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Cardiac Care

Assessment and Management of Cardiovascular Risk Factors

The following discussion will demonstrate the importance of finding the correct answer to the question posed on our home page -- Are you at risk for Heart Disease? It will also make clear that even a “yes” answer is no reason for pessimism.

In the last several years, science has identified a combination of genetic factors, metabolic conditions, coexisting diseases, and social circumstances which, alone or in combination, place one at risk for cardiovascular diseases and their consequences.

We refer to this constellation of diverse entities as “cardiovascular risk factors.” Some of these may have symptoms but most of them cannot be “felt.”

 

Science has also identified a series of therapeutic interventions and lifestyle changes which can eliminate risk factors altogether, or keep them from causing clinical diseases.

If this knowledge is translated into clinical practice, prevention of many cardiovascular diseases today will not only be possible, but also so effective that it can make a life difference.

This is exactly the scope of the Cardiovascular Risk Management Program at RMMC: evaluating individual patients and profiling their cardiovascular risks; providing reassurance to those at low risk; and providing education and treatments to prevent disease where risks are present.

Following are some distinguishing features of our program:

It starts with an accurate and comprehensive assessment of the individual patient;
It has patient-specific goals, tailored to the combination and degree of the risks present;
Its scientific foundation is continuously updated as result of ongoing review of basic as well as translational and clinical research.

 

Admittedtly, the goals of our program, as evolved during the years, may appear aggressive when compared to those of other programs. But this is an inherent necessity resulting from a continuous refocusing on the latest understanding of the etiology and mechanisms of diseases.

In our experience, the benefits of this “aggressiveness” in goals compare favorably with the aggressiveness of the invasive interventions widely employed to treat the complications of established conditions. Our approach to assessing the individual patient’s risks is first and foremost clinical.

 

We use clinical skills and bedside tools to discover risks or actual disease conditions. At this stage, most patients can be either reassured of a status of low risk, or given a specific diagnosis and choices of treatment.

If there is uncertainty with the diagnosis, invasive diagnostic tests may be advised but only if their results are expected to have material impact on management.

When a diagnosis is reasonably certain on clinical grounds, we may still advise further tests if invasive therapeutic interventions are contemplated.

In our opinion, this approach offers the best care to our patients and is the smart apprach. Patients are generally pleased to find out that diagnoses and decisions can often be made without complicated expensive and invasive testing.

 

We encourage you to make an appointment for a Cardiovascular Risk Assessment consultation. To know where one stands in his risk status is a win-win situation, as our presentation explains. Choosing not to know, on the contrary, may be missing an opportunity for prevention, and a chance to avoid future surprises. In this field, surprises are the last thing one would want.

Read an article by Dr Christie Ballantyne of Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center in Houston: Crestor study seen changing preventive treatment