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    Heart Calcium Score Test
    avatar
    An_255617 posted:
    I am a 57 year old women in generally good health and have been recommended by two cardiologists to have this screening test ... because of family history, high cholesterol, hypertension, etc.. I am not having any symptoms and every EKG i have taken has been good. I've avoided for years taking cholesterol medicine, because Ive always thought I could reduce with exercise and diet. It seems to stay around 230 ... my good cholesterol is very high and good. I have not been very compliant in proceeding with this test due to fear of having radiation. I've heard that radiation can cause cancer. I have never had too many radiation tests, except for mammograms, dental, etc. Can anyone give me some calming words or reassurance that this test is safe to take? If they do find that I have plaque in my arteries, is this a death sentence! Help... my obsessive thoughts are out of control ... thank you!!

    P.S. - I do have autoimmune Hashimotos Thyroiditis.... does radiation have any increased risks when you are autoimmune for cancer??
     
    avatar
    cardiostarusa1 responded:
    Hi:

    "I've heard that radiation can cause cancer"

    This is true and also may/can cause damage to arteries (the lining) in the heart and elsewhere.

    "If they do find that I have plaque in my arteries, is this a death sentence?"


    No, not necessarily.


    RadiologyInfo.org

    Coronary artery calcium CT scan

    The extent of CAD is graded according to the calcium score.

    Calcium Score

    0 No evidence of CAD

    1 - 10 Minimal evdence of CAD

    11 - 100 Mild evidence of CAD

    101 - 400 Moderate evidence of CAD

    Over 400 Extensive evidence of CAD


    WebMD Health News - archives

    Calcium in Arteries May Predict Heart Risk

    Study Shows a Calcium Score May Be Helpful Tool in Predicting Heart Disease - April 27, 2010


    http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20100427/calcium-in-arteries-may-predict-heart-risk

    Calcium in Arteries Signals Heart Death

    Calcium Buildup Could Lead to Sudden Cardiac Death Within 5 Years - 8/27/03


    Calcium in the coronary arteries has always been bad news, signaling the onset of heart disease.

    Often No Warning Signs

    http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20030827/calcium-arteries-death


    Byond calcium scoring, there is also the non-invasive 64-slice Cardiac CT, which allows doctors to view/examine the heart and the coronary arteries in never-before-seen detail.

    Far better yet, the newer blazingly fast (benefit of less radiation exposure to the patient, and less contrast media) 320-slice Cardiac CT scanner can measure subtle changes in blood flow, or minute blockages forming in blood vessels, no bigger than the average width of a toothpick (1.5 mm) in the heart, and the brain

    Very noteworthy. vulnerable plaque (VP), which hides well-away within the vessel wall (essentially a 0% blockage, but still unequivocal atherosclerosis), can't be seen with invasive X-ray angiography/angiogram, causes no advance warning signs/symptoms, is now recognized worldwide as the cause of the majority of heart attacks by way of plaque rupture causing a blood clot (thrombus).

    .

    Most of the plaques involved in coronary artery disease (CAD) are not the plaques that significantly narrow the artery.

    Quotes!

    "Only one in seven heart attacks is caused by a blockage of more than 70 percent. It's the classic tip of the iceberg problem. We've become facile at treating the tip of the iceberg, BUT the most dangerous part is still below the surface."

    - Steven E. Nissen, M.D., vice-chairman of Cardiology, head of Clinical Cardiology, Cleveland Clinic

    "The angiogram is just shadows, it doesn't tell us what's going on in the vessel wall, where all the action is at."

    - Eric J. Topol, M.D (formerly of the Cleveland Clinic)., cardiologist, professor of medicine, Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, chief academic officer of Scripps Health and director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute

    .

    Best of luck down the road of life.

    Take care,

    CardioStar*

    WebMD member (since 8/99)

     
    avatar
    cardiostarusa1 responded:
    Hi:

    "I've heard that radiation can cause cancer"

    This is true and also may/can cause damage to arteries (the lining) in the heart and elsewhere.

    "If they do find that I have plaque in my arteries, is this a death sentence?"


    No, not necessarily.


