Know Your Risks: Heart Screenings at Jupiter Medical Center
Beating 100,000 times a day, or 35 million times per year, your heart is
a hard-working organ. Each day, your heart pumps blood through an intricate
system of blood vessels. The vessels deliver oxygen and nutrients to the
tissues throughout the body, and remove carbon dioxide and waste products.
Keeping your heart muscle healthy is one of the most important things you
can do for your health. Although much progress has been made in both preventing
and treating heart disease, it remains the No. 1 cause of death for both
men and women in the United States. While men are more susceptible at
an earlier age, a woman’s risk of having a heart attack rises sharply
The good news is there is a lot you can do keep your heart strong, to prevent
heart disease, and catch early signs of heart disease so you can take
action to protect your health. From helping you with lifestyle changes
to heart screenings, Jupiter Medical Center is your partner in heart health.
Heart Screenings Offer Peace of Mind
Jupiter Medical Center offers heart screenings to help you and your doctor
assess your risk for heart disease. At a cost of $69, heart screens are
accessible, affordable and painless. By giving you a better sense of your
risk of heart disease, or potentially alerting you to any early signs
of heart disease, heart screenings empower you to make the changes that
will help you live a long, healthy life.
- Heart Screenings at Jupiter Medical Center include:
Cardiac risk assessment – There are many factors in our lifestyle and family background
that can contribute to a higher risk of heart disease. Knowing your risks
can help you and your doctor chart a course to optimal, long-term heart health.
Blood pressure and heart rate – High blood pressure can put strain on the heart. Keeping your
blood pressure under control is important in keeping your heart healthy.
Body mass index (BMI) – A measure of height and weight, a high BMI can be a risk factor
for heart disease. Losing even a little bit of weight can make a big difference
in your heart health over time.
Biometric screening – Tests include cholesterol levels and blood glucose, both done
with a quick finger prick. High levels of certain types of cholesterol,
including low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglycerides, typically do
not cause symptoms, but can be a risk factor for heart disease. High blood
glucose levels may be warning sign of diabetes, which raises the risk
of heart disease. Diet, exercise and medications can all help with keeping
your cholesterol and blood glucose levels where they should be.
EKG – Sensors placed on your skin that detects the electrical activity
of your heart. EKGs can detect arrhythmias, or abnormal heart rhythms.
Counseling with a health navigator – Our health navigator is a registered nurse who is experienced
in helping men and women understand their heart disease risks, and providing
individualized guidance on what steps to take to lower risk.
Coronary Computed Tomography Angiography (CCTA): Results In A Heartbeat.
5 To Be Exact.
Coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) is a heart imaging test
that looks at the structures and blood vessels of the heart. CCTA helps
doctors determine if plaque buildup has narrowed the coronary arteries,
which supply blood to the heart. Plaque is made up of various substances
such as fat, cholesterol and calcium that deposit along the inner lining
of the arteries. Over time, plaque can build up, reducing or even completely
block blood flow, potentially causing a heart attack.
- In the hospital, coronary CT angiograms are used for a variety of purposes,
- In the emergency department to diagnose the cause of chest pain.
- By cardiologists for patients experiencing what is known as “stable”
chest pain. Stable chest pain, or stable angina, is discomfort that occurs
with activity or stress.
As previously discussed, CCTA is also used as a screening tool, for people
with risk factors for heart disease but who do not yet have symptoms.
Who should have a CCTA screening?
About 5 million people visit an emergency department for chest pain every
year. Sometimes that pain, tightness or pressure in your chest is an early
warning sign of a serious problem with your heart. But often, heart disease
has no symptoms. The first warning sign is the sudden onset of a heart attack.
CCTA can also be used as a screening tool for people not experiencing chest
pain symptoms, but who may have risk factors for heart disease. CCTA screening
can give your doctor additional information to determine the best course
of action to manage the early detection of coronary artery disease. This
may include clinical interventions, medications or lifestyle changes.
You should make the decision about whether CCTA screening is right for
you with your cardiologist, who will assess your risk factors, including
your age, family history, smoking history, and co-existing conditions
such as diabetes or very high cholesterol. Your screening test, along
with your calcium score, can help determine what treatment is right for you.
