What is your vascular age?

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Do you know your vascular age? It is very easy to determine with a simple test that has the potential to save your life; it could even add years to it. The test is called Vascular Age Testing.

Kay Solar is a well-known doctor in Baton Rouge, but this time, she is the patient. She is in for a follow-up test; the first one showed she was 15 years older than she was supposed to be.

Using vascular ultrasound, doctors can now pinpoint a patient's heart age. That is how old they are based on the thickness of the artery wall in their neck. The older someone's vascular age is, the more likely they are to develop clogged arteries that can lead to heart attacks.

It is a process called vascular age screening. Dr. David Carmouche is a big believer. "There are plenty of clinical studies that correlate the changes in the carotid artery wall with what we see in the heart arteries," said Carmouche.

What made solar's results even more disturbing is the cholesterol numbers from before her first vascular age test were good. Cholesterol is a prime cause of clogged arteries.

Things began to make more sense when he thought about her family history. "My father had a triple bypass when I was 50 and had cardiac problems," said Solar.

Since her first vascular aging test, solar wasn't put on hormone replacement therapy, one of several treatment options she was offered to improve her risk profile. "We actually saw that her arteries look younger than they did before," said Carmouche.

Treatment actually shaved four years off Solar's vascular age, which means her odds of having a heart attack or even a stroke are lower too. "It's nice to see that if you follow the guidelines you have results," said Solar.

"I think anyone middle aged who has any risk factors for heart disease, including a family history of high cholesterol, high blood pressure or obesity; any of those patients would be a candidate for this test," said Carmouche.

Because vascular screening is considered a preventive test, your insurance probably doesn't cover it.

Watch 9News This morning on Friday morning to hear how to use the Heart Risk Quiz.

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