The Silent Stalker that Could End More than Your Career

Coronary Artery Disease Often Goes Undiagnosed

The lifetime risk of developing coronary heart disease after age 40 is 49 percent for men and 32 percent for women. Almost 800,000 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each year making it the leading cause of death among men and women, and over 50 percent of those who suffered from a sudden cardiac arrest had no prior symptoms. Add the stress and lifestyle factors of being a busy executive and your risks are even higher than the average American’s.*

If you think you’re fine because you’ve had an executive physical, think again. Oftentimes, stress tests miss the problem and patients go undiagnosed. Since a treadmill test will detect only major flow-obstructing lesions, it often provides false reassurance. Furthermore, although studies have demonstrated that LDL levels must be around 70 in order to prevent progression of plaque, treatment isn’t recommended until LDL levels exceed 130. Again, detection is not likely until one has or is on the verge of a sentinel event.

What’s the problem? It's atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, that leads to heart attacks.
Scientists believe that elevated LDLs (bad cholesterol) cause inflammation by damaging the cellular lining of blood vessels. This enables the LDLs to penetrate the artery and stick to its wall. The body perceives the cholesterol as a foreign invader and sends white blood cells to the area. The mix of cholesterol and white blood cells forms a plaque that narrows the blood flow, raising the risk of a heart attack or stroke. These white blood cells also release a bleach-like substance that erodes the arterial walls, causing the plaque in the arteries to become unstable and possibly rupture. When a rupture occurs, the body forms a clot to patch the area. However, a clot can impede blood flow, causing a heart attack or stroke. Because atherosclerosis usually doesn’t cause signs or symptoms, you may not know you have it until it’s reached a critical point giving rise to its nickname “the silent stalker.”

One patient of an MDVIP-affiliated physician shared, “after a routine physical, our MDVIP-affiliated doctor did not like the results of my husband’s EKG test and got him an appointment with a cardiologist the next day. My husband didn't have any symptoms of heart disease like shortness of breath or chest pain. His heart went into atrial fibrillation after the stress test and the catheterization showed three main arteries 90 - 95 percent blocked. He had surgery the next morning by a surgeon the cardiologist requested and had a successful double bypass (with a stent a month later). The cardiologist later told me that my husband’s illness was called a widow maker because he would not have survived a heart attack.”

Are you taking advantage of the latest in technology and research to make sure that you don’t become a statistic? There are a number of things that you can do to prevent a cardiac event and there are tools that you want to make sure your physician is utilizing to detect potential problems as early as possible. 

To help make sure MDVIP-affiliated members had access to the latest technology, MDVIP’s annual wellness program includes a panel of advanced, cutting-edge tests with the intent of diagnosing cardiovascular diseases as early as possible to prevent heart attacks long before chest pains even begin. 

*source: American Heart Association

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