Know Your Coronary Artery Calcium Score

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States. It affects all ages, races and genders. In fact, in 33 seconds he has 1 death from coronary artery disease. Now that you know these statistics, would you like to know your risk of having a heart attack?

From blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes monitoring to mammography, PSA screening, Pap testing, HIV testing and skin cancer testing, the list of recommended medical tests grows longer with age. And now I have to add one more to the list.

“The coronary artery calcium score is actually a scan of a cat. It takes two minutes to acquire the image, but it contains very little radiation. It’s about seeing if you have calcium, and if you find calcium, it’s the same as having coronary artery disease,” says Pamela Lama, M.D., a preventive cardiologist at Baptist Health in Jacksonville, Florida. explained.

A scale from 0 to 400 is then created using a cat scan. A score of 0 means that no plaque is present. The higher the score, the more plaques are present. But Lama says even a low score doesn’t mean you’ve passed.

“Even if the score is 1, it means you have coronary artery disease. It’s a factor,” Dr. Rama said.

Not only can this help determine your risk, Dr. Lama also uses it to determine if a patient needs a cholesterol drug such as a statin.

“If I have patients with high cholesterol and a zero coronary artery calcium score, I actually stop the statin therapy and they like it,” Dr. Lama said.

The only people who do not need testing are those who have already been diagnosed with coronary artery disease.

Dr Lama says this is not a test that needs to be repeated every year. But if the score is zero, she suggests repeating in five years. She recommends it for anyone over the age of 45 or younger if there is heart disease in her family. Usually covered by insurance, otherwise the test costs about $100.

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