Diseases of the heart are always serious. But the risk of developing serious disease can be mitigated by attending for a Coronary Calcium Scan, which tells you your coronary calcium score. In this article we will talk more about what this scan is, why knowing your score is important, and when you should book in for this.
The health of our heart isn’t just managed by love. A great many aspects of our daily lifestyles and routines have adverse effects on our heart health that most of us don’t even recognise. That is, until it becomes a serious issue. Given that you’re now reading this, we’re willing to bet that you’ve already noticed worrying signs that you want to check up on. Which is a great thing, heart health problems are some of the more severe issues our bodies can face. The sooner you address them, the faster lifestyle changes are made, the healthier and happier we can live our lives.
Regular symptoms of heart disease include, but are by no means limited to:
Now having some of the above symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean that you have heart disease or that your coronary calcium score is going to be dangerously high. But you should be monitoring your heart health even if you feel absolutely fit and fresh. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, you definitely should be booking in for a coronary calcium scan.
Before addressing whether or not you need a coronary calcium scan, we first need to understand what exactly the scan entails and what it seeks to tell us. Coronary calcium scans are a test to determine your coronary calcium score. The test is considered a pure screening test, suitable for a healthy person that has risk factors for heart disease. Risk factors would include smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol or a family history of heart disease. If you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease, a coronary calcium scan is less likely to tell you anything valuable. The scan allows your doctor to more accurately calculate your risk of a heart attack.
The scan itself is an imaging test that utilizes a CT (computed tomography) scan to check your coronary arteries for specks of calcium. These specks of calcium or “calcifications” as they are commonly referred are found in fatty plaques in the walls of the arteries. Therefore calcium = coronary artery plaques. The higher the score, the higher the risk and the higher the amount of plaque.
Once you’ve undergone a coronary calcium scan, you’ll be presented with your coronary calcium score. The score is actually quite simple to understand, considering it relates to something so serious. Your cardiologist will go through this score with you. The score level is compared to people your own age and sex so you can see where you are compared to the rest of the population. A score of zero means you are low risk for a heart attack. The higher the score, the higher your risk.
Typically, coronary calcium scans can cost anywhere between $300 and $400 depending on your location, timing and the center where you have the scan. More importantly than the amount, you should instead consider the importance of taking care of your health. Few things are going to be more important than your health and your life. Seeking out your coronary calcium score may require you to spend money you would rather use elsewhere. But you can’t put a price on your health.
Thankfully the calcium score scan is really simple. There are no injections and no fasting is required. You just lie on the CT scanning table and the scan is done very quickly. When preparing for the scan, just remember how important your health is to you and your loved ones, and surround yourself in their support whilst you take on this challenge. Don’t forget that the end goal is a healthier happier you that lives longer. Understanding your coronary calcium score is a step towards that life.
If you believe that you’re under any risk of heart health problems, it’s time to book in for a coronary calcium scan. Delaying it or ignoring it is only going to increase the risk of serious heart disease problems such as a heart attack. It’s better to act now to avoid a potentially fatal mistake.
If you believe it is time for you to learn your coronary calcium score, speak to our friendly and highly qualified cardiologists about booking in your scan. Eager to assist and to help you manage your heart health to ensure a long and happy life, our cardiologists can guide you through the process from start to finish. What’s more, they’ll be supporting you every step of the way and provide you with all the knowledge you need to know in order to live healthily.
If you’re ready to book in your coronary calcium scan, click here to organize an appointment today.