High CAC Score and Current Status
I am now 68, have slightly elevated BP that has been controlled with Telemisartan/irbesartan (20mg/d) for 20+ years. I am 10-15 pounds overweight and am very active, but do not “work out” – lots of walking and maintenance on rental houses. I have had both hips replaced. Father died from lung cancer at 50 yo (3 pack a day and risky work – boat paint, propellor grinding), mother died from infection at 87 yo. Sibling early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer at 64 yo – good chance of long life due to early diagnosis and quick action.
In Sep 2019, given the low cost (no health related reason), I had a CAC (coronary calcium) test – a few days later I left on a two week vacation to Europe. Got back home to find a letter from my doctor, indicating the CAC test was “abnormal” – like 1340! At this time: Triglycerides 120-140, total Cholesterol 120-150, HDL 40-46, LDL 60-110. Never any medical issues other than hips and somewhat elevated BP.
I immediately reviewed options, met with cardiologist and started atorvastatin and Vascepa (have also taken 81 mg aspirin for the last 20 years). Did walking treadmill stress test within a couple of weeks. "Bruce protocol, normal sinus rhythm at rest, 9 minutes, no shortness of breath (legs got tired on the elevated portion), METS 10.3, peak heart rate 159, peak blood pressure 195/90, no ST-not T changes diagnostic for ischemia, occasional PVC. Conclusions: 1. Negative treadmill stress for inducible ischemia to achieve workload, 2. Achieved 10.3 METS. Placing patient good for functional capacity for age, 3. Duke treadmill score of 9. Placing patient at a low 5-year cardiovascular mortality risk."
No one recommended a re-test for CAC. Cardiologist indicated they are rarely inaccurate.
Next series of blood work – note massive decrease in triglycerides
Jun 2020 – Triglycerides 56, total Cholesterol 115, HDL 48, LDL 47
Feb 2021 – Triglycerides 60, total Cholesterol 121, HDL 46, LDL 53
Aug 2021 – Triglycerides 27, total Cholesterol 99, HDL 46, LDL 39
Mar 2022 – Triglycerides 49, total Cholesterol 106, HDL 46, LDL 47
Fast forward to today – very active, just returned from a month long tour of Portugal and Germany where we averaged 8-10 miles a day walking, rolling luggage in and out of airports, trains, and cars. Walk and work on something daily – do not watch sports – ie not a couch potato. I still feel great – and have felt great for decades.
Thoughts? Another CAC test? Another stress test?
Thanks to All!