Coronary Calcium Score (Heart Scan)

Posted by mcphee @mcphee, Dec 14, 2016

I have a calcium score of 1,950 which is extremely high which means I am at a very high risk for a cardiac event,heart attack,stroke or sudden death.
I take a statin and baby aspirin.
I have never been sick,have excellent cholesterol,low blood pressure and I am not overweight.
I have no other health problems and I have never been sick.
But I feel like a walking time bomb which has caused me a lot of stress.
I wonder how others with this condition feel emotionally?
I am 70 yrs old.

Liked by sgarelick

@bluesdoc I'm in a similar quandry. What does a high calcium score mean for an otherwise low-risk group? My calcium score is 1500, most concentrated in two coronary arteries. I'm 70,and have no risk factors other than age. I
have maintained lifelong fitness and did very well on the stress test with echocardiogram. That tells me that exercise has kept my arteries open despite the high plaque burden. The best I can do is to take a statin ( I started 40 mg of atorvastatin this week) and continue with a good diet and exercise, and stress management.

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@bluesdoc

Well, everyone's different. Taking high dose CoQ10 with statins is important. For a study of n=1, in the three+ years I've been on it, it's had no impact on my cerebral function. I work in a highly challenging environment and have to make scores to hundreds of critical decisions a day. So far, so good. (Of course, it might be because of my music sideline, or working out a lot…. or genes? who knows…..) Thanks again for the kind greeting Martin.

There's something clearly amiss about our cohort – the way we're categorized by the cardiology community. I think they project risk in some sort of linear fashion from the levels clearly associated with those risks, ie, the low/mid hundreds. You'd think that if this were the case, we'd all be cardiac cripples with our high levels. But clearly, many of us are not. So, I suspect that very high CC scores could represent, in some cohort, a different pathophysiology than plain old calcifying intimal atheroma. This begs the question, what are we in store for, if not an early cardiac demise? I can't believe it's benign to have our vessels turn to stone, but how does that play out clinically? I don't know.

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Well, @bluesdoc, I couldn't resist commenting on three of your points an hour ago. Everyone's different for sure, but apparently so are statins. FDA records show reported memory loss with a handful of different statins. If CoQ10 works for you, great! I've taken it for several years and still deal with drifting memory.

Borrowing your words, "there's something clearly amiss . . ." I will turn the corner and say that about Cardiology in several respects (which I won't articulate here without getting permission from a number of friends who feel their cardiologist is welded to long-running recipes for diagnosis and treatment by rote). The friends are referring mainly to Cardiology's fluid approaches to hypertension.

I have personal experience with vessels turning to stone, and it was very sad. My aged grandmother got past 70 years with no significant demise in her cognitive or memory facilities, but over a few years in her mid-70s she was overcome with severe dementia to the extent of becoming totally vegetabilized. Her diagnosis was arteriosclerosis. Both of her only sons also died in dementia. I'm hoping my mother's genes will save me from this empty end of my life. Meantime, I arise every morning asking what I might start today that I could pursue for another 20 years! Martin

Liked by thankful

REPLY
@predictable

Well, @bluesdoc, I couldn't resist commenting on three of your points an hour ago. Everyone's different for sure, but apparently so are statins. FDA records show reported memory loss with a handful of different statins. If CoQ10 works for you, great! I've taken it for several years and still deal with drifting memory.

Borrowing your words, "there's something clearly amiss . . ." I will turn the corner and say that about Cardiology in several respects (which I won't articulate here without getting permission from a number of friends who feel their cardiologist is welded to long-running recipes for diagnosis and treatment by rote). The friends are referring mainly to Cardiology's fluid approaches to hypertension.

I have personal experience with vessels turning to stone, and it was very sad. My aged grandmother got past 70 years with no significant demise in her cognitive or memory facilities, but over a few years in her mid-70s she was overcome with severe dementia to the extent of becoming totally vegetabilized. Her diagnosis was arteriosclerosis. Both of her only sons also died in dementia. I'm hoping my mother's genes will save me from this empty end of my life. Meantime, I arise every morning asking what I might start today that I could pursue for another 20 years! Martin

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Sure, Martin. Also, statins are different. I was initially started on the standby – atorvastatin – and my hepatic and muscle enzymes went nuts. At a later date, I tried pitavastatin, low dose, and did fine, and have for 3 years. So far……. Also, just to be clear, despite practicing clinical (mostly in the trenches) medicine for ~45 years, I offer no recommendations here. My only dog in this hunt is my own aging and beaten body. If we really knew what to do, we'd all be doing it…… jon

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@predictable

Well, @bluesdoc, I couldn't resist commenting on three of your points an hour ago. Everyone's different for sure, but apparently so are statins. FDA records show reported memory loss with a handful of different statins. If CoQ10 works for you, great! I've taken it for several years and still deal with drifting memory.

