A Cardiac CT scan can reveal potentially deadly heart issues
When it comes to maintaining heart health, early detection and prevention are key. One of the best tools available is the Cardiac CT Calcium Score.
CT stands for “computed tomography,” and the test is a specialized X-ray that allows your doctor to assess the level of calcium in your heart vessels. This is important because calcified (hard) plaque in the arteries can cause heart attacks, and your calcium score is an excellent risk marker.
You should consider this test if you:
- Are a middle-aged adult with intermediate or high risk for heart disease
- Have a family history of heart disease
- Have borderline high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes
- Are overweight or physically inactive
- Are a heavy user of tobacco products or alcohol
Understanding the test
The test is quick, painless and noninvasive, and it can provide lifesaving information to you and your physician about your heart health. After a radiologist reads the image, they will give your doctor your calcium score. The higher the score, the greater the risk of heart attack, heart disease or stroke.
If you receive a high score but do not already have heart disease, your doctor can take a preventative approach. Physicians often suggest lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, to lower blood pressure and control factors like obesity. Depending on your score, your doctor may also want to continue monitoring your heart for changes or abnormalities. This allows them to get ahead of the disease, even if something serious develops.
For people who have risk factors for heart disease but receive a low test score, this indicates good heart health and can give them peace of mind. It can also help guide decisions around what preventive measures are necessary and may allow your physician to take a less aggressive approach to your heart health.
If you have intermediate or high risk of heart disease, the Cardiac CT Calcium Test could be the next step in your care. Talk to your doctor about it, and if you don’t have a doctor, it’s time to find one.
Fast facts about heart disease
- Heart disease is responsible for one in four deaths in the United States, making it the leading cause of death.
- Approximately 6.2 million Americans suffer from heart failure.
- Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease. It affects about 18.2 million adults in the U.S.