Calcium Score: A to Z Guide
Calcium Score, also known as Cardiac Score or Heart Scan, is a non-invasive CT Scan procedure of the heart. This test calculates your risk of developing Coronary Artery Disease by measuring the amount of calcified plaque in your coronary arteries.
- The coronary arteries are the blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart.
- The plaque found in these arteries is made of fat and calcium, which can narrow or block these arteries.
- This blockage can lead to chest pain or discomfort called angina.
Holds the great promise of detecting heart diseases
Shows the presence of plaques in your cardiac arteries.
These calcified plaques are a warning sign of the narrowing of the arteries, or atherosclerosis. Here’s why they are troublesome:
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is plaque?
Plaque is partially made of calcium and fat. Initially, it’s waxy, and it builds up slowly, but overtime it hardens and is called calcified plaque.
What will happen if plaque blocks your arteries?
Like a clog in the pipe, hard plaque blocks your arteries by slowing down your blood flow. This means that many parts of your body don’t get their fill of oxygen. If plaque is accumulated in your arteries, you can experience chest pain and discomfort, known as angina. Secondly, if plaque breaks open it can lead to a blood clot. This can lead to a heart attack.
How does Calcium Score help in preventing heart problems?
Your calcium scoring shows how much-calcified plaque exists in your heart’s arteries. Henceforth, your doctor can decide if your medication or lifestyle need changes.
When to Get Calcium Scan Done?
Get this calcium test done if you feel you are likely to get heart disease. Your doctor can figure this out with the help of details such as your age, blood pressure, cholesterol level, whether you smoke, and your gender.
What Happens During a Calcium Scan?
For calcium scan, you need to visit a clinic that consists of a CT scanner. First and foremost, the doctor will ask you to avoid caffeine and smoking for up to 4 hours before the test. For the scan, you have to put on a hospital gown, remove your clothes and jewelry from the upper body part.
A few sticky patches will be put on your chest by the person running the scanner. These patches will be connected to an EKG machine that helps the person know when to take the images of your heart. If you are claustrophobic, you will be given the med to slow your heart so better pictures can be taken.
During the calcium heart scan, you have to lie on your back on a table, which slowly moves into the CT scanner. This scanner is a hollow tube that slides into a tunnel and, your head stays out of the tube at all times. When you are done, you are free to go about your day.