Preventative Health Screening Program
Understanding your personal health risks and changing your lifestyle habits to improve your health should be a priority for everyone. Prevention screenings provide invaluable information into the health of your vascular system – providing an opportunity for treatment before a serious or even life-threatening health issue arises.
Stroke Prevention & Carotid Artery Screening
The carotid arteries are major blood vessels in the neck that supply blood to the brain, neck, and face. There are two carotid arteries, one on the right and one on the left. Over 700,000 Americans suffer strokes each year. A stroke occurs when something blocks blood supply to part of the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. In either case, parts of the brain become damaged or die. A stroke can cause lasting brain damage, long-term disability or even death. A large number of strokes can be prevented with early detection.
A narrowed carotid artery is caused by plaque build-up inside the artery walls. If the artery becomes too narrow, blood flow to the brain becomes compromised, potentially causing a stroke. A carotid ultrasound screening can be used to measure blood flow in the carotid artery, including any areas of narrowing, or stenosis.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)
The aorta is the largest artery in the body. The part of the aorta that carries blood from your heart through your abdomen, and splits into iliac arteries that supply your legs, is called the abdominal aorta. Smaller arteries also branch off the aorta at several points to carry blood to various organs and other parts of the body.
An aneurysm occurs when a weakened part of a blood vessel expands like a balloon. As it expands, the vessel wall becomes thinner and weakens, and there is a risk it will break open or rupture. A ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm is a life-threatening condition, but with early detection, it may be prevented. The abdominal aortic aneurysm screening is a painless, non-invasive procedure using ultrasound to check for enlargement of the abdominal aorta.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is one of the most under-diagnosed health conditions in the US and is an important indicator that more serious vascular health conditions may be present in other areas of the body. For this reason, PAD is a significant predictor of heart attack and stroke.
PAD occurs when the arteries in your legs become narrowed with plaque and cannot bring enough blood to your leg and foot. This condition is a complication of atherosclerosis (or hardening of the arteries). Arteries are the vessels in your body that supply all the oxygen-rich blood the muscles need to function. When artery walls thicken with plaque, which is made of cholesterol, you have the condition called atherosclerosis. When blood flow in your legs is reduced by atherosclerosis, you will start to see the symptoms of peripheral arterial disease.
During the first stages of PAD, your arteries still provide enough oxygen to your muscles during rest. However, when you are active, such as when you are walking or climbing stairs, your muscles need more oxygen than the narrowed vessels can supply. As a result, the muscles may cramp or feel tired.
As the disease progresses, you may develop pain in the foot and/or leg at rest due to lack of blood flow. This may result in the loss of a limb due to tissue and muscle death (i.e. gangrene).
The thyroid gland is located in front of the neck. It looks sort of like a butterfly or a bow tie. The thyroid is important in many ways for keeping your body healthy. It sends out certain hormones that help control many activities in the body, such as breathing and pumping blood. It helps control weight and is also involved in other functions. According to the American Thyroid Association, there are an estimated 20 million Americans that have a thyroid problem or thyroid disease. Many people are not even aware that it’s linked to the symptoms they are experiencing. Not only does a thyroid problem increase the risk of obesity, depression, anxiety, infertility, and heart disease, it usually is one of the last things the doctor takes a closer look at to help diagnose your symptoms.
The most common sign of a thyroid problem is feeling tired or fatigued even if you are getting plenty of sleep. Weight gain or weight loss without any diet changes is another common sign of a thyroid issue called hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, which means under or overactive thyroid.
Family history can play a role in thyroid problems as well. Other symptoms include not being able to control high cholesterol even with medications and discomfort in your neck area, are all concerns that should be addressed. Thyroid ultrasound is an excellent assessment screening tool. The thyroid ultrasound screening will determine if any nodules are present, their size and if they are fluid-filled (cyst) or solid.
Renal Artery Screening
The kidneys are a pair of regulatory organs located on either side of your back. Their main function is to act as a filter system that removes waste products and excess fluid from the body. The kidneys and your circulatory system depend on each other for good health. High blood pressure (HPB or hypertension) is the second leading cause of kidney failure. High blood pressure can also be a complication of chronic kidney disease. Renal hypertension is elevated blood pressure caused by kidney disease. Renal hypertension is caused by narrowing in the arteries that deliver blood to the kidneys. One or both kidneys arteries may be narrowed. This is a condition called renal artery stenosis. These damaged arteries are not able to deliver enough blood to the kidney tissue. The narrowing in one or both renal arteries is most often caused by atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. This is the same process that leads to many heart attacks and strokes. Renal hypertension usually causes no symptoms. The narrowing in the arteries can’t be felt. Atherosclerosis in the renal arteries is a progressive disease that may lead to gradual and silent loss of renal function. Thus, early diagnosis of this condition is important. Doppler ultrasound screening of the renal arteries is a noninvasive, relatively inexpensive exam which accurately detect the presence of renal artery stenosis.