Assessing Your Risk
It’s hard to see heart disease. An adult body contains 100,000 miles of blood vessels. Atherosclerosis doesn’t accumulate in one spot; it spreads throughout the circulatory system. As a result, we generally don’t recognize the manifestations of heart disease until it becomes fairly advanced.
Historically, we have used studies of large numbers of patients to determine risk factors — similar factors that appear commonly among large populations of people who have suffered from a heart attack or stroke. These risk factors have become well known: smoking, obesity, family history, high cholesterol and so on. But this model can only assess risk for up to ten years. It does not take into consideration lifetime risk factors and it underestimates the true risk for women and younger patients. And these risk factors are not always accurate. Many people who seem to be at a low risk die unexpectedly from a cardiac event; the disease is missed because it falls outside these averages.
You are not an actuarial table. Your past and genetic makeup are different from everyone else’s. Understanding how your unique body works is an essential part of preventive care.
At the Texas Center for Preventive Cardiology, we employ a wide range of tools to assess your real risk of heart disease. We may measure your metabolism, lipids and inflammation. We may look at genetics. We perform tests to measure how well the heart works, and we are the first clinic in Austin to provide non-invasive testing of endothelial dysfunction using the FDA-approved EndoPAT.
Each measurement gives us one piece of the puzzle. It’s like the old story of the blind men and the elephant — each test tells us something. We then assemble this information into a full picture of your overall health.
Of course, we don’t stop there. Once we understand the nature of your risk factors and the progression of any disease, we work with you to put together a comprehensive, workable plan that includes nutrition, physical activity, medication, supplementation, and mental health.