Both of these diseases are caused by atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is defined as plaque build-up in the arteries throughout the body, which causes blockage of blood flow. As a result of this lifelong process, severe organ damage can occur.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 500,000 deaths each year. The first symptom of a heart attack in 50% of cases is the actual heart attack. One third of these patients die with the initial event. Therefore, it becomes important to identify early atherosclerosis (blockages of the blood vessels) to prevent myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, (heart muscle weakness), arrhythmias (irregular heart beat) and sudden death.
Click here to see a plaque rupture
Stroke is the third leading cause of death, and the leading cause of disability in the United States of America. Stroke accounts for approximately 300,000 deaths per year. The majority of strokes are caused by atherosclerosis (blockages in the blood vessels to the brain). Other causes include embolic phenomenon (blood clots that go to different parts of the body.) Contributing factors to stroke include atrial fibrillation (one type of irregular heartbeat), hypertension (high blood pressure), smoking and cholesterol.
Hyperlipidemia (Elevation in Cholesterol)
Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
Positive Family History of Early Heart Disease of Stroke (Age less than 60)
Elevated Homocysteine Levels (amino acid)
Elevated Cardio-CRP Levels (a measure on inflammation)
Our goals are to identify risk factors in each individual patient and we will try to modify these risk factors to lower the patient’s risk of developing atherosclerosis and therefore reducing their risk for myocardial infarction or stroke. This is done by a comprehensive evaluation using diagnostic tools.