Calcium test can predict risk of heart disease and possible heart attacks, experts say

Health

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — Two-thirds of adults are at risk for heart disease, which can be deadly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. Now, results are showing that a simple test, that has been in use for decades, can predict a person’s risk of this life-threatening condition.

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, Chairman of Cardiovascular Services, Hartford Healthcare St. Vincent’s Medical Center explains how easy a coronary calcium scan works.

“It’s a CT scan of the heart,” Dr. Jeffrey Berman, Chairman of Cardiovascular Services, Hartford Healthcare St. Vincent’s Medical Center, said while explaining how easy a coronary calcium scan works. “It takes just a couple of minutes to do; no dyes involved. The CT scan detects calcium in the coronary arteries, and calcium in the coronary arteries is a marker of atherosclerosis.”

Dr. Berman said the scan reveals a person’s calcium score. Any patient result over a certain amount is flagged for possibly having heart artery disease. Further tests are then warranted after a cardiology consult.

He said the results can be surprising at times.

“People who we identify at a low risk may actually have high scores, and some people who we think are at high risk may have no calcium and they’re at very low risk.”

He said the test is not new, but recent studies have shown it to be accurate at truly assessing a person’s risk for heart disease, including those without all of the typical risk factors like family history, smoking, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.

The best way to see if you could benefit from this test is to ask your doctor.

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