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New test predicts heart disease before it occurs and before symptoms appear



A coronary calcium test is an important test to detect and assess your risk of developing heart problems in the future, and before warning signs of heart disease appear. This test is also called a "calcium score." In the series "Reassure yourself", we learn about the coronary artery calcium "CAC" test, according to the Johns Hopkins University website.


Importance of coronary calcium scan

 

The scan provides images of the coronary arteries that show existing calcium deposits known as calcifications, an early sign of coronary artery disease.


How does coronary calcium examination work?

 

Pictures of your heart are taken while you lie in a scanner for about 10 minutes. This simple procedure is called a computerized tomography (CT) scan.


A score of zero has been shown to indicate that you have a very low risk of heart attack within the next 10 years.


How is a coronary calcium scan used?

 

For a person with several risk factors for heart disease, testing can help determine how aggressive treatment is, whether different types of medications should be started, or whether the person is at very low risk for heart disease.


Why doesn't everyone get a coronary calcium scan?

 

Because this test is relatively new, it's not part of standard guidelines for heart exams - but it's appropriate to use it more in the future, as several studies that have compared it to other tests have shown it to be effective in determining the risk of cardiac events.


It is worth noting that a risk factor for any disease is anything that increases your chances of getting a disease. For example, smoking is a risk factor for cancer, and obesity is a risk factor for diabetes.

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