High calcium score shock

Posted by sjy70 @sjy70, Jun 14 5:37pm

Hi everyone… just wanted to share my last few days – I'm scared and lost and was just hoping to hear from some people who have been in my place. Long story short – I went in for a "routine" checkup at age 50 to make sure my heart was okay. I had a stress test two years ago that was fine. But I do have a family history, and somewhat high LDL and blood pressure so the doctor sent me for a cardiac calcium score. It came back at 407 at age 50!!! That's like the 98th percentile for my age, which is shocking. I do Crossfit and have done half marathons so it was totally unexpected. Now I'm going for another stress test in two weeks to make sure no blockages are over 70%, and I'm not sure of the steps after that…. I'm terrified of needing open heart surgery – I've gotten myself into a place of being okay with a stent if needed. I know it's better to know than not know, but I just feel like my life was suddenly ripped out from under me and to be honest I'm spinning right now… every waking second I feel like I'm going to drop over..

I hear you. I felt the same way when I did a Coronary Artery Calcium CT scan 2 years ago (Score = 1,500). You're right that knowledge is power, even if it is a shock at first. The best news is that you had a good stress test result two years ago and it is likely to be ok now as well. For me, I started following the American Heart Association's Simple 7 guidelines regarding diet and lifestyle. So far, so good. Take care and hang in there.

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@tim1028

I hear you. I felt the same way when I did a Coronary Artery Calcium CT scan 2 years ago (Score = 1,500). You're right that knowledge is power, even if it is a shock at first. The best news is that you had a good stress test result two years ago and it is likely to be ok now as well. For me, I started following the American Heart Association's Simple 7 guidelines regarding diet and lifestyle. So far, so good. Take care and hang in there.

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Thank you ! I just looked those up and I'm totally committed also! Did you do an angiogram or anything?

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@sjy70

Thank you ! I just looked those up and I'm totally committed also! Did you do an angiogram or anything?

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No, I didn't do an angiogram because my Stress Test with Echocardiogram was normal. I did follow up last year with a Cardiologist consult. He said how important it is to follow recommended heart protective diet and lifestyle guidelines. Only 5% of heart patients follow them, which is sad. Cleveland Clinic and Harvard Medical School each publish a monthly heart newsletter, which costs about $25 a year and are very informative. Also Cleveland Clinic publishes an 80- page Special Report on Coronary Artery Disease, which I recommend. Mayo has some excellent podcasts on CAD. I also take a low-dose statin to keep LDL cholesterol below the recommended maximum of 70 mg/dL

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Hello @sjy70, I would like to add my welcome to Connect along with @tim1028 and other members. @tim1028 shared some great information from the American Heart Association – Life's Simple 7: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/my-life-check–lifes-simple-7. Knowledge is definitely power and it helps us all to learn as much as we can to improve our lifestyle and health.

You might also be interested in the following article on the calcium scans.
Management of Asymptomatic Patients With Positive Coronary Artery Calcium Scans: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5689148/

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@johnbishop

Hello @sjy70, I would like to add my welcome to Connect along with @tim1028 and other members. @tim1028 shared some great information from the American Heart Association – Life's Simple 7: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/my-life-check–lifes-simple-7. Knowledge is definitely power and it helps us all to learn as much as we can to improve our lifestyle and health.

You might also be interested in the following article on the calcium scans.
Management of Asymptomatic Patients With Positive Coronary Artery Calcium Scans: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5689148/

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Thank you John! I'll be sure to read both of those!

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Here's an update since my last post….would love some thoughts or advice from others who have been in the same situation. I had a stress test with echo, on which I apparently performed very well. Got my heart rate up to 180+ with no symptoms and no ekg or echo evidence of blockage over 70%. My doctor indicated an angiogram wasn't indicated based on that since I am asymptomatic (at least I think I am – since I got my calcium score every little thing feels like a symptom!!). I'm nervous about not getting an angiogram, though…. he put my on Lipitor 40mg, aspirin, and lifestyle modification…

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Does anyone have any thoughts about pushing for an angiogram?

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@sjy70

Does anyone have any thoughts about pushing for an angiogram?

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Most cardiologists will not do an angiogram with your results and no symptoms. My cardiologist told me the same thing. I've followed the American Heart Association guidelines, take a statin and daily low-dose aspirin. Two years later, no symptoms and anxiety has eased significantly

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I have a 255 CAC score – just found out six months ago after some blood tests that showed high glucose, high cholesterol/LDL, and a terrible family history of heart disease- and also passed a stress test and told I had no blockages. I decided I should have a CT angiogram (non-invasive X-Ray of the arteries) to make sure which came back a couple of days ago that I have an approximate 50 percent blockage in my LAD. The cardiologist also ran a blood flow test (FFRct) and it showed restricted blood flow in that area. I will be seeing the cardiologist at UCLA tomorrow to go over what this all means but I'm glad I went beyond my standard of care cardiologist who told me I was fine after the stress test and instead, saw a research cardiologist who specialized in CAC.

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I look forward to reading about your follow-up with the research cardiologist.

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@anniehall56 I am also looking forward to reading about your follow up!

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I am 78 and was lucky my cardiologist is more into prevention than invasive procedures. My score two years ago was 2500. Had the same test as you and the blood flow analysis showed my arteries to my heart are 90% open. Have you been on statin drugs? My RX is to try to eat right but most of all exercise and reduce stress in your life. CAC scores are not well understood by medical community and a lot of score is made up of stable plaque due to statin use.

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