Can You Stop A Stroke Or Heart Attack Before It Happens?

The answer is yes. There are some ten million Americans at risk for peripherial arterial disease, PAD or abdominal aortic aneuyrysms.  The vascular department at SMDC has a grant that proves low cost screenings to patients. It was provided in part by the Otto Bremer Foundation, and costs you only $60.00.  My husband carried on about it but I made an appointment for both of us. We both were in the lowest category. (I actually wanted to put a cork in his mouth; he asked so many questions.)

It’s important to know if you are at risk. Did you know that if you smoke you are 4 times more likley to have plaque, and you can have a stroke or heart attack? Other risk factors include being over 50, high blood pressure, cholesterol issues, diabetes, obesity, dignoised heart disease, family history of heart disease, leg pain, foot pain, foot and leg sores.

Who do you call?  The Vascular department at SMDC. 218-786-8318. 

What is this screening all about? It is a carotid artery test of both sides of your neck to see if you have plaque. Then there is an abdominal aortic ultrasound to detect a stomach aneurysm. Then there is blood pressure in your right arm. Both legs are given a blood pressure test to determine if you ankle-brachial index for peripheral arterial disease. 

What is PAD, Peripheral Arterial Disease? It is an arterial vascular disease that means you may have a blockage. It could be narrowed or blocked arteris from cholesterol and fat. If it gets worse you could have a stroke or it can affect your kidneys, stomach, intestines, arms, heart, and brain.

What are other signs of this disease? You may have pain in your legs, you may be tired, or your feet may feel crampy when walking. You may have foot pain, or sores that don’t heal. If you have black toes or feet you could have gangrene. I know I had foot and leg pain; mine must be the neuropathy. Sometimes we get the pain when we get older. It’s not worth risking the loss of your toe, foot, or leg.

What puts you at risk for PAD? smoking is the highest risk factor. Being over age 50, being male, being diabetic, having high blood pressure, having a blockage, having high cholesterol or triglycerides puts you at risk. (I know this is why I am taking slow niacin, eating those fish oil pills, on two blood pressure meds, and drinking vinegar once in awhile.) Strokes run in my family as does diabetes, high disease, heart attacks. I know I need to exercise more.

What is Carotid Artery Disease? It is a blockage of calcium, fat, and cholesterol in your main attery. It is called CVD or cerebovascualar disease. If you have this you can be at risk for a stroke. There are some 700,000 people who have strokes once a year. Strokes are the third leading cause of death in America. You could end up disabled and in a nursing home, unable to work.

What puts you at risk for CVC? age, if you are man before age 75 you are at risk; after age 75, it is common in women. The risk increases as you age. Heart disease or PVD puts you at risk for blockage in the arteries for the heart, legs, and brain.  High cholesterol or triglycerides puts you at risk for a stroke as well as high blood pressure. Smoking is by far the largest risk factor for CVD. Your risk is doubled by being a smoker.

What are the symptoms of CVC? sudden loss of vision. (I once had this happen 32 years ago, sudden loss of vision, as we headed th hospital, it came back. You may experence weakness in the arms, legs, hand, face for a few minutes. You may have poor speech.

How can you prevent CVC? exercise, control your blood pressure, cholesterol and quit smoking.

What is a abdominal arotic aneurysm? Our main arteries carry blood to various parts of our body. We have heard of people having aneurysms, living and dying. A bulge occurs and that is when it is serious. There may be internal bleeding and a rupture. I know at least 3 that had brain aneurysms.

Whose at risk for developing an abdominal aortic aneurysm? smokers are five times more likely to have an aneurysm, men over 60, but women can get it, and those with a family history of it.

What are the symptoms of an abdominal aneurysm? lump or mass in the stomache

How can you prevent an abdominal aneurysm? exercise, quit smoking, low fat diet, control your cholesterol and blood pressure.