and Individual Risk
Risk factors such as age, blood pressure, cholesterol level and blood sugar do not reflect the actual condition of the arteries or heart; thus, these risk factors are not sensitive predictors of disease. Newer methods are now available to identify abnormalities in the pre-clinical stage, long before they become symptomatic.
What is Cardiovascular Disease?
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) refers to abnormalities of the blood vessels (arteries) or heart that result in heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, kidney failure and sudden death. High blood pressure (hypertension) may contribute to blood vessels and heart abnormalities. Most heart disease is caused by blood vessel abnormalities. Thanks to advances in medicine, artery and heart abnormalities today can be identified long before the arteries become clogged and symptoms develop.
Identifying Individual Risk
An estimated one in four persons who die from cardiovascular-related diseases experience no advance symptoms. Such diseases are a direct consequence of blood vessel and heart abnormalities that can be detected by special tests, but which do not necessarily result in symptoms. Early detection of coronary artery disease can lead to preventive measures, motivating individuals at risk to adopt healthier lifestyles or medication when indicated decreasing their risk of developing severe coronary disease.