Would You Take a 10 Minute Test to Save Your Life?
by Dr. Jeffrey Boone, founder of the Boone Heart Institute
You know how old you are—but do you know how old your arteries are? With heart disease as the number one cause of death for women in the United States, many women regularly get their cholesterol and blood pressure checked—which is wonderful. But there’s another quick and easy test that can indicate the potential for heart disease—this one tells you the age of your arteries.
Using ultrasound imaging to measure the thickness of the inner lining of the carotid artery, the C-IMT Test can find where vulnerable “hot” plaque can grow. This test also detects plaque buildup in the carotid arteries. Visible carotid plaque is a significant marker of heart disease throughout your body. In addition, plaque buildup in the carotid arteries—which supply blood to your brain—can cause problems that lead to stroke. 70% of stroke victims have plaque in a carotid artery.
By examining the Carotid Intima Media Thickness (C-IMT), we can determine your risk for heart disease: the thicker the C-IMT measurement, the more likely you are to have plaque build-up and, as a result, the greater your risk for heart attack and stroke.
The lining of the artery where the plaque begins to grow is a great predictor of future arterial health. As a result, we measure the thickness of that plaque breeding ground. By using the test to calculate artery age and then comparing arterial age to a patient’s actual age, the results can be useful in a preventative sense.
Plaque buildup can cause your cardiovascular system to age more quickly than it should. For example: at age 52, Jeff B’s arterial age was measured at 74.
Concerned with this finding, he changed his lifestyle, went on daily antioxidants and followed his doctor’s recommendations. Follow-up C-IMT testing measured his improvement; at age 58, his arterial age was 52.
Using the results from the C-IMT, your physician can begin aggressively treating your cardiovascular risk factors. The benefits of C-IMT are that it allows us to find and treat cardiovascular disease before it becomes life threatening and, with proper therapy, C-IMT scores can be dramatically improved. Annual C-IMTs can keep you posted about what’s going on in your body.
Unfortunately, most people don’t get tested until they already have a problem. By the time you have serious blockages, you’ve had the disease for ten, twenty, or thirty years. What we want to do is find it very early. One way to do this is to have the C-IMT become a routine part of an exam in Colorado. By finding plaque buildup early, we could literally begin to eradicate heart attack and stroke.
At less than $100, it’s worth your heart health to get the C-IMT test. Then, if need be, you make the changes necessary to watch your artery age–and your potential risk–come down.
Who should get tested?
The American Heart Association recommends C-IMT for all patients over 45 years of age. In addition, this test is recommended for patients younger than 45 with one or more of the following cardiovascular risk factors:
• Family History of Cardiovascular Disease
• Sedentary Lifestyle
• Tobacco Use
• High Blood Pressure
• High “Bad” (LDL) Cholesterol
• Low “Good” (HDL) Cholesterol
• Elevated Triglycerides
The Boone Heart Institute is a Denver-based health care organization dedicated to the eradication of heart disease and stroke. Led by Jeffrey L. Boone, MD, the Boone Heart Team leads the way in preventive cardiology with their proactive approach. As a complement to your primary medical team, or your physician, Dr. Boone and his team work to define your risk for heart disease and stroke before you know anything is wrong and then eliminate that risk before any damage is done. Dr. Boone will speaking at the Vail Vitality Center on January 231, 2014 at 6pm. Lecture will be held at Tivoli Lodge. Call 970.476.7960 to learn more.