You already know your height and weight. Another number is even more crucial for assessing your chances of having a heart attack or stroke.
The coronary-artery calcium (CAC score) is a measure of the amount of calcium plaque in those arteries. This important measurement is important since coronary plaque is the main cause of (or precursor to) atherosclerotic cardiac diseases (ASCVD), such as strokes or heart attacks.
This information will help you decide if you should take the test.
Does Calcium Not Make You A Better Person?
Good question! Yes, calcium is good for bones and teeth. Calcium in your arteries?
The amount in CAC indicates the presence of plaque in the arteries. However, this waxy substance won’t be visible on a CT scanner. Plaque, which is a combination of calcium and fat, will eventually leave traces or deposits in the artery. CT scans can show the innermost layers of the artery as they become calcified.
Plaque buildup may clog your vessels, which can reduce blood flow and keep certain parts of the heart from receiving enough oxygen. Plaque deposits can also trigger a blood clot, which can lead to cardiac arrest. Your calcium heart score can help predict the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
Is It Necessary To Have A Calcium Score Tested?
The test is only recommended for those in the intermediate-risk range. It will help to guide treatment decisions and assist with medication decisions. Intermediate risk is when there are at least two traditional cardiovascular risk factors.
To Whom Is This Test Not Recommended?
CT scanning can be costly and may expose the patient to radiation. The test should not be used for anyone who isn’t able to use the results for their health decisions.
- People below 40 are not likely to have a calcium buildup in the heart.
- People who have been through a serious cardiovascular event such as a stroke, heart attack, or stroke are now at higher risk. This means that extensive management strategies are necessary.
- For pregnant women or for anyone who has to be careful with radiation.
- Individuals who have taken a CAC test in the past, but the test could be repeated at three or five years if it was negative and the management is not certain.
If you don’t fit the criteria but think the results might be useful, you can have a discussion with your provider.
Where Can You Find A Test Determine My Calcium Score?
This can be ordered by either your primary care provider or a preventive cardiologist. This conversation can be had at your annual physical or your regular check-up. At this time, you will already have a discussion about your health stats, risk factors, and what preventive medications your doctor would like you to take.
After The Test What Happens?
The images are combined with the help of a computer program. Calcium embedded in the walls or arteries can be a sign of calcification. The computer program will analyze it and calculate a score. This score estimates the amount of plaque in the arteries and the extent of coronary heart disease.