Borrowing your words, "there's something clearly amiss . . ." I will turn the corner and say that about Cardiology in several respects (which I won't articulate here without getting permission from a number of friends who feel their cardiologist is welded to long-running recipes for diagnosis and treatment by rote). The friends are referring mainly to Cardiology's fluid approaches to hypertension.

I have personal experience with vessels turning to stone, and it was very sad. My aged grandmother got past 70 years with no significant demise in her cognitive or memory facilities, but over a few years in her mid-70s she was overcome with severe dementia to the extent of becoming totally vegetabilized. Her diagnosis was arteriosclerosis. Both of her only sons also died in dementia. I'm hoping my mother's genes will save me from this empty end of my life. Meantime, I arise every morning asking what I might start today that I could pursue for another 20 years! Martin

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Hi everyone. I’ve been on here for a while and want to say I very much appreciate how open, sincere and caring all of the posters are. I am like most 59 year old male when with just high bp, cholesterol levels all over the place but healthy, CAC score was 693 my cardio put me on 80 mg stat amd baby aspirin. A year later I got another test ( Doc told me not too) my score was 1100. Doctors won’t do anything say it’s too risky to get into my arteries and get the plaque . So we just wait for something to happen seems to me that’s unacceptable. Is there anything we can take maybe from a health food store to slow progression of this plaque? I hear of vitamin k frequently. Good luck to everyone

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@bigbern

Hi everyone. I’ve been on here for a while and want to say I very much appreciate how open, sincere and caring all of the posters are. I am like most 59 year old male when with just high bp, cholesterol levels all over the place but healthy, CAC score was 693 my cardio put me on 80 mg stat amd baby aspirin. A year later I got another test ( Doc told me not too) my score was 1100. Doctors won’t do anything say it’s too risky to get into my arteries and get the plaque . So we just wait for something to happen seems to me that’s unacceptable. Is there anything we can take maybe from a health food store to slow progression of this plaque? I hear of vitamin k frequently. Good luck to everyone

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@bigbern I'm also a part of our illustrious group with my 2316 score and was put on 20 mg of Lipitor and a baby aspirin. After reading research on the aspiring I opted to eliminate that. But I must say the Lipitor has done some remarkable things to my lipid profile blood tests. My wife has been on supplements for her ovarian cancer while at the same time doing the medical care things she should be doing. And she is now cancer free – in remission. So is her success from what the medical doctors are doing or what she's getting from the holistic doc? Impossible to say but as long as she's doing well no reason to stop. anyway – I started with him as well and here's what I'm taking: CoQ10 (Jarrow brand) he recommends 100 mg of it for every 10 mg of statin, K2 (Ultra K). magnesium buffered chelate, anthocyanins, something he calls Cardio 5 which he says works on multiple levels for vascular health, resting heart rate, etc…, and fish oil. I do not expect calcium scores to change one way or the other with these formulations but I do have some belief that they're helping in other ways.

Liked by lioness

REPLY
@nyartist

@bigbern I'm also a part of our illustrious group with my 2316 score and was put on 20 mg of Lipitor and a baby aspirin. After reading research on the aspiring I opted to eliminate that. But I must say the Lipitor has done some remarkable things to my lipid profile blood tests. My wife has been on supplements for her ovarian cancer while at the same time doing the medical care things she should be doing. And she is now cancer free – in remission. So is her success from what the medical doctors are doing or what she's getting from the holistic doc? Impossible to say but as long as she's doing well no reason to stop. anyway – I started with him as well and here's what I'm taking: CoQ10 (Jarrow brand) he recommends 100 mg of it for every 10 mg of statin, K2 (Ultra K). magnesium buffered chelate, anthocyanins, something he calls Cardio 5 which he says works on multiple levels for vascular health, resting heart rate, etc…, and fish oil. I do not expect calcium scores to change one way or the other with these formulations but I do have some belief that they're helping in other ways.

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To NY Artist, thank you so much for your reply. I will effort to round up those items and incorporate into my day !so you really cut down the mg’s on your statins and your lipids look good. Maybe 80 is too much for me.i have had three cardiologist tell me that they don’t put a lot of credence into the CAC score , they say it doesn’t accurately define the true situation hard vs soft plaque etc. but yet they all want you to get the test. I don’t know. Scary. I try everyday to block it out lol. So happy to hear your wife is great ! Have a great weekend and thx again . Seriously. That. B.

