving.
Doctors say if blood flow to the heart is blocked and stops completely this is when you will suffer a heart attack. If the blood supply to the brain is blocked this is when you are at risk for stroke. Both can be life threatening.
The good news is heart disease in most cases is preventable by following a healthy diet and exercise plan, not smoking, keeping your cholesterol below 200 and keeping your blood pressure in normal ranges. For most the normal range is 120 over 80.
If you have a family history of heart disease or you are not living a healthy lifestyle and do not have healthy cholesterol and blood pressure ranges as mentioned, there are screenings that can be performed to see if you have arteries that are blocked. Once of these tests is a CAT scan of the heart. This scan uses advanced X-Ray technology to look into your heart to detect a build-up of plaque that has calcified in your arteries. This calcification can be calculated into a score called your calcium score. This number can be discussed with your doctor and they can then let you know if you are at risk of heart disease or perhaps if there is blockage. If there is blockage immediate steps may be taken to decrease your chances of heart attack or stroke. Although we suggest getting your results evaluated by a medical doctor, you do not need a prescription for this screening.
During the month of February, in honor of heart awareness month, Affordable Medical Imaging is offering a special. Our goal is to allow you to receive the care you need at prices you can afford. During this month you can receive one heart scan for $175 or two for $300. This means you can bring in your sweetheart or perhaps a friend who would also like to have peace of mind about their chances of heart disease.