Wednesday, February 17, 2021

It's Heart Health Month! Are You At Risk For Cardiovascular Disease?

February is Heart Health Month, a time to raise awareness and motivate more Americans to take better care of themselves by practicing a heart-healthy lifestyle. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. CVD involves diseases of the heart or blood vessels and can lead to stroke or heart failure if not treated in time. The good news is that an estimated 90% of Cardiovascular disease may be preventable* with early detection and lifestyle changes. Risk factors for CVD include: 

Age 50 and above 


Family history of stroke or heart disease


High blood pressure


High cholesterol 

If any of these risk factors apply to you, I urge you to consider annual ultrasounds through Life Line Screening. Even if you are asymptomatic, early detection is crucial before cardiovascular issues can become a bigger problem. The process is amazingly convenient and efficient, with no prescription or health insurance necessary. Appointments can easily be made over the phone or online (without a referral from a physician), and testing facilities are available all over the U.S., which makes it super convenient. The process is entirely painless and non-invasive with the use of an ultrasound wand. Unlike an x-ray, the ultrasound has zero radiation exposure. These same tests can be very costly if performed in a hospital since many are not covered by insurance if they are asymptomatic or do not fall into the high-risk category for cardiovascular disease.


I've been getting the screenings annually for 13 years (you can read my story HERE) since my family has a history of stroke, blood clots, and aortic issues. My mother and I always scheduled our tests together, but she chose not to have the screening done the year before she passed away. 

I'll never forget the night she called and asked for help because of a searing pain she was experiencing. My mother was rushed to the hospital, where it was determined that she'd experienced an aortic aneurysm rupture. I knew the odds were not on her side; the mortality rate for a ruptured aorta is exceptionally high, and given that her own father had died from the same type of aortic issue, I was frightened for her. 

My mother passed away one month later despite surgery to repair the damaged aorta. I couldn't help but wonder if her circumstances would have been different if she'd accompanied me during my last 

Life Line Screening. Aside from living a healthy lifestyle, prevention of an aortic rupture begins with ultrasound surveillance. To this day, it still haunts me that my mother skipped her last opportunity to be screened, but it has also made me even more determined to continue my annual appointments and to encourage my friends and family to do the same. 

                        Image: Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening

Life Line Screening offers a great, inexpensive ultrasound package that screens the vascular system for plaque build-up in the arteries. The test involves 5 screenings for only $149 that include:  


   *An ultrasound of the carotid arteries to identify plaque blockages (these are fatty blockages that build up in the arteries and prevent proper blood flow to the brain). 


  *An ultrasound of the abdominal aorta (the largest artery in the body) to look for an aneurysm, an abnormal enlargement of the aorta which, if it ruptures, is nearly always fatal but which can be easily and safely treated if identified before that. 


 *Peripheral Arterial Disease screening to check the circulatory condition. If blood vessels are narrow from plaque build-up, the blood flow to the limbs is reduced considerably, affecting the arteries in the legs. 


 *Check for Atrial Fibrillation to search for irregular heart rhythms. If the heart isn't beating properly, blood pools in the small chambers of the heart and causes clotting. These clots are then pumped out of the heart and can travel into the brain, putting the patient at high risk for a stroke. Atrial fibrillation can also contribute to heart failure, and other heart complications. 

*The Osteoporosis Test is used to detect bone density. As we age, our bones become more porous and lose mass, making them susceptible to fractures. 

                                  Image: Carotid Artery Screening

My testimonial on the importance of these ultrasound tests is just one of many from others who have benefited from the opportunity that Life Line Screening offers: 

"This testing literally saved my life. It detected a AAA aneurysm which I was able to inform my cardiologist. A few months ago it was decided it was too dangerous not to repair. If I had not known I probably would have died. Thank you Life Line Screening. " - Janis, New York

 "I HIGHLY recommend people do this! I had NO symptoms, but my screening showed 90% blockage in one artery...that screening saved me from an imminent stroke - and quite possibly saved my life." - Hilda, Texas

 "I am a vascular surgeon and I have always found people who went to Life Line to have received accurate results." Cynthia, Illinois

 "This testing literally saved my life. It detected a AAA aneurysm which I was able to inform my cardiologist. A few months ago it was decided it was too dangerous not to repair. If I had not known I probably would have died. Thank you Life Line Screening. " - Janis, New York


It's Heart Health Month, so what better time to be proactive about maintaining a healthy vascular system? Please consider scheduling an appointment----you deserve the peace of mind that Life Line Screening offers! 


*Source: McGill HC, McMahan CA, Gidding SS (March 2008). "Preventing heart disease in the 21st century: implications of the Pathobiological Determinants of Atherosclerosis in Youth (PDAY) study"


  1. Great advice you are proffering MenoMom!

  2. My grandmother died of a AAA, so I have family history as a risk factor. My doctor set up an Ultrasound appointment for a preventative screening this spring. I agree, it's such an easy thing to do, as a measure to maintain good health.

    1. I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother but glad to know you will be getting the screening!

  3. How sad for you and your mom and the if-onlys. Thank you so much for this comprehensive list. I'm going over now to have a look at how to get this testing done here in Canada!

    1. Right now it is only in the U.S. but I agree, you guys should have something like this in Canada!



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