By Kevin Compton
Special to The Greenup Beacon
The old saying is incorrect. Your grandmother may have taught you that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but when it comes to the human heart, the ounce of prevention is worth an amount that can be beyond calculation.
Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital (OLBH) now is offering patients three preventative vascular screenings in the hospital’s Radiology Department (testing also is available to be scheduled in downtown Ashland at Ashland Imaging located at 1816 Carter Avenue).
The painless, fast procedures are non-invasive ways to assess the risk for vascular disease. It is affordable as well. The three types of tests offered are screenings for aortic aneurysms, peripheral vascular disease and carotid artery disease and the tests can be performed for only $30 each.
» An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a condition in which the lining of the blood vessel called the aorta is enlarged within the abdomen. The abdominal aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body and the main artery that originates in the heart. As the lining weakens from age and other risk factors, the vessel wall thins and expands. A painless, non-invasive procedure, an abdominal aortic aneurysm screening requires patients to lie on their backs while a technician uses ultrasound to take images and measurements of the abdominal aorta. Abdominal aortic aneurysms pose a threat because they are usually silent until a medical emergency occurs.
» Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is more commonly known as hardening of the arteries. It is a condition in which the large and medium-sized arteries supplying blood to the legs become narrow or clogged, constricting the flow of blood. PAD is caused by atherosclerosis, a gradual process in which cholesterol and scar tissue build up, forming a substance called plaque that clogs the artery. PAD not only causes pain and disability, it also is associated with a much higher risk of heart disease. Screening for PAD is completed using the ankle-brachial index (ABI). Pressure cuffs are placed around a patient’s upper arms and ankles. A small ultrasound device will then measure the systolic blood pressure in the patient’s limbs.
» Carotid arteries are the two large blood vessels in the neck that supply blood to the brain. When these arteries become clogged with cholesterol, they become dangerously narrow. If a blood clot occurs in the carotid arteries, then blood cannot reach the brain and a stroke can result. Simple, painless and non-invasive, a CAD screening uses color flow ultrasound technology to create images of the carotid arteries while also measuring blood flow through them.
An individual looking to determine their current vascular health can have all three tests for $90, a bargain when it comes to peace of mind and the future health of one’s heart.
The screenings can be scheduled by calling the OLBH CareLine at (606) 833-CARE (2273).