Early Detection Saves Lives

April 01, 2012

Diabetes, heart attack and stroke are serious health issues that affect millions of Americans—and counting. But many people aren’t diagnosed until they develop symptoms as serious as a heart attack.

The Cardiometabolic Center at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance now offers specialized testing that can identify at-risk patients earlier than usual in the disease process. Providence Little Company of Mary Torrance is one of the first community hospitals in the country to offer these coordinated metabolic and vascular exams, which go beyond conventional lab tests and assessments and include a modified glucose test, a computer-enhanced carotid artery exam using ultrasound, and specialized cardiovascular lab tests.

“These evaluations allow us to more accurately pinpoint where a person is along the spectrum toward disease,” says John Armato, M.D., an internist and co-director of the center with endocrinologist Ron Ruby, M.D. “Recent studies have shown that if you identify these patients earlier on, you can develop treatment strategies that prevent progression toward heart attack, stroke and diabetes.”

Patients are referred to the center by their primary care physicians, who receive all the test results. “As part of the testing and evaluation, we provide information to practitioners that they can use in concert with their patients to develop preventive strategies,” Dr. Armato says. After an appropriate interval, follow-up studies can validate the effectiveness of the treatment plan.