Did you know that each year, more than one million Americans suffer heart attacks resulting in nearly 500,000 deaths? Put another way, about every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event and every minute, someone will die from one. (Source: Centers for Disease Control.)
Sadly, more than 50% of patients first encounter cardiovascular disease through a sudden heart attack. What's more, as many as 77% of heart attacks occur in patients who have a "normal" LDL ("bad") cholesterol reading of less than 130 mg/dl. How can this be?
In the past, physicians looked only at the coronary system, using a patient's history, physical examination, and cholesterol to predict who will and who won't have a heart attack, stroke or other vascular complication. And unfortunately, the use of such conservative criteria typically leads to failure because the "vulnerable patient" — the patient who is at high risk for developing cardiovascular disease — is missed the majority of the time.
At North Suffolk Cardiology our advanced approach to cardiology is different than what you have likely experienced elsewhere. We go beyond providing care for your heart; we provide care for your entire vascular system.
We now know that atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is a process that occurs in all of the arteries of your body, not in just one vascular bed. Blockages in the heart can often be associated with blockages elsewhere in your body such as:
- Carotid artery disease (narrowing of the arteries leading to the brain; the leading cause of stroke).
- Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) (The blocking or narrowing of the arteries in the legs, which often results in terrible pain and amputation). Having PAD also triples the risk of heart attack and/or stroke and the majority of patients (75%) are unaware that they have PAD because they don't experience pain when the disease is already present.
- Aneurysms of the abdominal aorta (which can rupture and are often lethal)
At North Suffolk Cardiology, we use this knowledge to skillfully diagnose atherosclerosis in its earliest stages using advanced cardiovascular imaging including echocardiography, nuclear cardiology, vascular ultrasound and cardiovascular computed tomography. By cluing into those who are more vulnerable to cardiovascular disease, we can start treatment earlier. And for those patients who have had a cardiac event in one area of blood vessels, we can monitor blood vessels in other parts of their body to ensure that their first event is their last one, and help them return to a high