(WTNH 5/5/09) Are you at risk for a heart attack? Dr. Desmond Ebanks of Alternity Healthcare joined GMC Weekend to demonstrate a new cardiovascular screening device, HeartSmart IMT plus, that helps prevent heart attacks by detecting the earliest signs that heart disease is developing before symptoms occur.

Undetected cardiovascular disease is the greatest health risk facing people today. According to the US Centers for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US and claims more lives than the next five causes of death combined – including cancer. Ten times more women die of heart disease than breast cancer each year. While cholesterol is a factor in heart disease and arterial plaque, current scientific evidence suggests that chronic silent inflammation plays a significant role in the development of cardiovascular disease. Standard cholesterol tests may be inadequate alone to determine an individual’s risk of having a heart attack.

The American Heart Association estimates more than 80 million American adults have some form of cardiovascular disease. Coronary artery disease affects 16 million Americans and leads to 8.1 million heart attacks in the US each year. For many people, the first sign of heart disease is a heart attack; and 25% of those first time heart attacks are fatal. Knowing your cholesterol numbers is a start but nearly 60% of people that have a heart attack have a normal cholesterol profile. Data from the landmark Framingham Heart Study revealed that 80% of those that had a cardiovascular event had a similar cholesterol profile as someone that was event-free. Other conditions and/or lifestyle choices increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, such as: diabetes, hypertension, erectile dysfunction, obesity, inactive lifestyle, and smoking.