Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Paying the price for preventive care
Last week I had my heart checked out and this morning I talked about the exam on CNN.
Truth is, I feel pretty good, I try and stay healthy and I eat well. I don't take any medications, but I do worry about heart disease because of family history.
If you talk to a dozen different cardiologists, you will probably get a dozen different responses about what a healthy person should do about preventing heart disease. My cardiologist wanted to examine my heart through a series of blood tests and a very sophisticated test called a CT angiogram or CTA.
My blood is being tested for the usual suspects, cholesterol and fats, but also things like genetic profile and inflammatory markers. I will get those results in a couple of weeks. The CT angiogram, which was completely non-invasive except for an IV, took incredibly high quality pictures of my heart, as you can see. The test will detect any calcifications as well as narrowing in the blood vessels and abnormalities in the blood vessel wall.
My test was completely normal. Reassuring.
It is one of the best tests for identifying heart disease, but it's not cheap - a little more than $1,000. Unless you are having some problem like chest pain, insurance probably won't cover it.
Many doctors feel that sort of thinking by the insurance companies is preventing us from becoming a culture of prevention. What do you think? Is an ounce of prevention really worth a pound of cure?
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