Baptist HealthScore Screening Center
Early detection is important in treating most conditions and diseases. Baptist Medical Group-Outpatient Care Center offers screenings that can help identify vascular disease that can lead to stroke, heart disease–including abdominal aortic aneurysms–peripheral arterial disease and osteoporosis in its new HealthScore Screening Center.
Skilled technicians can perform these tests in minutes, and radiologists interpret the results within days. Your results can help you and your physician decide how you can take control of your health and reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, peripheral arterial disease and osteoporosis.
Vascular disease screenings use ultrasound to examine the carotid arteries (large arteries in the neck supplying blood to the brain), the abdominal section of the aorta (the large blood vessel that carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body) and to check the arterial pressure in the legs. These tests are painless and nonsurgical, so no needles are involved. Also, you don’t need a physician referral for this test, because most insurance plans do not pay for these screenings, and all patients must pay for them before getting the tests.
Risk Factors and Symptoms
Anyone 40 and older with the following risk factors is an ideal candidate for these screenings. Risk factors include:
- Family history of heart disease or stroke
Screening for vascular disease is an attempt to detect vascular disease early—before symptoms appear and before individuals have been diagnosed with vascular disease. If you already have been diagnosed with carotid artery disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm or peripheral arterial disease, screening is not appropriate for you. You should have ongoing follow-up and more comprehensive studies with your personal physician. If you have had symptoms, such as pain, numbness, weakness or anything of concern, you should see your personal physician as soon as possible or go to an emergency department for symptom evaluation. If you develop symptoms after being screened and receiving a report of normal results, you should be evaluated by your physician. If you do not have a personal physician, we can recommend a physician within the Baptist network.
Vascular Disease—The Leading Cause of Death in America
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women in America, claiming nearly 1 million lives a year. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of disability in adults, responsible for the majority of nursing home admissions. For every decade after age 55, the risk of stroke doubles. About 700,000 people suffer strokes each year, resulting in 160,000 deaths. A variety of conditions can cause a stroke, but individuals with significant narrowing of the carotid arteries have an increased risk of stroke, as well as an increased risk of coronary artery disease. They may have no warning signs or symptoms before experiencing a major stroke.
Abdominal aortic aneurysms occur in 5 to 7 percent of people older than 60. Often, no symptoms precede aneurysm rupture and two to three million Americans older than 60 are thought to have abdominal aortic aneurysms. Eighty percent of the time, these ruptures cause massive bleeding and death, with 15,000 Americans dying from them each year.
Peripheral arterial disease affects about 10 million Americans. It is caused by atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, a buildup of fatty substances such as cholesterol, calcium and scar tissue along the lining of the arteries resulting in narrowing and blockages. The narrowing and blockages decrease blood supply to the legs and can cause pain, disability, problems with wound healing and amputation. Around 50 percent of people with peripheral arterial disease do not have any symptoms.