By 2020, the American Heart Association aims to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20% and reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease and stroke by 20%.
To support this goal, pro-active steps toward prevention can and should be done in the fight against atherosclerosis, the primary cause of cardiovascular disease. As with many diseases, early detection in asymptomatic individuals potentially increases benefits. These benefits can be realized through change in diet and lifestyle, or when indicated, drug therapies or other medical treatments.
Conversely, if detection is not accomplished until the more advanced stages of cardiovascular disease, the negative consequences such as heart disease and stroke can be extremely severe. Moreover, in addition to identification of these risk factors, simple ultrasound screening can detect the presence of atherosclerosis in asymptomatic individuals with risk factors. The presence of plaque combined with the presence of risk factors can be used to determine cardiovascular risk more accurately than risk factors alone.
Thus, vascular ultrasound screening, such as that of the carotid arteries or peripheral arteries, can be a prudent healthcare decision for those in appropriate age categories, with risk factors.
Those with abnormal results should discuss the results of their tests and possible next steps with their family healthcare providers and make sure they understand the risks and benefits of any additional testing or procedures.
Learn more about the benefits of ultrasound screening at our Research Portal