Cholesterol, Heart Attack, and Stroke

Dr. Scumpia believes that aggressive identification and reduction of risk factors (such as high cholesterol) and achieving your ideal weight will prevent heart attacks and a strokes.  Dr. Scumpia has extensive expertise in evaluating and treating cardiovascular disease. If you are male and over 40 years old, or female and over 50 years old, consider making an appointment with Dr. Scumpia to evaluate your cardiovascular risk.

  • Dr. Scumpia is the first physician in Austin to receive certification in treating cholesterol disease. She routinely performs cholesterol evaluations and management, as well as aggressive cardiovascular risk identification.
  • High cholesterol affects almost half of the population, and is found even in the absence of weight issues as a genetic problem. Every adult over the age of 18 should have their cholesterol checked every 5 years, even if it is within the normal range.
  • If the cholesterol level is abnormal, a formal assessment of the need for oral medications should be done depending on the patient’s age.
  • This assessment includes: evaluation for secondary causes for high cholesterol (such as thyroid, kidney or liver problems), evaluation of the good and bad cholesterol with possible advanced cholesterol testing, and a cardiovascular risk assessment.
  • Cardiovascular risk assessments should be performed in any patient with high cholesterol, especially if there is a positive family history of heart attacks and strokes at a premature age (less than 45 years in males, 55 years in females).
    • This assessment will indicate the presence or absence of cholesterol plaque in the major vessels (carotid, coronaries and aorta). It involves a CIMT (carotid intima media thickness) test and a CT calcium scoring (measuring the plaque around your heart).
    • If plaque is present, it is imperative for you to be assessed for treatment and prevention of further plaque through formal heart stress testing and treatment with statins.


What is CIMT?
CIMT is an ultrasound-based test done in physician offices that measures the thickness of your carotid vessel (the artery that takes blood from the heart to the brain). If it is abnormal, you may be at risk for heart attacks and strokes.
What is a CT calcium scoring?
This is a fast and simple test done with a CT machine that identifies any plaque in your coronary arteries (which lie around your heart). If positive, it indicates that the process of atherosclerosis (cholesterol plaque) has begun, and mandates immediate treatment.
Are statin medications dangerous to my health?
These medications are used in some of the most comprehensive and studies done in medical field to date, which show that the risk of heart attacks and strokes may be significantly reduced in selective populations.

As with any other medication, the risk/benefit ratio should be carefully explained by your doctor. However, in the vast majority of cases, the benefits of statin medications outweigh the risks.