Who's at risk for cardiovascular disease?

The truth is that traditional assessment methods do not accurately predict an individual’s true risk of heart attack or stroke. Consider the following:

  • 80% of heart attacks occur in people thought to be at low to intermediate risk by traditional risk factor assessment.
  • Half the time, the first sign of cardiovascular disease is heart attack, stroke, or Sudden Cardiac Death.
  • 1.4 million people in the U.S. have a heart attack each year. More than 500,000 of those heart attacks are fatal.
  • Each year more than 700,000 people have a stroke.

The implications of inadequate cardiovascular risk assessment are staggering. Truly high risk people are overlooked, don’t receive adequate care, and potentially die. Others are inaccurately considered high risk and are unnecessarily treated, perhaps for the rest of their lives.

We often assume that if a person exercises and looks healthy, he is at low risk for cardiovascular disease. That’s not always the case. Based on what you currently know, which of these men do you think is more likely to have a heart attack: the overweight chain smoker or the marathon runner? 

Marathon runner Jim Fixx

Died suddenly of heart disease at 52

Chain smoker Winston Churchill

Died of a heart attack but he lived to age 89

Traditional Risk Factors:

  • Age 40+ Family history of cardiovascular disease
  • Tobacco use Diabetes / prediabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal cholesterol

While traditional methods are helpful in identifying high and low risk individuals, they are not accurate enough. 80% of individuals are considered intermediate risk by traditional risk factor assessment.

So what are we missing?

Atherosclerosis is the undeniable leading cause of heart attack and stroke. Commonly called hardening of the arteries, atherosclerosis is a gradual build up of fatty cholesterol deposits in the artery wall, which can rupture and cause a blood clot that produces a heart attack or stroke.

Coastal CIMT
1821 Old Donation Parkway
​ Suite #2
​Virginia Beach, Virginia 23454

Phone (757) 390-4224

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The fact is that we all have atherosclerosis; it is a natural part of the aging process. Genetics and environmental factors such as diet, smoking, and lack of exercise combine over time to cause arterial inflammation and plaque formation. The problem is that the signs and symptoms of atherosclerosis develop gradually and often go undetected by traditional assessment methods.

Cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer in our population, and estimates indicate that with the increasing incidence of obesity and diabetes, cardiovascular disease will increase over the next 20 years. CIMT testing is a relatively new and sophisticated arterial scanning technology that identifies atherosclerosis YEARS before traditional assessment methods.

CIMT testing identifies risk early, when treatment is most effective.

Learn more about CIMT testing.