Calcium Scan

Posted by fastback66 @fastback66, Dec 29, 2019

Good morning, my second post. I had a angiogram around 6 years ago that showed percentages of blockage in 4 arteries, most notably in the LAD. Ever since I have been troubled by the idea of an impending event without warning. I have just read a post pertaining to calcium scores and excessive calcium attributable to the parathyroid. I recently found a plantar fibroma on arch of my foot. Typically they consist of calcium. I am wondering if a calcium scan would benefit me? Would my score be automatically high because I already have CAD? Anyone out there have a similar experience and able to shed light on this? Thanks in advance.

Hi @fastback66 that must be so difficult to live with that constant fear, and I hope it leads to you being proactive like you are now wondering about the calcium score.

Here is more information on what a coronary calcium scan is: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/heart-scan/about/pac-20384686

@tim1028 and @rubywitch67 both have mentioned coronary artery disease in the past and may have thoughts to share on this topic or to offer you support.

Back to you @fastback66 what has your research shown so far?

REPLY
@ethanmcconkey

Hi @fastback66 that must be so difficult to live with that constant fear, and I hope it leads to you being proactive like you are now wondering about the calcium score.

Here is more information on what a coronary calcium scan is: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/heart-scan/about/pac-20384686

@tim1028 and @rubywitch67 both have mentioned coronary artery disease in the past and may have thoughts to share on this topic or to offer you support.

Back to you @fastback66 what has your research shown so far?

Jump to this post

Thank you for the information. The frustrating thing is that just a few years ago I was running three to four times a week, distance from 3 to 8 miles at a less than 10 minute mile pace. I will be 63 years old in June. The foot problem that I mentioned in the original post has put running out of the picture. I don’t have a lot of faith in our local medical community. I have collected my records and I am going to make an appointment with a cardiologist at Northwestern Medical Center in Chicago. I really want to start a cardio exercise program but I want the go ahead from a trusted doctor. I was told by the doctors here that the LAD blockage is in a position that cannot be stinted. Northwestern is a top rated cardiology hospital, hopefully they have a different option. I saw the post on connect Mayo Clinic about the calcium scan and a possible remedy for a high calcium score. My family has a very poor heart heart history although much of that could be lifestyle driven. I tend to take better care of myself than most. Don’t smoke, drink to excess, eat right and try to exercise regularly. In 2013 I experienced a very stressful year and I contribute much of that to the blockage I have now. Thanks again for the calcium scan information. Regards, Don

