Tests To Stop A Heart Attack Before It Starts

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Cardiovascular diseases can get severe enough to trigger a heart attack or stroke if they are not detected earlier. In fact, they are the major cause of death among many people.

Not all the attacks begin with that sudden and severe chest pain that we’ve always heard and talked about. They might sometimes take even 20 to 30 years before getting severe enough to cause a stroke. But, they can be managed and treated completely with regular check-ups coupled with the right treatment. Here are some of the tests that are vital to testing your cardio health.

CT Scans

Coronary CT scanning has become a widely recognised, non-invasive tool to identify plaque build-up. Even the newest and the most highly detailed types cost much less than what you’d pay for an angiogram. A patient can be scanned in ten minutes and have a good idea of the state of his arteries. However, there are some drawbacks too. CT scans can’t detect fatty plaque and require radiation. The results are also unreliable at times and screening cannot be used routinely. Percentage of false negatives is also too high. At least 5 to 10 percent of people with heart diseases are also coming with clean scans.

Ultrasound

High resolution ultrasound has many advantages compared to other imaging techniques. It is preferred by many doctors and patients because:

  • It does not involve any radiation
  • It is non-invasive
  • It is pretty fast compared to other methods of imaging (takes just about 12 minutes)
  • It is cheaper than a CT scan or MRI that use portable, relatively inexpensive units
  • Physicians can be trained to do screenings in a short time compared to diagnostic ultrasound

External vascular ultrasound should also be introduced as part of routine annual check-up as it helps in tracking the plaque. The procedure is simple, safe and non-invasive and can be repeated frequently to monitor any plaque build-up.

MRI

This test helps in analysing the chemistry of plaque. The newest generation of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is able to give much detailed images of the actual blood vessel wall as well as the plaque. In fact, it can analyse plaque build-up to such a degree that none other diagnostics can do. These scans should be used as part of a progressive diagnostic for those patients who need a greater clarification regarding their condition compared to what an ultrasound or a CT scan can provide.

Together with these and other tests like stress tests and Holter monitoring new treatment options such as cholesterol-lowering medications and drug-coated coronary stents can help in waging a war on heart diseases. However, with diagnostic tests, patients will be able to get help before they even become symptomatic.

Lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and giving up on hard liquor also helps in warding off the disease. A Mediterranean-style diet that includes vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and fish goes a long way in keeping the disease at bay. Also indulge in some healthy activities like biking, walking, practicing Yoga and playing with his kids. Checking for any symptoms at the right time, getting fit, and getting healthy will help you get on with your life in a better way than you’d expect.