▲ Physicians remind that to prevent cardiovascular disease, attention should be paid to whether blood pressure, cholesterol, and carotid artery thickness are abnormal; the picture is a situational photo, and the characters in the picture have nothing to do with this article.

(Photo credit: shutterstock)

Text / Guo Zhidong

The 65-year-old Mr. Wang usually does not have the habit of health checks. Last month was Father's Day. In order to show their filial piety, the children arranged for Father Wang to go to the health check-up center for a full-body health check.

Upon receipt of the report, the doctor told Mr. Wang that in addition to high blood pressure and high cholesterol, he also had increased carotid artery intima-media thickness, suggesting that chronic diseases had affected Wang's father's blood vessels to a certain extent.

Screening for abnormal carotid artery thickness

There are two carotid arteries in our neck responsible for the supply of oxygenated blood to the head and brain. Like all arteries, the carotid arteries are composed of three layers: the adventitia, the media, and the intima, and the carotid intima-media thickness ( CIMT) measurements can help physicians understand arterial health and can diagnose carotid artery disease before any symptoms appear.

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Usually the first symptom of carotid artery disease is a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke, but sometimes there may be no symptoms at all.

Therefore, sometimes cardiologists may also order carotid ultrasound (basic equipment in many advanced health checks) to measure carotid intima-media thickness, especially in men, the elderly, or those with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. patients with carotid intima-media are at increased risk for carotid intima-media thickening, while other risk factors include diabetes, obesity, smoking, physical inactivity, and a family history of carotid artery disease.

▲Carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) can be measured by carotid ultrasonography; the picture is a schematic diagram.

(Photo provided / Guo Zhidong)

Early diagnosis and screening can provide a more complete picture of vascular health and enable early action to control or prevent possible future heart attacks and strokes.

In Taiwan, where medical care is relatively developed, carotid artery intima-media thickness can easily be measured by carotid ultrasound. Moreover, because ultrasound is non-invasive and does not require the use of contrast agents, there is no need to do anything special before the examination. Prepare.

During the scanning process, the position of lying on the side is usually used. During the ultrasound examination, there should be no discomfort. The subject only needs to move the head and turn in different directions to clearly see the sides of the neck. Carotid Artery Condition.

Thickness of more than 1 mm increases the risk of cardiovascular disease

Carotid intima-media thickness can vary by age, sex, and ethnicity, and the arterial wall is usually thicker in older people and men.

Normal carotid intima-media thickness is usually between 0.6-0.7 mm in middle-aged and healthy adults.

When the thickness exceeds 1.0 mm, it may mean that the risk of cardiovascular disease in the subject is increased.

Therefore, for the elderly or patients with 3-high disease, the measurement of carotid intima-media thickness can be used as an important reference for the incidence of cardiovascular events in the future.

(The author is the attending physician of the Cardiovascular Center of Cathay General Hospital)

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keywords

  • heart disease

  • stroke

  • chronic

  • hypertension

  • health check

  • health care

  • high cholesterol

  • Carotid Ultrasound

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