Heart disease is one of the top killers, accounting for nearly 25 percent of annual deaths according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention1. However, there is good news to accompany this sobering statistic: In many cases, heart disease can be prevented through simple lifestyle changes and preventative healthcare. Individuals who receive routine vascular screenings and take a proactive role in protecting their health can see a dramatic decrease in the risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.
Lifestyle factors that affect the risk of cardiovascular disease include poor diet, sedentary lifestyle and substance use. Obesity and diabetes can lead to heart problems if left unchecked. Many people are aware of these risks but may not be motivated to change their lifestyles for a number of reasons. One reason is that statistics rarely feel real or personal; it can be difficult to change your lifestyle in response to numbers and facts that seem to have nothing to do with you.
To combat this problem, researchers with the Journal of Community Medicine and Health Education2 set out to see whether encouraging a more proactive approach toward preventative care could cause a difference in the actions of patients. The study gathered information from 3,267 individuals, predominately women over the age of 50. These individuals were divided into two groups: One group had received a vascular screening procedure while the other had not. Both groups were surveyed regarding their current health status and future health and lifestyle plans.
An interesting pattern emerged from this data: Individuals who received vascular screenings were more likely to modify their behavior and pursue a healthier lifestyle than those who had not been screened. This was true regardless of the results of the screening. In other words, simply receiving a health screening was enough to inspire the participants to take a more active role in their health, even if they were not currently exhibiting risk factors of heart disease.
How Taking a Proactive Role in Your Health Can Protect Your Future
Why would simply receiving a preventative screening test inspire someone to make lifestyle changes? Because it represents a proactive step toward wellness. Instead of waiting for something to go wrong or signs of illness to appear, a screening allows you to identify potential risk factors and plan ahead for possible problems. By taking action, you might feel more sense of responsibility with your own health. Heart disease and other chronic conditions stop being abstract concepts and become real possibilities that you can apply to your own life and experiences. This on its own is a very powerful motivator to start making changes to protect yourself from preventable disease.
Another reason that prevention is crucial in the treatment of cardiovascular disease is that most lifestyle-related health problems take a long time to develop, and their signs and symptoms are not always immediately evident. When you receive routine health screenings, you can check for potential problems long before they become serious. This enables you to make potentially life-saving changes to your lifestyle early enough to halt or possibly even reverse the damage. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Life Line Screening
Life Line Screening is a top provider of community-based private health screenings for adults. Since 1993, Life Line has provided screening services to test for a number of chronic and preventable ailments, including heart disease. Our tests are quick, simple and non-invasive, and they can be performed regularly to provide you with a snapshot of your current health status.
Our screening procedures do not diagnose specific medical conditions. Instead, they provide a more holistic snapshot of the body’s systems, such as the vascular system, to identify potential risks or areas of concern. If the results come back abnormal or showing certain signs and risk factors, your doctor can follow up with additional testing as necessary.
In some cases, our results are available right away; otherwise, we’ll mail you the results for you to share with your doctor and discuss potential treatment plans and lifestyle changes that can help to protect your health and your future.
Vascular Screenings for Heart Health
Although Life Line Screening provide screenings for a variety of ailments, cardiovascular health is a top concern for many individuals and is a focus of several of our tests. Heart disease risk factors can be identified in several different ways:
– Ultrasound screenings (sonography): Utilizing sound waves to providing imaging of a body’s internal structure, sonography can provide a view of the vascular system and identify potential problem areas. Screening includes abdominal aortic aneurysm screening, carotid artery disease screening and peripheral arterial disease screening.
– Finger-stick blood screenings: These are conducted using a small drop-size sample of blood taken from the finger. They can identify risk factors for heart disease including high cholesterol and C-reactive protein.
– Limited electrocardiograph (EKG): This device monitors heart rhythms and can identify an irregular heartbeat, more formally known as atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation can greatly increase the risk of stroke.
It’s important to note that while these screening procedures identify risk factors for heart disease, they are not primarily heart tests. Instead, they test heart function by looking at the overall performance of the vascular system. By taking a more big-picture look at heart rate, vein function, cholesterol and other factors, a number of potential cardiovascular risk factors can be identified at once. For this reason, these screenings can help to identify whether an individual is at increased risk of stroke, heart attack, congestive heart failure and other conditions.
Life Line Screening tests are quick, non-invasive and can be performed easily in the community. It’s our goal to make preventative healthcare as simple and painless as possible so there are no barriers to individuals taking that first vital step toward a proactive role in managing their health and future.