How are patients with vascular disease monitored?

David W. Drucker, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
To monitor a patient with vascular disease, doctors check for diabetes and prediabetes, as well as fasting blood sugar and cholesterol levels (patients who have vascular disease need to maintain very low levels of cholesterol). They will also look at other testing in addition to blood pressure, including the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) test, which is a marker of inflammation that has been shown to be related to symptomatic heart and vascular disease.

Lastly, your doctor will check the results of a baseline electrocardiogram (EKG) and a chest x-ray. The EKG can show old, silent heart attacks (10-20 percent of heart attacks are silent, meaning people don't even know they've had them). The chest x-ray can actually show hardening of the arteries, an enlarged heart and enlargement of the blood vessels. Your doctor will put all of this information together as part of an evaluation.

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