Why dont we have heart attack and stroke prevention screenings?

As i understand it, and im not suggesting my understanding is in any way adequate ;p , heart attacks and strokes are mainly caused by arterial blockages that prevent blood from reaching the heart muscle or areas of the brain. This is usually caused by buildup if plaque in the arterial walls due to high cholesterol, or due to bloodclots, for example, after traumatic injury.

Im not sure about bloodclots, but in terms if clogged arteries, is there no way we can screen for them? It seems we just sit and wait for a heart attack before doctors start looking for clogged arteries to clear them out. And i dont think most people survive their first hesrt attack.

Im picturing something like a dye thats goes in your blood and is monitored by a machine that can use it to detect arteries that are clogged up or wherever blood flow is impeded. I think ive read about radioactive dyes, chemucaks that can do this?

Does anything like that exist? Are there techniques for screening to catch clogged arteries before a heart attack on the horizon? Do they already exist and i just dont know about them?

Another discussion involving False Negatives and False Positives:
“If money was no object, should you run every medical test?”

and a Reddit discussion about this:

They can do CT scans with dye, but they aren’t going to do that on someone who doesn’t have symptoms of something that they are looking for. They aren’t cheap, and people can have reactions to the dye. You wouldn’t be wanting to squirt it into somebody healthy without a good reason.

The bottom line is it’s too expensive and the benefits don’t outweigh the risks. If you subject yourself to a stress test, and you then feel chest pains, your doctor might recommend some additional testing, but that’s because you have a symptom that points to a potential problem. Taking someone who is otherwise healthy and doing an invasive test looking for blockages wouldn’t make sense and it would cost a lot of money, especially if you did it for everybody.

Maintaining a healthy BMI, quit smoking, adequate sleep and moderate exercise, eating the right foods and seeing your doctor periodically is probably the best way to avoid a heart attack or stroke, and if you feel any symptoms, such as severe headaches or chest pains, getting checked out immediately is probably also a good idea…

Well, though I am healthy, my regular annual tests include things that can be considered indirect heart screening tests: blood pressure, cholesterol. blood sugar, etc. Also, and by coincidence, I just finished an online health screening questionnaire that had questions about personal and family health history, stress, weight control, emotional well-being, etc.

All of those affect the heart.

I think family health history is very important. If your father and grandfather had bypass surgery, then a special effort has to be made to monitor and test for that much more often than someone who has no family history of it.

Jasmine’s comment is what I came in to post. There are certainly questions about the causes of high cholesterol and the effect of weight, but that type of monitoring occurs because of the presumed cardiovascular effects.

Stroke screening programs do exist.

A problem would be what to do with non-critical arterial narrowing. Does finding out you have a 50% carotid stenosis give you “peace of mind”? Invasive procedures to eliminate or reduce the blockage carry their own set of risks.

For stroke, you can at least educate people about warning signs so there’s early intervention.

This is a false assumption. Most doctors will advise you if you are obese and have high cholesterol to get off your ass and exercise, lose weight, eat more healthy. That’s how you primarily clear your clogged arteries.

Here in the UK we have the wonderful National Health Service (NHS.)
One thing they do is provide testing for Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA.)

The screening is a way of checking if there’s a bulge or swelling in the aorta, the main blood vessel that runs from your heart down through your tummy.
It can be serious if it’s not spotted early on because it could get bigger and eventually burst (rupture).
In England, screening for AAA is offered to men during the year they turn 65.

My husband just had the Ultrasound Doppler carotid test. Following his yearly physical on the advice of PCP. He’s getting into age range and his Mom had a stroke, and his Dad passed in his sleep, which they kinda count as stroke now it seems.

So yes, they have screening tests and they are used.
(Also from the land of universal healthcare. Because screening likely patients, preventing stroke, saves lives AND healthcare costs.)

Similarly, these tests are covered by Medicare in the United States.

So it’s much cheaper & safer to just do a blood test for cholesterol – that’s a normal part of any checkup for adults. If that shows a high level, your doctor will take steps to reduce your risk: mainly changes in diet & exercise, or prescribing drugs if needed. There are a class of drugs (statins) that work well to control this, with few side effects.