Cardiovascular disease remains a huge problem throughout the United States. In fact, it is estimated that over 600,000 Americans die each year from complications of cardiovascular disease in all its forms. It is the leading cause of death for both men and women. In the United States, someone has a heart attack approximately every 40 seconds.
What remains scary to many people is the fact that there are not always warning signs to alert the person to the presence of a serious issue. Peripheral vascular disease is yet another subset of overall cardiovascular disease that affects many Americans each year. What is PVD and how do both gender and age influence an individual’s risk of developing it? What are companies such as Life Line Screening doing to lower the damage and fatalities suffered due to heart disease in all its forms? The information below will further address these important questions.
What is Peripheral Vascular Disease?
Peripheral vascular disease refers to cardiovascular disease that affects other areas outside of the heart itself. Therefore, it could include damage and disease that affects the health and functioning of blood vessels in the arms, legs, abdomen, and internal organs. There are three main types of PVD, as described below.
- Peripheral Artery Disease – In general terms, PAD refers to diseased or narrowed arteries of the arms and legs.
- Carotid Artery Stenosis – In simple terms, carotid artery stenosis is a dangerous narrowing of the carotid artery, one of the major arteries that supply vital blood to the brain. Blockages in this artery can lead to a severe or fatal stroke.
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm – The aorta is the main blood vessel that supplies blood to the entire body. An aneurysm in the aorta is a swelling or bulge that can burst and lead to death.
How Does Age and Gender Influence Risk of PVD?
Recent research has indicated that a person’s age and gender does have some influence over their level of risk for developing peripheral vascular disease. However, it depends on which type of PVD is being referenced. Here is what we currently know about how gender and age influence the risk of developing PVD:
- Women are at a slightly increased risk of developing peripheral vascular disease affecting the lower limbs.
- Men are at an increased risk of developing a narrowing of the carotid artery leading to strokes.
- Men are at a drastically higher risk of developing aortic aneurysms.
- Surprisingly, the higher prevalence of PVD in women was the most remarkable in younger women than older women.
- The higher prevalence of developing a narrowing of the carotid artery was greatest in older men versus younger men.
- The prevalence of developing aneurysms of the aorta seems to be similar across both genders and all age groups.
It is important to note that even though age and gender appear to influence the level of risk in some respects, cardiovascular disease can affect anyone at any age. Without knowing the problem exists, a lot of damage can be done before any symptoms ever become present. Due to this fact, a lot of attention has been given recently to the development of preventative health screenings. It was hoped that these screenings would be a helpful way for those concerned about their long-term physical health to ascertain their degree of risk and visualize any existing problems before long-term damage was done. Are these preventative health screenings effective? Let’s discuss one company that offers these tests in more detail below.
How Life Line Screening Can Help
Life Line Screening is an independently owned and operated series of medical facilities dedicated to offering preventative health screenings to determine a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease.
With its corporate headquarters in Austin, Texas, Life Line Screening was initially founded in 1993. Since this time, the company has expanded their locations to be of service to more of the American population. Additionally, Life Line Screening realized that many other countries experience high rates of cardiovascular disease and related fatalities similar to what we experience in the US. Therefore, they began opening their doors in countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, areas where high rates of heart disease are also seen. It has been estimated that Life Line Screening has completed over eight million screening procedures for people of all ages who are concerned about accurately predicting their future risk of serious cardiovascular health issues.
What Tests Does Life Line Screening Provide?
Life Line Screening has advanced their series of preventative health screenings to include a wide variety of offerings. These tests can be further divided into several different types, as shown below.
- Ultrasound Imaging – Most people are familiar with ultrasounds and the way these tests function. Ultrasounds rely on sound waves to create accurate images of the internal structures and organs of the body. Ultrasound tests are painless and non-invasive, making them preferred by both patients and medical professionals alike. Additionally, they do not expose the individual to any form of radiation. Life Line Screening provides ultrasound testing to check for serious issues such as aortic aneurysms, the presence of disease of the carotid artery, PVD of the blood vessels in the legs, and much more. No special preparations need to be taken to get ready for an ultrasound exam, making them a great resource for many health-conscious individuals.
- Blood Panel Testing – Blood tests have been utilized for years in order to determine risk for future heart disease as well as detect the presence of existing problems. However, blood tests usually require that the individual is stuck in the arm, which can be a tender spot to draw blood from. Life Line Screening has developed special blood tests that require only a couple drops of blood easily obtained by a tiny prick of the fingertip. This innovative fingertip stick blood screening can determine accurate cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, C-reactive protein readings, and liver enzyme levels. It is important to note that some blood tests are more accurate if the person has fasted for a period of time preceding the test. Therefore, it is always important to follow the precise instructions you will be given by Life Line Screening when you set up your tests.
- EKG’s – EKG’s provide a non-invasive and painless way to detect irregular heartbeats and other issues that can indicate the presence of early cardiovascular disease. Several painless electrodes are attached to the chest to monitor the behavior and functioning of the heart over a period of time. No special preparation is needed, and the patient doesn’t need to remove any clothing to have this test performed. Life Line Screening provides a limited EKG that looks for atrial fibrillation only.
With the high prevalence of cardiovascular disease in our country, it is not surprising that many people are concerned about their level of risk. Those with a strong family history may be especially worried about their own future health. With the development of preventative health screenings like those offered by Life Line Screening, there is no need to worry in silence. Existing problems can be accurately detected. Furthermore, future complications can be lessened or removed with the helpful testing procedures.