Tags: Heart Disease | calcium | score | heart | risk

Your Calcium Score and Heart Risk

By    |   Wednesday, 06 Jul 2016 07:14 PM

Developing heart disease isn’t inevitable. Some tests like the calcium score can predict and help you lower your heart risk.

A calcium score is obtained by performing a computed tomography (CT) imaging study of the heart. This test uses specialized equipment to detect plaque buildup in the arteries, an indicator of coronary artery disease (CAD) and a high indicator of potential heart attacks, says RadiologyInfo.org. The amount of calcium detected is a good prognostic tool for physicians. The findings of this type of CT scan are expressed as a calcium score.

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Dr. Arthur Agatston, a renowned preventive cardiologist and bestselling author, tells Everyday Health that many heart attacks can be predicted and possibly even prevented by using the calcium score.

In fact, he says that currently about 600,000 people in the U.S. die each year from heart attacks because current criteria used to identify high-risk patients are woefully outdated. Relying on cholesterol levels, blood pressure, triglycerides and results from conventional stress tests do not adequately predict heart risk, he adds.

Agatston asserts there are thousands of studies showing the calcium score is the best way to detect “hardening of the arteries” or the calcification and scarring inside the arteries that is characteristic of heart disease and future heart attack risk.

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After you have a calcium score CT study, you will get a calcium score that ranges from zero to more than 400, explains WebMD. Any score greater than 100 indicates you likely have heart disease, and the higher the score, the greater your risk of having a heart attack.

Patients who score over 100 have a higher risk of having a heart attack within the next few years than someone who scores zero.

Dr. Agatston is an advocate for the routine use of the calcium score for screening even asymptomatic patients over a certain age. He says it is ironic that although the calcium score has proven value as a predictor for heart attack, many insurance companies do not cover the test even though it's less expensive than other standard health procedures.

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Developing heart disease isn't inevitable. Some tests like the calcium score can predict and help you lower your heart risk.
calcium, score, heart, risk
Wednesday, 06 Jul 2016 07:14 PM
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