A heart scan evaluates the health of your blood vessels. It tells your doctor how much calcified plaque is in your coronary arteries and your risk of developing heart disease or a heart attack in the near future. It is a CT scan that takes 10 minutes to perform, requires no needles, dyes, or medications, but understanding your heart scan results might save your life.
Understanding Calcified Plaque
During a heart scan, New Jersey Cardiology Associates is looking for a buildup of calcium and plaque. This is not the same plaque found on teeth. This type of plaque is made of fat and calcium and over time it can harden. If the amount of plaque is not controlled, it will continue to grow and interfere with healthy blood flow.
The causes of calcified plaque include genetic plus lifestyle factors. They include the following:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Being overweight
- Sedentary lifestyle
Understanding The Results
The results of the heart scan can identify restricted blood flow to the muscles of your heart, and will identify coronary artery disease before you have any symptoms.
The score ranges from 0 to 400. The higher the coronary calcium score, the higher chance of narrowing of the coronary arteries. This would, therefore, indicate a higher risk of a future heart attack.
The Silent Killer
The CDC estimates 790,000 have a heart attack every year. Coronary heart disease is known as the silent killer because many Americans have no warning they are at risk for a heart attack.
If you have no apparent symptoms and are 50, many physicians recommend you have a heart scan. It is the most accurate screening tool available to diagnose heart disease.
The information gleaned from the results can help New Jersey Cardiology Associates make recommendations about lifestyle modifications and additional medications that can correct any medical issues and help to prevent a future heart attack or stroke.