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Taking the right steps can help reduce your risk of getting heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. Knowing your risk is step one, and understanding how to lower it is step two. A CT calcium score is a way to see if you have plaque in your arteries that could lead to a heart attack.
Whether or not you are at risk and what action you need to take next will depend on the results of this test. In this article, we will talk about what a CT calcium score means and what it can tell you about your future risks of a heart attack.
What is a CT Calcium Score?
It is a way to estimate how much coronary plaque you have inside your arteries. Cholesterol-rich plaque builds up in your arteries leading to blockages and heart attacks. The test is a way to get a picture of how much plaque is in your arteries. It shows how many “buildups” of calcium you have in your arteries.
The calcium gathers within cholesterol-rich plaques over time. High amounts of these calcified areas are a marker of risk for heart disease. CT scans use special X-rays to make images of your organs and tissues. CT calcium scoring is done to see how much coronary plaque you have. No dye is needed, it is a really quick and simple assessment, taking less than 30 minutes.
What Does a CT Calcium Score Measure?
This test measures the amount of calcium in your arteries. Cholesterol plaque over time collects a build-up of calcium. Therefore the more calcium you have, the more plaque buildup you have in your arteries. This is very important because plaque buildup can lead to a heart attack. The higher the amount of calcium, the higher your burden of CAD and the higher your risk.
Are You at Risk for Heart Disease Based on Your CT Calcium Score?
The result can help you decide if you are at risk for heart disease. A high score means you have more calcified areas in your arteries. This means you could have more plaque buildup in your arteries.
The more plaque buildup you have, the more at risk you are for a heart attack. Risk for heart disease also can depend on other factors such as your cholesterol level and blood pressure.
For example, if your cholesterol is high, or if you have high blood pressure, you may need to take medication to lower your risk. this test can help you decide if you are at risk for heart disease. If your score is normal, you don’t have as much plaque buildup in your arteries. This means you have less risk of having a heart attack.
How Can a CT Calcium Score Help You Decide Whether to Take Action?
The resulting score can help you decide whether you should take action to lower your risk of a heart attack. If your result is high, you may need to take action to lower your risk. If your result is normal, you may not need to take action. Your score may also be helpful for deciding which actions you should take.
For example, you may need to change your diet or start taking certain medications. A CT calcium score can help you decide whether you need to take action. If it is high, you may want to wait a few years to see if your plaque buildup gets worse. If it doesn’t get worse, you may not need to take action.
How to Reduce Your Risk Based on Your CT Calcium Score Results
If your CT calcium score shows that you do have a lot of calcified areas in your arteries, you may want to try to lower your risk. Some ways to lower your risk include making healthy lifestyle choices, getting regular screenings, and taking certain medications. Making healthy lifestyle choices can help lower your risk of developing heart disease.
These choices include eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise, not smoking, and managing your stress. Getting regular screening tests can also help you find heart disease before it becomes severe enough to cause a heart attack. You may want to talk with your doctor about which tests are best for you.
Taking certain medications can also help lower your risk of heart disease. These medications include blood pressure medications, cholesterol-lowering medications, and certain medications for heart rhythm issues.
A CT calcium score is a way to see how much coronary plaque you have in your arteries. It is a type of CT scan that uses a special dye to help you see your arteries better. The resulting score can help you decide whether you are at risk for heart disease and whether you should take action to lower your risk.
If your calcium score is high, you may want to try to lower your risk. Making healthy lifestyle choices, getting regular screenings, and taking certain medications can help lower your risk.
Ultimately, a cardiologist can help you learn about your overall heart health condition. If you need to see one, you can book a cardiologist appointment today.
Dr Michael MacDonald is a heart doctor and cardiologist working in Singapore.