Understanding Your Health Screening Results
Your screening results will be color coded and easy to read so you can see what measurements are normal, borderline, or abnormal. In addition to the numbers, you will also see a section on each condition for which we screened and what it means for you.
How to Read Your Results
Your screening test results package will be specific to you and should be shared with your primary care physician. If we see something which we feel should be addressed urgently by your doctor, we will let you know at the time of the screening.
In general, we are looking for plaque in the arteries, which is called atherosclerosis. We examine the carotid arteries in your neck and the peripheral arteries in your legs, as well as the abdominal aorta. (We do not screen the coronary arteries, the arteries surrounding the heart.)
Atherosclerosis is a disease of progression. Its progression can be slowed or stopped altogether by medication or lifestyle changes, such as stopping smoking, reducing your blood sugar, doing exercise, and watching your weight. Keeping track of your blood pressure is also important.
Here is more information on the five major screening test results:
- The carotid arteries are located on each side of your neck. Mild blockage means you have some blockage and it may be affecting blood flow, but it does not mean you are in immediate danger, You should still share the findings with your doctor. If we indicated that you had significant blockage, this means there may be an immediate threat to your brain, and you should consult a doctor as soon as you can.
- The normal size of the aorta is about the size of man's thumb. If we indicated that your abdominal aortic aneurysm screening is abnormal, then that means it has ballooned, or stretched, to three centimeters or above and should be reviewed by a doctor. The larger the measurement, the more urgent the issue.
- The atrial fibrillation test looks for the most common type of heart rhythm, which is a problem with the electrical system of the heart. It is a risk factor for stroke, kidney disease, and heart problems.
- The peripheral arterial disease (PAD) test looks for buildup in the small arteries of the legs. Plaque buildup in these arteries means your legs and feet aren't getting enough blood flow. PAD is often used as a marker for widespread cardiovascular disease.
- The bone scan of the tibia (formerly the heel) looks for bone diminishment. An abnormal screening result does not mean you have osteoporosis, but it does mean you should get a full evaluation from your doctor.
If you got additional screenings, your blood screening test results and your biometric screening scores will also be reported.
Read through the screening test results carefully.
Share your screening results with your doctor.
We will contact you to let you know when it is time to be re-screened.
Most screenings require review by one of our board-certified physicians, with the exception of the 6 for Life assessment, which is run through a clinically based predictive program.
Screening Results FAQ
My carotid results were “mild.” What does this mean?It means that you have a small amount of plaque build-up which is not affecting blood flow. Share with your doctor and continue with follow-ups.
Last time my results said my carotid blockage was “mild” and now it “normal.” How can that happen?The “mild” category is somewhat broad and can vary from a thickened inner layer of the artery to a small amount of plaque, as long as it does not affect the blood flow. Some reviewing physicians can be very conservative and interpret a thickened inner layer as “mild” plaque, while others would not.
The screening revealed I have a small abdominal aortic aneurysm. What should I do?Continue to follow-up with your doctor so he or she can monitor it. An aneurysm may remain stable but it can continue to grow. As it becomes larger, the risks of rupture increase.
If I get these screenings, does this mean I’m safe from a stroke or heart attack?Unfortunately no one can really predict if and how strokes or other cardiovascular events could happen. However our screenings will help you and your physician recognize risks as possible sources for these events, as well as discuss with you how some of those risks could be modified or lessened.