1. Heart disease is the leading killer in the USA for both men and women.
2. About 610,000 people a year die from heart disease.
3. One in four deaths is related to heart disease.
4. 735,000 Americans have heart attacks annually.
5. Heart disease kills about the same number of people annually as does cancer, lower respiratory disease, and accidents combined.
6. 47% of sudden death from heart attacks occurs outside the hospital. This suggests that people do not understand the risk and/or symptoms of heart attacks.
7. Men are at higher risk than women.
8. African-American men are 35% more likely to have heart disease.
9. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease.
10. About 47% of Americans have at least one of these risk factors.
11. Family history of heart disease increases your chances of having a heart attack.
12. Diabetes, poor diet, physical inactivity, obesity, and excessive alcohol use greatly increase your risk of heart disease.
13. Oklahoma has one of the highest incidences of heart disease in all of the USA.
14. About 800,000 people a year have a stroke.
15. Heart disease and stroke cost about $313 billion a year in healthcare costs and lost productivity.
16. The American Heart Association predicts the annual cost of heart disease will exceed 1 trillion dollars by 2035.
17. According to the American Heart Association, your risk of cardiovascular disease is 50% at age 45.
18. It is 80% at age 65.
19. The emotional pain and suffering inflicted on people is unmeasurable.
20. No one wants to die too early.
21. Heart disease can be treated and prevented.
22. Screening for heart disease is easy.
23. Not knowing if you are at risk is not very smart!
Heart disease does not have to keep kicking our proverbial butts! Screening is very simple. A heart scan is an inexpensive way to screen for cardiovascular disease. It is not perfect, but you do get valuable information to help evaluate your personal risk for coronary heart disease.
A CT heart scan measures the amount of calcium that builds up in the arteries that feed your heart. It can be correlated to a degree of blockage in those arteries. It is not super accurate in the sense that you will not get a number such as 76% blockage. It will get you in the ballpark. It will generally correlate to no blockage, mild, moderate, or severe blockage. If you are in the moderate or severe category, generally you should have more testing.
Most places will do a heart scan for around $50. Insurance does not cover heart scans. Since you are paying cash for it, you do not need a doctor’s order. Simply call your favorite place and schedule.
Remember, this is only a screen. If you are having any symptoms at all, check with your doctor. You can still have problems in spite of having a normal heart scan. It is not perfect, but you do get good information and it is relatively inexpensive. (It is also pain-free!)
If you have a family history of heart disease or if you have other risk factors such as smoking or hypertension, start screening around age 40 to 45. If you score a zero (perfect), probably good to get one every five years. If you do not score a zero, I would check more often.
Oh. I just had mine and I scored a 23. My previous one was a zero. I have a strong family history of coronary artery disease. I am going to repeat in one year and I am going to double-check my lipid panel and watch my blood pressure closely.
Time to go exercise!
Wishing You an Amazing Life,
Dr. Curtis Brown