What is a Coronary Calcium Score and Who Needs This Test?
- Posted on: Dec 30 2018
The need to protect the heart is well-known. As we have discovered the various aspects involved in long-term heart health – and the lack thereof – more people are creating lifestyle habits that reduce their risk of heart disease and cardiac events. More people are reaching for whole foods and products that are lower in salt. We generally exercise more, and more of us talk with our doctor about cholesterol and blood pressure. In addition to the basics, there are instances in which it is beneficial to discuss the inherent risks for cardiovascular disease and how to properly asses them.
Calcium and the Heart
A coronary calcium scan is a diagnostic test that a cardiologist may order for certain patients. Usually, we perceive calcium as a good thing for the body. Milk does a body good. The teeth and bones rely on calcium for strength, so we do need this mineral. However, it is also possible for calcium to get deposited into the arteries along with cholesterol, fat, and other debris. Arterial plaque begins as a waxy substance that hardens over time. Hardened, or calcified plaque inhibits circulation through the arteries and increases the risk of blood clots.
What is a Coronary Calcium Score?
A coronary calcium score is a type of CT scan that obtains images of the heart. This scan, which also incorporates x-ray imaging, can observe calcium deposits in arteries (they show up as white specks). The coronary calcium score is obtained by observing the number of white specks, or deposits, in the arteries. The score provides an estimate of a patient’s risk for heart attack within the next few years.
Who Needs to Know Their Coronary Calcium Score?
Not every patient who sees a cardiologist will need a cardiac calcium score. Doctors typically use other methods of screening to determine cardiac risks. However, patients who fall into the moderate or high-risk categories may benefit from knowing the level of calcium building up the arteries of their heart. Knowing your coronary calcium score enables you to implement steps to minimize future accumulation. Some patients may do this by losing weight or avoiding tobacco, while others may need medication or other therapies to protect against heart attack.
The team at Premier Cardiology Consultants can help you determine your risk for heart attack and other cardiovascular events. To learn more about cardiac screenings and treatments, contact us at 516-437-5600.
Posted in: Cardiac Testing