Whilst the best way to avoid a heart attack is to make positive life choices – eat well, exercise and don’t smoke to name but a few. However, even with a healthy lifestyle, for some people, getting checked is still a good idea. Perhaps previous lifestyle choices have given you cause for concern or maybe you have lost a parent prematurely to heart disease. How can you safely and accurately predict your likelihood of heart disease over the next five to ten years? The gold standard in assessing the health of your heart is the coronary calcium scan which offers a measurement of the calcium build-up in the coronary arteries.
Having calcium, or calcified plaque as it should be more accurately described, in your arteries is a sign of heart disease and identifying its presence early with the calcium score test is helpful in giving you an early indication of whether you may be likely to suffer from heart related conditions — allowing you to make some necessary lifestyle adjustments.
How Does the Calcium Score Test Work?
The coronary arteries wrap around the heart and supply it with blood and oxygen and the presence of calcium in these arteries is a sign of heart disease.
A ‘calcium score’ is essentially a low dose CT scan of the heart. It allows cardiologists to quickly measure the build-up of calcium plaque within the walls of a patient’s heart arteries. Not all arteries that have early signs of heart disease have calcium, but those with a high volume will give you a good indication of your risk.
Who Can Take the Scan?
Whilst in theory anyone can have this test, it is recommended generally only for those over the age of 45 or with other risk factors, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure or symptoms of a heart related illness such as angina. Whilst the dose of radiation that you receive is extremely low, it is still considered an unnecessary risk for those who are younger or do not have any of the other risk factors.
In most cases it is recommended that you have a consultation with a cardiologist so they can assess which test is most appropriate for you.
Benefits of the Calcium Score Test
Unfortunately, most people learn that they have heart disease too late, with the first symptom for many being sudden death.
A coronary calcium scan is one way to find out if you have early heart disease so that you can combat it before it gets worse. Once armed with the test score and an understanding of your level of risk, together we can help you get onto the best treatment plan for you, avoiding the serious consequences of heart disease.
There are many adjustments to our lifestyle that can be made which will significantly lower your risks, including having a heart-healthy eating plan, staying at a healthy weight, getting more exercise, and quitting smoking. However, to make these changes, it is often helpful to have a calcium score that helps you to understand the level of the risk you are facing.
Taking the Calcium Score Test
As a private cardiologist in Northwest England the calcium score test can be done at Venturi Cardiology. We offer this test to our patients together with several other diagnostics that help to understand the risks of heart disease and find lasting solutions for better heart health.
If you would like to book a consultation click here or to schedule a calcium score test click here and select ‘calcium score test’ from the drop down menu. We are currently offering the Venturi Coronary Calcium Score test for £280. For peace of mind, book here