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Does A Normal Stress Test Mean You Are Safe From Heart Attack?

Updated: Mar 12, 2022

Each of us has 60000 miles of circulation with our arteries, veins, and capillaries supplying blood to every organ in our body, and our heart needs to beat 35 million times a year.


In politics, the #debate is often about improving infrastructure, but for each of us, it should start with our own critical circulation infrastructure. How can we know that our #arteries are clean?


Although we can do blood tests that can help us identify some of the risks, many people go on to have a heart event seemingly normal risk. Of those, 40 percent have sudden death and their first symptom was the only and last one. Stress tests can be helpful but they are only sensitive to tighter blockages, and many people don't show #symptoms. A heart attack can occur from even a 40 percent blockage that suddenly ruptures.


Newer technologies, such as measuring the thickness of the #carotid arteries in the neck by ultrasound, have emerged to detect pre-clinical changes in the arteries. Called CIMT (Carotid intima-Medial Thickness Test), it can give us a safe and cost-effective clue that more is happening than we even realize. The scan is non-invasive, takes about 10 minutes, and is performed by a #sonographer. There is no preparation needed for the test and there is no radiation or injections involved in the #scan. Also, there is no need to #disrobe.


The test detects not just calcific (hard) plaques but the more subtle soft #plaques in the carotid arteries (the arteries of the neck). Studies have shown that the presence of carotid plaque correlates very well with #CoronaryPlaque (plaque in the heart arteries). The easy access to the carotid arteries in the neck, therefore, make this test a very useful tool to indirectly assess the heart arteries. The images can help guide options for treatment and can be rechecked for improvement at a later date. This gives us a way to more accurately look at our risk of #heart disease, stroke, and heart events.

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