In February, hearts are everywhere, and healthcare experts work to raise public awareness of all things cardiac. Or, to put it another way, February is American Heart Health Month, which makes it a great time for you to assess your habits and decide what you can do to live a healthier life this year. A specific type of X-ray called a coronary calcium score test may be used as part of your treatment plan.
Why could your doctor request a coronary calcium scan and what does it entail? If you continue reading, you can find the answer to this in this post.
A Synopsis Of Heart Disease
Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of mortality in the US? According to the American Heart Association, one in every four fatalities is thought to be caused by heart disease, which is usually preventable. During February, communities and medical professionals work together to educate the public on the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, the warning signs you should look out for, and what you can do to maintain heart health.
Chest pain, shortness of breath, extreme numbness or coldness, usually in the hands or feet, and pain in the limbs, back, neck, or jaw are all indications that you may have heart disease. Some patients show no signs of cardiac disease before having a heart attack. Because of this, your cardiologist Denver could decide to order exams like the coronary calcium scan, which assesses the health of your arteries and heart.
What Is A Coronary Calcium Scan?
As the name suggests, this test looks for calcium buildup in the coronary arteries, also known as the heart’s blood vessels in medicine. This test is sometimes referred to as cardiac calcium scoring since a radiologist uses it to calculate your risk of having a heart attack.
Healthy coronary arteries don’t contain calcium. Using computed tomography (CT), a cardiac calcium scoring test can obtain images of the heart in thin slices and determine whether calcium is present. If your calcium score is high, you are more likely to experience a heart attack. However, a modest score shows that you can still change your lifestyle and lower that risk.
Why Is A Coronary Calcium Scan Necessary?
Determining your risk of having a heart attack is the main goal, even if you are symptom-free. If other risk factors exist to help you make decisions aimed at enhancing your heart health, your doctor could recommend the test.
- You are a guy, and men are more prone to get heart disease than women.
- Your family has a history of heart problems.
- Smoking; poor eating habits; and high triglycerides
- Blood pressure issues, obesity, a lack of exercise, a demanding job or lifestyle, and poor cleanliness
Your chance of having heart disease may be influenced by your age. As you get older, your odds of having some artery plaque rise.
What To Expect During A Coronary Calcium Scan?
Before the test, the radiology professional could ask you to remove your shirt and any jewelry. The tech will attach electrodes to your chest and hook you up to an EKG machine to record your heart’s electrical activity. When you’re ready, you’ll lie down on a table and be photographed by the CT scanner. The complete research lasts about 5 minutes and is painless and non-invasive. You only receive a very small dose of radiation from a CT because it is an X-ray, which is not enough to be harmful.
A radiologist will evaluate the test results and assign a grade to the coronary artery calcium content. Your doctor receives the following information from the tests regarding your heart health:
- A score between 0 and 1 represents heart health.
- If your score is greater than 100, you may be suffering from a cardiac condition.
- If your score falls between 100 and 400, you are categorized as being at medium risk and have a 10% to 20% probability of having a heart attack in the ensuing ten years.
- Your doctor will be informed that you need emergency care if your score is 400 or above to prevent a heart attack or stroke.
Despite its limitations, cardiac calcium scoring is a trustworthy measure of your heart health.