The news is full of new advancements in medical technology and this would lead you to assume that the standard of care is advancing rapidly as well. Technology is allowing the medical community to perform what would have been viewed as miracles in decades past. The tools available to save your life and perform operations are what we dreamed of in science fiction.
Logic would tell us that prevention would follow suit. If we have gotten so adept at dealing with major trauma and medical events, the level of care should be increasing to find and address these issues before they become catastrophic. This is simply not the case.
This article is from 1998! It announces that CT scanning can detect arterial disease in apparently healthy people. The article addresses the issue that a physician would not use high cost procedures to screen healthy people who may have risk factors. The CT scan the article talks about is non invasive, requires little time, and costs significantly less that more invasive procedures. At $350 to $500 ($550 to $787 in 2019 following inflation) a test they make the case that the cost of screening is well worth the cost if the person acts on the information and avoids major issues down the road.
It is careless that patients with risk factors for disease are not being screened because they have not begun to show symptoms or appear healthy while the country goes through an epidemic of chronic disease that is costing billions of dollars. With better technology and more information, the cost of screening early would far outweigh the cost of procedures once the disease has become a major issue considering: the cost of a Heart Bypass is $70,000-$200,000, and the cost of a Stent is $11,000-$41,000 with an average cost around $36,000. This doesn’t take into account the impact on the patient going through surgery, the family and friends of the patient, and the increasing costs associated with healthcare and health insurance.
Risk Factors for Arterial Disease
Hirsutism (facial hair growth in women)
Hispanic or African-American descent
Breast cancer treatment
Personal or family history of cardiovascular/arterial disease
Personal or family history of heart attack, stroke, or Type 2 diabetes
Elevated LDL cholesterol
Nicotine use in any form (including second hand smoke)
Psychosocial issues such as depression, anxiety, or stress
High blood pressure
Abdominal obesity (High visceral fat)
Sleep problems (not enough sleep, sleep apnea)
Age (men over 40 and women over 50)
At The Center for Prevention our goal is to identify arterial disease. Risk factors are addressed as root causes based on individual circumstances. Through screening, diagnosis, measuring , and monitoring we are able to provide personalized optimal care to improve quality of life for our patients.
It is time to stop settling for the standard of care and move towards a healthcare model that actually keeps people healthy.