Coronary CT Angiography (CCTA) at Jupiter Medical Center
At Jupiter Medical Center, we offer screening coronary CT angiography for
$399. While CCTA used in an emergency department or for patients with
chest pain symptoms is typically covered by insurance, screening CCTAs
for people who are asymptomatic are not.
For more information, call Gail Cooper-Parks, RN, Health Navigator, at
(561) 263-4437. If you have an order from your physician, call
(561) 263-4414 to schedule an appointment.
When you receive your coronary CT angiography (CCTA) screening, you will
also receive what is known as a cardiac calcium score.
Plaque that builds up in the vessels of the heart is made of up numerous
substances, including calcium. Your calcium score, also known as coronary
artery calcium (CAC) scoring, is a measure of the amount of calcium deposits
in the coronary arteries. Research has shown that a calcium score is useful
in detecting heart disease, before you experience symptoms.
By understanding your risk of a heart attack, you can make changes or start
treatments to prevent to heart disease. If the tests show you already
have heart disease, you can begin treatment to prevent it from getting worse.
Test results are given in what is known as an Agatston score. Higher scores
indicate a greater area and density of calcium deposits, and a higher
risk of a heart attack.
- A score of zero means you have no calcium in the heart.
- A score of 11 to 100 means you have some plaque. Your doctor may recommend
lifestyle changes and other treatments.
- A score over 100 to 400 means you have moderate plaque, which may be blocking
an artery. You’re at a moderate to high risk of having a heart attack
or other heart disease in the next several years.
- A score of over 400 indicates large plaque deposits and serious heart disease.
Your odds of having a heart attack are relatively high. Your cardiologist
will likely order more tests and will recommend that you start treatment
to reduce you risk of a heart attack.
What Should I Expect During my CCTA screening test?
Patients undergoing a CCTA scan receive an iodine-containing contrast material
as an intravenous (IV) injection to ensure the best possible images of
the heart blood vessels. The scan produces multiple images or pictures
of the inside of the body, which are then read by a radiologist.
The process should take about one hour. During the test, you will be alone
in the scanner room, but a cardiac technologist will be able to see you
and speak to you during the test.
Jupiter Medical Center performs many of these fast, reliable, noninvasive
CCTA screening tests every year. Our GE Optima CT scanner offers the latest
technology with the lowest possible radiation dose. We are able to acquire
and reconstruct data quickly and accurately to detect early, treatable
coronary artery disease.
Common Risk Factors for Heart Disease
There are many risk factors for heart disease. Some you can change, and
some you don’t have a lot of control over. But knowing what they
are can help you get a better idea of what actions you need to take to
protect the health of your heart, and continue to enjoy many more years
of the activities that matter to you, such as work, travel or hobbies,
and most important of all, your friends and family.
Risk Factors You
Family history – If either of your parents or any siblings have a heart attack
before age 55 (males) or 65 (females), you may have a genetic predisposition
to heart disease.
Age – The older we get, the more likely we are to have less elastic,
Gender – While men and women alike develop coronary artery disease, women
tend to develop heart disease 10 to 15 years later than men. The average
age at which men begin to show symptoms of heart disease is 50 to 60,
while for women it’s 60 to 70.
Risk Factors You
Smoking – Smokers have twice the risk of a heart attack as non-smokers.
Once you stop the use of tobacco, the progression of heart disease caused
by cigarette smoking will cease.
Cholesterol – Having high cholesterol levels increases your risk for heart disease.
Cholesterol levels can be lowered through a combination of exercise, improved
eating habits and potentially, medications called statins.
Blood Pressure – High blood pressure is another risk factor for heart disease.
You can lower your blood pressure by following your prescribed treatment
and taking your medicine according to direction.
Diabetes – People with diabetes have a higher risk of developing coronary
artery disease. Type 2 diabetes may be managed or controlled by diet,
weight loss , exercise and medications.
Exercise – The American Heart Association regards physical inactivity as
the fourth major risk factor for coronary artery disease. Regular exercise
is one of the most powerful ways to improve your heart function.
Nutrition – Eating an unhealthy diet high in fat, salt and simple carbohydrates
can increase cholesterol levels and weight, increasing your risk of heart
disease. Adopting a heart healthy diet will help lower your risk of heart disease