Liked by lioness

REPLY
@nyartist

@bigbern I'm also a part of our illustrious group with my 2316 score and was put on 20 mg of Lipitor and a baby aspirin. After reading research on the aspiring I opted to eliminate that. But I must say the Lipitor has done some remarkable things to my lipid profile blood tests. My wife has been on supplements for her ovarian cancer while at the same time doing the medical care things she should be doing. And she is now cancer free – in remission. So is her success from what the medical doctors are doing or what she's getting from the holistic doc? Impossible to say but as long as she's doing well no reason to stop. anyway – I started with him as well and here's what I'm taking: CoQ10 (Jarrow brand) he recommends 100 mg of it for every 10 mg of statin, K2 (Ultra K). magnesium buffered chelate, anthocyanins, something he calls Cardio 5 which he says works on multiple levels for vascular health, resting heart rate, etc…, and fish oil. I do not expect calcium scores to change one way or the other with these formulations but I do have some belief that they're helping in other ways.

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@nyartist So glad all is well with your wife In 1996 I had a triple by pass due to clogged arteries I since then have taken a statin to get my cholesterol down.It will never come down So many people on here post about the hi calcium number Our Liver makes this for our body and mine also is hereditary so it has never been normal Ive been on all kinds of statins I also do holistic meds CoQ 10 magnesium I have fibromyalgia and other herbs, vitamis our body needs calcium but from food not supplement unless Dr tells you ,if your lab is good on it you f need to take a supplement.Sorry for long story

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@bigbern

To NY Artist, thank you so much for your reply. I will effort to round up those items and incorporate into my day !so you really cut down the mg’s on your statins and your lipids look good. Maybe 80 is too much for me.i have had three cardiologist tell me that they don’t put a lot of credence into the CAC score , they say it doesn’t accurately define the true situation hard vs soft plaque etc. but yet they all want you to get the test. I don’t know. Scary. I try everyday to block it out lol. So happy to hear your wife is great ! Have a great weekend and thx again . Seriously. That. B.

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@bigbern read my reply to nyartist

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@bluesdoc

Sure, Martin. Also, statins are different. I was initially started on the standby – atorvastatin – and my hepatic and muscle enzymes went nuts. At a later date, I tried pitavastatin, low dose, and did fine, and have for 3 years. So far……. Also, just to be clear, despite practicing clinical (mostly in the trenches) medicine for ~45 years, I offer no recommendations here. My only dog in this hunt is my own aging and beaten body. If we really knew what to do, we'd all be doing it…… jon

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Glad you pointed out that you're sharing yourself with us, Jon @bluesdoc, and not providing medical advice particular to any of our members. Those of us who have been around Mayo Connect a while have learned that we don't offer diagnoses or recommend medical treatments, but instead share with everybody our personal perspectives on our medical hopes and medical care. That way we can each compare our situation with others and figure out how to put that information on the discussion table with our own medical team. Thanks for joining us in this venture.

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@botexas

Hello chip. Wish my score was 510 instead of 2500. Iam 75 years old and have been on satins for 10 years. Hdl is 78,ldl is 72 and tri is 60. Had all test,necular stress test scored 13 Mets,which means I performed equal to a 24 year old. Even with this high score,my blood flow in the three main arteries is 91%,87% and 87%. My heart function is 68%, which is very good for a 75 year old man. My doctor says that my performance is credited to my active lifestyle. I go to gym everyday for about 90 minutes of strenuous exercise. I never stop for the entire time there,either doing aerobics or weights. I no longer eat red meat,fried foods so very few sweets. Doc says my arteries have expanded to keep blood flow pumping. I average 22,000 steps a day on my Fitbit,which is about 12 miles. Hope this helps,I feel exercise is key. Good luck.

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@botexas. I have to assume that based on what I'm reading from others, mine will be up around 2500 when I'm 75 as well, even if doing everything right. It's great what you're doing. Keep that up but be careful not to injure yourself. That can set you back a bit.
On another note, Had dinner with my father-in-law the other day. He was told he had 95% blockage in one of his arteries about 20 years ago. He was always thin, plays tennis 4 times a week, and he thought he ate well. He decided back then to go totally no fat and for years kept his total daily fat intake to less than 20 grams. He did it for years. When he ended up at the hot dog stand he would order the hot dog with the works, w/o the hot dog, or when the pizza came, he would take the cheese off. Extremely committed. His doctor was shocked to see that he actually reduced his blockage after a couple years. As of today, he still takes a relatively low dose statin, but still plays tennis 4 times a week, still works on his feet as a land surveyer, plays drums in a band, sails his boat, takes classes on just about everything, probably puts 20,000 miles on his van a year, going from one thing to another (still a very good driver), and still as sharp as a tack. One thing he does not do, is sit in front of the TV for any length of time.. By the way…he just turned 94.

