Could a magic wand determine your heart health?
Doctors at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Go Badgers!) are testing a new pocket-sized ultrasound device which can scan the arteries in your neck and determine if you should be concerned about heart disease according to an AP article today.
“If I tell you your cholesterol is 130, that won’t bother you. If I show you you have a plaque in the blood vessel leading to your brain, you’re more likely to make some changes,” said Dr. Sanford Carimi a physician participating in the study.
While some doctors are concerned false positives could lead to treating people who don’t have heart disease, it is a very exciting new tool in the fight to prevent death, especially in women.
For many women the first sign of heart disease is dropping dead of a heart attack. These new portable ultrasound devices could change that as detailed in the report:
Lisa Rosenstock of Madison, Wis., is an example. At age 41, this trim, athletic mom had normal cholesterol and blood pressure but a troubling family history of heart attacks. Ultrasound revealed a big clog in the main artery from her heart to her head.
Her cardiologist, Dr. James Stein of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, put her on medicines to lower her risk of a heart attack or stroke. He also is leading a study aimed at making ultrasound testing more common.
“There’s a great need for a noninvasive and safe way to identify people who don’t have signs but have risk” of heart disease, he said.
Likened to a mammogram, this pocket-sized ultrasound is a way to detect problems that can be reversed if caught early. Used as a screening and followed up with additional tests and a treatment plan, the ultrasound could be a key to reducing the number of women who have heart attacks each year.
The symptoms of heart attack are more subtle in women and women are more likely not to recover. Early detection and treatment including lifestyle changes are essential.
What should you do? Ask your doctor what type of screening is appropriate for you. Take advantage of screenings and modify your lifestyle to stay healthy and strong.
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Eliz Greene is the Busy Woman’s Guide to a Health. Drawing on her experience surviving a massive heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins, struggling to lose the 80 pounds gained during her pregnancy, and her background as an adaptive movement specialist, Eliz developed simple strategies and tips to help other busy women be more active, eat better and manage your stress.
As the Director of the Embrace Your Heart Wellness Initiative, Eliz travels the country energizing and inspiring audiences in keynotes and workshops on women’s heart health. She writes one of the top 100 health and wellness blogs. Find more at www.EmbraceYourHeart.com