He’s a 54 year-old business consultant and marathon runner with 5 children who joined David Drew for a closer look at his health. He felt healthy, followed a prudent diet and ran 6 miles five times a week. Apart from mild high blood pressure that was well controlled with medication, he had no pressing medical issues. He and his former physician felt that he was exceptionally healthy and, because of his high-level of exercise, at low risk for heart disease.
On his initial David Drew health inspection, non-invasive evaluation of Bill’s coronary arteries revealed a very large accumulation of plaque, with a score that placed him in the top 1% of men his age. This greatly increased his risk of a vascular event, such as a heart attack. Biochemical analysis revealed an unusual, inherited risk factor that likely accelerated his plaque build-up.
What would have happened to Bill had his heart problem not been recognized? The gray line in the graph shows the likelihood that he will be alive at various ages. Now alive at 54, his survival declines over time at a faster rate than the average man who has a 50:50 chance of living to 83. Bill’s odds are about half that.
Fortunately for Bill, his heightened risk and underlying condition were recognized. He was placed on an aggressive pharmacologic risk reduction regimen and undergoes frequent surveillance for an impending event. These interventions are expected to double his chances, shown as the blue line, of reaching his life expectancy, adding 9.2 prime years to his life.
Risk factors that have cumulative impact are best found early if damage is to be minimized. Bill’s situation is an excellent example of how early disease recognition and intervention can add years to life. But his situation could be better. Ten years earlier, Bill obtained an executive physical at a nationally recognized institution. Inspection of his heart’s arteries then would have revealed early plaque disease, spurring efforts to minimize plaque accumulation so that his problem would be substantially less advanced today. Those improved prospects, including a further 5.2 year improvement in life expectancy, are shown as the green line on the graph. Early detection and intervention preserve life, and the earlier the better.
Bill continues to pursue aggressive exercise. He is faithful to his LOOKtoLIVE mitigation and inspection program and looks forward to a long and productive career.