While many aspects of heart-healthy living and preventing heart disease are common knowledge -- don't smoke, exercise regularly, and follow a balanced diet -- one risk factor that many people overlook is their coronary calcium score.
Coronary calcium scores measure the amount of calcium buildup in the arteries of your heart. If your coronary calcium score is high, you may be at a higher risk for heart disease than you realize. A high coronary calcium score can also be a blessing – an early warning sign that it’s time to pay attention to your health. And it can also give you an opportunity to live the long and vital life you were meant to live.
At in Phoenix, Arizona, our specialists can provide you with an easy-to-understand report of your coronary calcium score after running a simple CT scan. Then, we'll work with you to develop a personalized plan to help you manage your calcium score, reduce your risk for heart disease, and live a healthier life.
Here's some vital information on what it means to have a high coronary calcium store, why it's important to be tested, and how the HealthspanMD™ team can help you move forward with your results:
What Is Coronary Calcium?
Coronary calcium is a measure of the amount of calcium in your arteries, which can be an indicator of disease in your heart and blood vessels. When plaque builds up in the walls of your arteries, it can calcify, or harden. This calcification is what we measure with the coronary calcium score test.
How Does a Coronary Calcium Test Work?
A coronary calcium test is a low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan of your heart. A CT scan is a type of imaging that uses X-rays to create cross-sectional pictures of the body. A coronary calcium score test looks at the calcium in your arteries and assigns a numerical value, or score, to it. The higher the calcium score, the more plaque is present in your arteries.
It's important to note that although coronary calcium score and stress testing (or angiograms) are evaluating for coronary artery disease, they are different tests looking for different aspects of artery disease. A coronary calcium score is used to identify risk. Stress testing and angiograms evaluate for narrowing of the arteries that block blood flow. Although there is a modest correlation, they are not interchangeable studies.
Why is a High Coronary Calcium Score Serious?
Having a high coronary calcium score can be alarming. We have mountains of research that show if your coronary calcium score is high, you are at higher risk for a number of life-threatening conditions, including:
- High blood pressure
- Coronary heart disease
- Coronary artery disease
- Other forms of cardiovascular disease
- Heart attack
Not only that, but the higher the calcium score, the higher the risk factors become.
And it’s not easy to hear that you are at a higher than average risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. Heart disease is frightening – we all know of people taken too early from heart disease, whether in our family, networks, or celebrities.
But as we've said, a high coronary calcium score can be a blessing in disguise. It's an early red flag that something needs to change. According to Dr. Hurst, 'Science tells us that up to 80% of heart disease is preventable – (and as a preventive cardiologist for over 20 years, I believe that percentage is even higher.' By optimizing just ten essentials – the ten most impactful root causes of heart disease -- you can make a huge difference in lowering your risk of a heart condition.
Lowering Your Coronary Calcium Score
Although your doctor may recommend a stress test or angiogram if you have a high calcium score, the most important step is to lower your risk for future heart attack and death by healing your metabolism. This means optimizing the ten things science tells us can reduce the risk of heart disease by 80% -- and add 12 or more years of healthy life -- which Dr. Hurst and his team call the Healthspan 10.
The Healthspan 10 is:
- Great blood pressure
- Great cholesterol levels
- Great blood sugar levels
- A healthy weight
- Regular physical activity
- Healthy nutrition
- Getting restorative sleep
- Managing stress
- Avoid toxins
- Staying connected
At HealthspanMD™, we focus on those ten essentials to help you protect your heart health and reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Our team of experienced professionals will target each one of those key areas with a personalized plan for healthy living that includes physical activity, nutrition guidance, lifestyle advice, and other modalities to reduce stress and improve your well-being.
Visit a HealthspanMD™ Heart Specialist Near You
We understand the fear and uncertainty that come with a high coronary calcium score, and we're encouraging everyone to take their heart health seriously. Find out how you can manage your coronary calcium score effectively, protect your heart health, and live your best life.
At , we're here to help. You can trust that we'll provide the guidance and support to help you reduce your risk for coronary artery disease and other serious conditions, so you can enjoy many more years of good health.
Want to learn more? Ready to get started with the best cardiologist Phoenix has to offer? (opens in a new tab) with HealthspanMD™ today, where health and care come together.