REPLY

fastback66……..after reading your posts several times, the ONE thing that really jumped out at me was your statement "I don't have a lot of faith in our local medical community." That is a REALLY scary place to be…..one I completely understand. Without total trust in your medical team, it's worse than being between a rock and a hard spot since we are essentially dealing with life and death if our hearts are in need of help. I don't want to be overly dramatic here, but I was very glad to hear you are gathering up your medical records and are apparently heading to Northwestern in Chicago for further evaluation. I certainly don't need to tell you about the extraordinary care you will receive there.
I guess there WAS one other issue you mentioned which was the angiogram you had 6 YEARS ago that showed "a percentage" of blockage in your arteries. I wish you had given us those numbers! Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems that from the time of your angiogram……and the following 6 YEARS to the present, you wrote……" I have been troubled by the idea of an impending event without warning." Are you saying that during those intervening 6 YEARS you were NOT being followed closely by your cardiologist? THAT certainly explains the lack of confidence in your local medical community! 15 years ago when I had my first cardiac catheterization and a small amount of plaque was found in my LAD, I was told to make some serious lifestyle changes or I could expect a "cardiac event" within 5 years! (Apparently the amount of plaque they found was small enough to NOT warrant stenting at that time) I was ALSO told to have yearly follow ups with my cardiologist to monitor any progression) To make an incredibly long story short, I DID find a great cardiologist at the hospital I worked at and he followed me twice a year. During that time I had SO much blood work and scans and wore all sorts of patches and did so many stress tests, I felt like a lab rat. But an extremely well cared for lab rat. When I began to have odd pains in my upper chest, just below my collar bones, which made me think they couldn't be related to my heart, the first person I went to was my cardio, who scheduled me immediately for a catheterization and possible stenting because what I was feeling was angina! (Yes, women's symptoms ARE often much different than men's and because of this are FAR TOO OFTEN misdiagnosed until it's too late) That my cardiologist knew what these pains meant and acted immediately saved my life. Those stents were placed about 8 years ago and I see my cardio two times a year as I am "blessed" with a disorder called hyperlipidemia. (My body produces way too much cholesterol all by itself) My stents fixed my problems and are continuing to do their job……even if I do have to be on a mega dose of cholesterol meds. Last year I was diagnosed with AFIB and the massive rounds of blood work and scans and monitors and drug trials began, again…….in March of 2019, I underwent an ablation. For 9 months I have been free of AFIB and will hopefully be one of the lucky ones who only have to undergo this procedure once…….because it's brutal. So, I have CAD, 2 cardiac stents, one stent for an abdominal aortic aneurysm that was very near rupturing, PVC's and a heart that has been, literally, burned in 80+ spots to form scar tissue for my wonky electrical system to get back on track and keep my heart in sinus rhythm. But I realize I have not addressed the main concern YOU have. And that is regarding calcium scores and excessive calcium attributable to the parathyroid. I really apologize that I've made this entire post more about ME than YOU. During all my years of people messing about with my heart and all the lab work and tests……I have no memory of my calcium scores EVER being mentioned. And I think IF my calcium was a contributing factor to my problems, I would have been made aware of it. I wasn't. I also have osteopenia which is one step down form osteoporosis, a condition many women my age…68+ have with bone loss. For this I take a pretty high dose of calcium which both my cardio and my EP were definitely aware of and neither have said I should stop. Please let me apologize for what has turned into a rather self-centered rant and end by saying that when you get to Northwestern, they are going to check EVERYTHING (including your calcium levels) and when you leave there, I have absolutely no doubt you are going to have a very structurally sound heart! I hope you keep us all informed of your progress. I know we ALL wish you the very best and a return to good health and no more anxiety. I also hope the docs at Northwestern can recommend an excellent cardio to follow you close to where you live……one you WILL have absolute trust in. If you have any questions, please feel free to PM me and I'll do my very best to answer it or help you find the answer. It's ALL going to be good, Don.
RubyWitch

REPLY
@rubywitch67

fastback66……..after reading your posts several times, the ONE thing that really jumped out at me was your statement "I don't have a lot of faith in our local medical community." That is a REALLY scary place to be…..one I completely understand. Without total trust in your medical team, it's worse than being between a rock and a hard spot since we are essentially dealing with life and death if our hearts are in need of help. I don't want to be overly dramatic here, but I was very glad to hear you are gathering up your medical records and are apparently heading to Northwestern in Chicago for further evaluation. I certainly don't need to tell you about the extraordinary care you will receive there.
I guess there WAS one other issue you mentioned which was the angiogram you had 6 YEARS ago that showed "a percentage" of blockage in your arteries. I wish you had given us those numbers! Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems that from the time of your angiogram……and the following 6 YEARS to the present, you wrote……" I have been troubled by the idea of an impending event without warning." Are you saying that during those intervening 6 YEARS you were NOT being followed closely by your cardiologist? THAT certainly explains the lack of confidence in your local medical community! 15 years ago when I had my first cardiac catheterization and a small amount of plaque was found in my LAD, I was told to make some serious lifestyle changes or I could expect a "cardiac event" within 5 years! (Apparently the amount of plaque they found was small enough to NOT warrant stenting at that time) I was ALSO told to have yearly follow ups with my cardiologist to monitor any progression) To make an incredibly long story short, I DID find a great cardiologist at the hospital I worked at and he followed me twice a year. During that time I had SO much blood work and scans and wore all sorts of patches and did so many stress tests, I felt like a lab rat. But an extremely well cared for lab rat. When I began to have odd pains in my upper chest, just below my collar bones, which made me think they couldn't be related to my heart, the first person I went to was my cardio, who scheduled me immediately for a catheterization and possible stenting because what I was feeling was angina! (Yes, women's symptoms ARE often much different than men's and because of this are FAR TOO OFTEN misdiagnosed until it's too late) That my cardiologist knew what these pains meant and acted immediately saved my life. Those stents were placed about 8 years ago and I see my cardio two times a year as I am "blessed" with a disorder called hyperlipidemia. (My body produces way too much cholesterol all by itself) My stents fixed my problems and are continuing to do their job……even if I do have to be on a mega dose of cholesterol meds. Last year I was diagnosed with AFIB and the massive rounds of blood work and scans and monitors and drug trials began, again…….in March of 2019, I underwent an ablation. For 9 months I have been free of AFIB and will hopefully be one of the lucky ones who only have to undergo this procedure once…….because it's brutal. So, I have CAD, 2 cardiac stents, one stent for an abdominal aortic aneurysm that was very near rupturing, PVC's and a heart that has been, literally, burned in 80+ spots to form scar tissue for my wonky electrical system to get back on track and keep my heart in sinus rhythm. But I realize I have not addressed the main concern YOU have. And that is regarding calcium scores and excessive calcium attributable to the parathyroid. I really apologize that I've made this entire post more about ME than YOU. During all my years of people messing about with my heart and all the lab work and tests……I have no memory of my calcium scores EVER being mentioned. And I think IF my calcium was a contributing factor to my problems, I would have been made aware of it. I wasn't. I also have osteopenia which is one step down form osteoporosis, a condition many women my age…68+ have with bone loss. For this I take a pretty high dose of calcium which both my cardio and my EP were definitely aware of and neither have said I should stop. Please let me apologize for what has turned into a rather self-centered rant and end by saying that when you get to Northwestern, they are going to check EVERYTHING (including your calcium levels) and when you leave there, I have absolutely no doubt you are going to have a very structurally sound heart! I hope you keep us all informed of your progress. I know we ALL wish you the very best and a return to good health and no more anxiety. I also hope the docs at Northwestern can recommend an excellent cardio to follow you close to where you live……one you WILL have absolute trust in. If you have any questions, please feel free to PM me and I'll do my very best to answer it or help you find the answer. It's ALL going to be good, Don.
RubyWitch

