Cardiovascular disease can be a very sneaky disease. Diet and exercise can help to dramatically reduce one’s risk, but every now and again it can still affect even the healthiest person. This is why it is vital for even seemingly healthy individuals to stay on top of their cardiovascular health. Thankfully, there is a simple, non-invasive screening to check for symptoms of heart disease.
The screening is called the Carotid Intima-media Thickness (C-IMT) test that is recommended by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association for people 45 and older, and it is offered right here at the Boone Heart Institute. C-IMT is performed with a high-resolution B-mode ultrasound transducer. A small amount of conducting jelly is applied to the skin on your neck, and then the transducer is held over the carotid arteries to capture the image. This process measures the thickness of the medial and intimal layers of the artery walls and, in turn, their health. Though it may seem strange to screen the carotid artery as opposed to the heart itself, this artery actually provides a very accurate measure of overall arterial health, as the atherosclerotic burden is the same in the carotid as in any other coronary artery.
Checking the thickness of the arterial walls allows Dr. Boone to calculate the “arterial age” of your cardiovascular system. If your arterial age matches your actual age or is younger, than you have a lower risk for heart disease. If it is higher, however, then it gives us an idea of your risk level and informs us to take a more aggressive approach in controlling the risk factors associated with the disease. With therapy, we can slow down and even achieve regression of your arterial age.
If you wish to participate in a C-IMT screening, or simply wish to learn more, contact the Boone Heart Institute to schedule your risk-free consultation today!