Modifiable and Non-modifiable Risk Factors for Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease

Patient

Q: I received in the mail a leaflet from lifelinescreening.co.uk. they say that they will be coming to my area to hold screening sessions for €169 to screen for the early signs of stroke, Artial fibrillation, AAA and PAD. My question is, Is this worth getting done and is it genuine? Will they just ask questions about my family history and give me the usual diet and lifestyle advice for my money?

Doctor

A:   Major modifiable risk factors for prevention of stroke and cerebrovascular atherosclerotic disease include: high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and high cholesterol.
Some risk factors are not modifiable and include: age, sex and family history.
Screening for atrial fibrillation can be carried out with a simple ECG or 24 hour Holter (heart) monitor. Abdominal aortic aneurysm can be screened for by an abdominal ultrasound examination, by measuring diameter of the abdominal aorta. Peripheral arterial disease can be screened for by history of typical symptoms and clinical examination of peripheral pulses.  The majority of these conditions can be screened for by simply attending your family doctor, by a thorough history, clinical examination, blood pressure check and routine blood tests such as fasting lipids and glucose.
I would advise reading the fine print to discover what exact investigations are performed before paying a large sum of money, with little reward.

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