The First Screening Package
Community Health Network is sponsoring a series of ultrasound screening tests of the heart and arteries in March of this year. The screenings take place in a special mobile van that is staffed and operated by a national company, HealthFair U.S.A. They are available in Indianapolis and surrounding areas at various dates. To find and schedule a screening near you, go to www.indianahealthfair.com or call 1-855-412-8378.*
The screening consists of six tests:
an echocardiogram (an ultrasound heart scan to look for heart muscle damage, or heart valve damage),
an electrocardiogram (which tests the electrical system of the heart for abnormalities),
“hardening of the arteries test” (arterial stiffness index),
a carotid artery ultrasound scan (to check for cholesterol buildup in the arteries to the brain),
“peripheral arterial disease test” (called the ankle-brachial index which checks for evidence of poor arterial circulation in the legs),
and an abdominal aorta scan (to look for potentially dangerous enlargement of the aorta-the main artery in the abdoman)
The package of all of the above tests costs $179.
I had the screening by this company about five years ago.
The Second Screening Package
They also offer a $99 “5 year disease risk & lipid panel”. I went to the Health Fair website to look at a sample report at http://www.healthfair.com/pdf-press-releases/Know_Your_Number_Report.pdf.
The report states their model’s estimate of your five year risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and heart failure. The report also tells you what percentage of your risk for each disease can be modified (by medicines and/or healthy living habits).
The five year risk calculations are based on proprietary statistical models by a company called BioSignia, Inc at http://www.biosignia.com/index.html.
Who Will Benefit From the Two Screening Packages?
So who (meaning what type of person) can most benefit from the scans and the risk assessment?
As an internal medicine doctor, this is what I recommend:
Well, first of all, any patient who has any symptoms at all (for example, shortness of breath, abnormal chest sensations, irregular heart beats, light-headedness or fainting, fatigue, swelling of the ankles and feet, or any other symptoms) should not get these tests. Rather that person should see a physician to see what tests they need. A person with any kind of symptoms symptoms does not need a screening; that person needs a doctor’s evaluation.
It is persons who feel fine, who don’t have any health problems, as far as they know, who can really benefit from the two screening packages. And when you get them you should make an appointment to review them with your physician.
*I have no professional relationship with or financial interest in either the sponsor or the provider of these screenings. I just believe that they can be very helpful.