    RadiologyInfo.org

    Coronary artery calcium CT scan

    The extent of CAD is graded according to the calcium score.

    Calcium Score

    0 No evidence of CAD

    1 - 10 Minimal evdence of CAD

    11 - 100 Mild evidence of CAD

    101 - 400 Moderate evidence of CAD

    Over 400 Extensive evidence of CAD


    WebMD Health News - archives

    Calcium in Arteries May Predict Heart Risk

    Study Shows a Calcium Score May Be Helpful Tool in Predicting Heart Disease - April 27, 2010


    http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20100427/calcium-in-arteries-may-predict-heart-risk

    Calcium in Arteries Signals Heart Death

    Calcium Buildup Could Lead to Sudden Cardiac Death Within 5 Years - 8/27/03


    Calcium in the coronary arteries has always been bad news, signaling the onset of heart disease.

    Often No Warning Signs

    http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20030827/calcium-arteries-death


    Byond calcium scoring, there is also the non-invasive 64-slice Cardiac CT, which allows doctors to view/examine the heart and the coronary arteries in never-before-seen detail.

    Far better yet, the newer blazingly fast (benefit of less radiation exposure to the patient, and less contrast media) 320-slice Cardiac CT scanner can measure subtle changes in blood flow, or minute blockages forming in blood vessels, no bigger than the average width of a toothpick (1.5 mm) in the heart, and the brain

    Very noteworthy. vulnerable plaque (VP), which hides well-away within the vessel wall (essentially a 0% blockage, but still unequivocal atherosclerosis), can't be seen with invasive X-ray angiography/angiogram, causes no advance warning signs/symptoms, is now recognized worldwide as the cause of the majority of heart attacks by way of plaque rupture causing a blood clot (thrombus).

    .

    Most of the plaques involved in coronary artery disease (CAD) are not the plaques that significantly narrow the artery.

    Quotes!

    "Only one in seven heart attacks is caused by a blockage of more than 70 percent. It's the classic tip of the iceberg problem. We've become facile at treating the tip of the iceberg, BUT the most dangerous part is still below the surface."

    - Steven E. Nissen, M.D., vice-chairman of Cardiology, head of Clinical Cardiology, Cleveland Clinic

    "The angiogram is just shadows, it doesn't tell us what's going on in the vessel wall, where all the action is at."

    - Eric J. Topol, M.D (formerly of the Cleveland Clinic)., cardiologist, professor of medicine, Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, chief academic officer of Scripps Health and director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute

    .

    Best of luck down the road of life.

    Take care,

    CardioStar*

    WebMD member (since 8/99)

     
    avatar
    brunosbud responded:
    If I were to assess risk for heart disease, I'd go down the list of 5 risk factors for metabolic syndrome/insulin resistance (aka, "prediabetes") because with your age and family history, the odds are high. If you have any 3 of 5 risk factors, you've you'd be considered prediabetic.
    http://www.webmd.com/heart/metabolic-syndrome/metabolic-syndrome-what-is-it#1-3


    1. Waist size greater than 35" for women, 40" for men
    2. Fasting Blood Glucose greater than 100 mg/dl
    3. HDL less than 50 mg/dl for women, 40 mg/dl for men
    4. Triglycerides higher than 150 mg/dl (or taking statins)
    5. High Blood Pressure (greater than 135/85 or taking meds for HBP)

    How you test, "metabolically", is a far better measure for "good health" than your subjective assessment...

    Unfortunately, your "PS" tipped your risk scale for coronary disease. Hashimoto's is clearly a risk factor for heart problems.
    http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hashimotos-disease/basics/complications/con-20030293

    Keep exercising, eat healthy, limit alcohol, reduce red meat, eat those avocados and always go to bed, on time. Plus, now that you have a metabolic "scorecard", you can figure on your own, with every blood test, how "good" your health really is.

    In an event, follow your doctor's instructions because, if you follow what they advise, you place the burden of proper care in your doctor's hands, not yours. By taking this course, if something should go wrong, no dr can suggest it was your negligence, not their's, that was the cause for a poor outcome. Good luck


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