What Does Your Heart Score Say About Your Health
Your heart score, also known as your coronary calcium score, can give great insight into your heart health and your chance of forming Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). Knowing your heart score can give you great insight into your personal health. Your score could also give you valuable tips on what your next steps should be in order to prevent diseases, cancers, or blood clots.
What is Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary Artery Disease is a form of cardiovascular disease which is the leading cause of death in America. CAD occurs by the narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries. This is usually caused by the hardening or clogging of the arteries (called atherosclerosis) which causes the buildup of cholesterol and fatty deposits (plaques) on the inner walls of the arteries. This blockage can cause coronary artery disease which can lead to heart failure or a heart attack.
Since coronary artery disease often forms over decades, you might not notice a problem until you have a significant blockage or a heart attack. This is why we recommend a CT scan performed every 1-2 years to monitor the progress and compare it to previous years.
Now that you know the influences of CAD, it is crucial to understand your Heart Score and how it relates to CAD.
What Is A Heart Score Test
A coronary calcium scan is performed on a CT to measure the amount of calcified plaque in your coronary arteries. This amount is your heart score which can help your doctor calculate your risk of developing coronary artery disease. CAD could lead to a heart attack, myocardial infarction, or a stroke.
What Does Your Heart Score Mean
A heart score can range from 0 to several thousand. However, since the CT scan can only detect “hard” plaque, non-calcified (soft) plaque could still be present and cause symptoms.
A score of 0 means you have no detectable calcium by the CT scanner.
A score of 400 or more means you have a build-up of plaque and puts you at high risk of a heart attack within 10 years.
A score of 1,000 plus means you have up to a 25% chance of having a heart attack within one year without appropriate medical treatment. This score identifies patients that need to begin to take preventive measures immediately.
What Does A Calcium Score Test Show That Other Tests Do Not
The calcium score test shows the amount of coronary artery calcium that resides in the coronary artery plaque. This cannot be directly imaged non-invasively. Additionally, the blood vessels of the heart are five times more likely than those of other organs to make plaque.
If you want to get a good idea of whether or not you are a “plaque builder,” then a CT scan of the heart might predict this and other types of non-coronary diseases too.
What Is The Importance Of The Calcium Score
The greater the coronary calcium score, the larger the amount of plaque in the artery wall, and the greater the risk of a heart attack. The calcium score is a good predictor of a heart attack.
Can Your Calcium Score Be Lowered
A high heart score (calcium score) strongly suggests you have coronary artery disease. Calcium is involved in the buildup of fatty plaque inside arteries, which develops in response to damage caused by high LDL (bad) cholesterol and other factors in the blood.
Focus on lowering your risk factors for coronary artery diseases such as high blood pressure and especially lowering your LDL cholesterol level. Your exact target for your LDL depends in part on any other risk factors you have such as:
- Chest Pain (angina)
- Shortness of breath (with or without chest pain)
- Heart Attack
- Back Pain
- Jaw Pain
How Is Coronary Artery Disease Treated
CAD can be treated by a few methods depending on the patient.
Lifestyle changes: If you smoke, quit. Avoid processed foods and adopt a low-trans-fat, low-salt, and low-sugar diet. Keep your blood sugar in control if you have diabetes. Participate in physical activity and exercise regularly. Make sure to clear your new work out regiment with your doctor, if needed.
Medication: If lifestyle changes aren’t enough, medications may be needed. The medication will depend on your situation. It is best to discuss your options with your doctor.
Surgery and Procedures: Common ones to treat coronary artery disease include:
- Balloon Angioplasty
- Stent Placement
- Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
All of these boost blood supply to your heart and can strengthen your heart muscle, but they do not cure coronary heart disease. Preventing heart disease is key.
Most doctors agree that a lifestyle change is vital to keep it from progressing.
Call Advanced Body Scan today to schedule your Heart Scan and find your heart score to help determine your risk of CAD and a heart attack. Your report will include your Heart Score, a pre-scan consultation, and post-scan doctor consultation (if needed)!