Liked by botexas

REPLY
@ochip

@botexas. I have to assume that based on what I'm reading from others, mine will be up around 2500 when I'm 75 as well, even if doing everything right. It's great what you're doing. Keep that up but be careful not to injure yourself. That can set you back a bit.
On another note, Had dinner with my father-in-law the other day. He was told he had 95% blockage in one of his arteries about 20 years ago. He was always thin, plays tennis 4 times a week, and he thought he ate well. He decided back then to go totally no fat and for years kept his total daily fat intake to less than 20 grams. He did it for years. When he ended up at the hot dog stand he would order the hot dog with the works, w/o the hot dog, or when the pizza came, he would take the cheese off. Extremely committed. His doctor was shocked to see that he actually reduced his blockage after a couple years. As of today, he still takes a relatively low dose statin, but still plays tennis 4 times a week, still works on his feet as a land surveyer, plays drums in a band, sails his boat, takes classes on just about everything, probably puts 20,000 miles on his van a year, going from one thing to another (still a very good driver), and still as sharp as a tack. One thing he does not do, is sit in front of the TV for any length of time.. By the way…he just turned 94.

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@ochip congrats to your father-in-law its important to keep going when we,re older the younger people need to take lessons I live in a senior building one of the guys is 93 and works everyday as a crossing guard.A few yrs ago he was in a bad accident but he bounced right back

REPLY
@ochip

@botexas. I have to assume that based on what I'm reading from others, mine will be up around 2500 when I'm 75 as well, even if doing everything right. It's great what you're doing. Keep that up but be careful not to injure yourself. That can set you back a bit.
On another note, Had dinner with my father-in-law the other day. He was told he had 95% blockage in one of his arteries about 20 years ago. He was always thin, plays tennis 4 times a week, and he thought he ate well. He decided back then to go totally no fat and for years kept his total daily fat intake to less than 20 grams. He did it for years. When he ended up at the hot dog stand he would order the hot dog with the works, w/o the hot dog, or when the pizza came, he would take the cheese off. Extremely committed. His doctor was shocked to see that he actually reduced his blockage after a couple years. As of today, he still takes a relatively low dose statin, but still plays tennis 4 times a week, still works on his feet as a land surveyer, plays drums in a band, sails his boat, takes classes on just about everything, probably puts 20,000 miles on his van a year, going from one thing to another (still a very good driver), and still as sharp as a tack. One thing he does not do, is sit in front of the TV for any length of time.. By the way…he just turned 94.

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Had apt. with cardiologist on Fri. Nov. 2. Told him I have not seen cardiologist since 2010 and wanted to get some idea where I might be today as far as coronary artery plaque might be. He did ekg asked a lot of questions listened to my heart carefully and ordered a nuclear stress test for this coming Thurs. to get updated benchmark. He said I was doing everything right as far as cardio and strength exercise 3 times per week. I have also lost between 25 and 30 lbs since January this year and my bmi is now overweight instead of obese. I actually did a lot of that weight loss because I had a total knee replacement surgery coming up which I had done on June 25th. I don't plan on giving back one lb. of that weight loss. 5ft. 6in. 173 lbs clothes and shoes on is fine with doc as far as weight goes. Fingers crossed. Doc. thought it was good that doing 40 mins cardio getting to 80-85% max. heart rate caused no warning signs.

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@jimk849

Had apt. with cardiologist on Fri. Nov. 2. Told him I have not seen cardiologist since 2010 and wanted to get some idea where I might be today as far as coronary artery plaque might be. He did ekg asked a lot of questions listened to my heart carefully and ordered a nuclear stress test for this coming Thurs. to get updated benchmark. He said I was doing everything right as far as cardio and strength exercise 3 times per week. I have also lost between 25 and 30 lbs since January this year and my bmi is now overweight instead of obese. I actually did a lot of that weight loss because I had a total knee replacement surgery coming up which I had done on June 25th. I don't plan on giving back one lb. of that weight loss. 5ft. 6in. 173 lbs clothes and shoes on is fine with doc as far as weight goes. Fingers crossed. Doc. thought it was good that doing 40 mins cardio getting to 80-85% max. heart rate caused no warning signs.

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@jimk849 good for you Im going to cardio today for doppler Dr.wants to hear how blood flowing from heart my cholesterol is still high ,since my by pass in 1996 had problems with it.

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@lioness

@jimk849 good for you Im going to cardio today for doppler Dr.wants to hear how blood flowing from heart my cholesterol is still high ,since my by pass in 1996 had problems with it.

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All the best to you. I hope you have a great test result. Much of cholesterol is genetic and it is hard to improve those numbers by a large degree. Diet exercise and statins is my program but the numbers don't get to where I want them. Good luck today.

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@lioness

@jimk849 good for you Im going to cardio today for doppler Dr.wants to hear how blood flowing from heart my cholesterol is still high ,since my by pass in 1996 had problems with it.

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Had nuclear stress test last Thurs. Nurse called yesterday results normal. Doctors note on results was keep exercise up and keep weight down. See doc. again in one year continue atorvastatin and lisinopril.

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