How To Find Out If Your Arteries Are Clogged

While most people worry about coming down with some form of cancer in their lifetime, very few realize that cardiovascular disease, particularly heart disease, kills more people every year in the United States than all of the forms of cancer combined. Clogged arteries (known in medical terms as arterial plaque) can cause several problems throughout the body including strokes and heart attacks and may even be deadly. Because of this, it is important to know the cardiology procedures used to determine whether or not you have arterial plaque so that you can avoid such dangerous complications. 

Diagnostic Cardiac Catheterization

One of the most common ways for doctors to determine whether you have arterial plaque or other cardiovascular health problems is to perform what is known as a diagnostic cardiac catheterization (specifically an angiogram). This procedure uses a thin, hollow tube that is threaded through the blood vessels. 

The tube, known as a catheter, allows the doctor to get a look at the health and functionality of the blood vessels and arteries to look for arterial plaque as well as check the proper functioning of the heart. Most often dye is used during the angiogram procedure to allow doctors to get a good look at the inner workings of the cardiovascular system during the catheterization process. 

Echocardiogram (ECG)

An echocardiogram is a cardiovascular diagnostic procedure that is a specific form of ultrasound. This procedure helps to test for arterial plaque by examining the function of your heart. 

Echocardiograms send sound waves through the body. Readings are taken based on the echoes the flow of blood through the heart and blood vessels send back to the machine. The sounds and echoes are converted into a moving image to show how the heart is functioning. 

Electrocardiogram (EKG)

An electrocardiogram is a diagnostic test that many people will recognize as the test taken to see if a person is having a heart attack. This procedure reads the electric activity of your heart and shows the results as a series of dips and spikes along a line. 

The electrical signals that are sent throughout the cardiovascular system stimulate the heart muscles to contract and release and pumps blood throughout the body. So, weak or abnormal signals can be a sign of arterial blockages and related issues as blood flow and heart functionality would be reduced.

Now that you know some of the diagnostic tests used to determine if your arteries are clogged, you can be sure that you get the proper diagnostic tests to ensure your heart and cardiovascular health. 

For more information, contact Henrico Cardiology Associates or a similar organization.