Jump to this post

@rubywitch67 , thank you for your response. I didn’t think it was too much about you as you were simply trying to relay your real world experience. I cannot express how much that has meant. I am very happy that you have had positive results and wish you well. There are several reasons why I do not trust our local medical community. I eluded to the rough 2013 in my post. In late 2012 my wife Carla started to experience numbness and tingling in her feet that seemed to be progressing somewhat quickly up her legs, symmetrically and bilaterally . I am going to shorten the story dramatically but you will get the gist. Of course our first stop was our primary care doctor. Some testing and scans later we were no closer to answers. The day after Christmas 2012 I took her to the ER. A complete head and spinal MRI was done, again we were turned away without answers. She was very disheartened and she thought that they were thinking it was all in her head. A week later I dropped her off at work ( she was afraid to drive because she couldn’t feel the pedals) when she got out of the car and walked into work I noticed that she was walking with her knees together. When I picked her up from work I wanted her to go back to the ER. It turned into a bit of a spat ( something we never do). I offered to drive her to Chicago to Rush University Medical Center. She opted for another hospital closer to home, for my benefit probably. Long story short. She underwent 4 spinal surgeries in a three week span. After the last one she had two grand mal seizures in recovery. The next day I had her transferred to Rush where we spent the next month and a half . The day after I had her transferred my brother passed away in his sleep unexpectedly. The day after I brought my wife home from Rush my father passed. My wife was in a wheelchair and needed assistance to do much of everyday activities. In a three month period our lives were turned inside out. Thankfully my wife now walks without any type of assistance, although she does have to deal with the burden of constant chronic pain. An entire shelf in the kitchen cupboard is devoted to medications. Losing my brother and my father along with watching my wife fight for her life and the ongoing issues has taken a toll. Anyhow, a year ago my cardiologist decided to do a nuclear scan of my heart. I had to fast for the test. The test lasted a couple of hours, I was released to go home. I was obviously hungry so I ate. I was no sooner done when my phone rang and it was the technician who performed the scan, she said that there was a problem and could I come back to redo the last scan? I told her that I had eaten but she said no problem. I questioned her and later when discussing the results with my cardiologist. Both insisted that it would not affect the results. I appreciate your response that Northwestern will leave no stones unturned. I am in relatively good condition and would really like to start doing some cardio without fear. I will post up after my trip to Chicago. Thank you again and have a Happy and healthy New Year!!
Regards, Don

REPLY
Please login or register to post a reply.