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.

@suchasmed1

Ok, I know it's not a contest, and I'm very new to the high calcium club. I haven't read all the posts, so I don't know for sure what the highest score is, but I was called today within 2 hours of the test with my score of 6451.12.
First question to ricochet around my skull is "How am I alive?"
So far I haven't found anyone at this level to reassure me.
It is reassuring that a high score is not a grenade with the pin pulled, and that people are managing it.

So right now I have been scheduled for a consult with a cardiologist next Friday, March 8.
My pcp says the'll do a stress test and go from there.
59 3/4 y.o. Male
6'3", 270 lbs.
Last July had a physical
5.9 A1C
187 total cholesterol
161 Trigly
38 HDL
32 VLDL
117 LDL
Blood Pressure generally 120something over 80ish.
Just started going to the gym and am tolerating 20 mins cardio and 20 mins weights without pain or dizziness.
I get occasional dizziness when standing up suddenly, but no chest or side pain.

What can I expect in terms of testing and protocols in the weeks to come?
Apparently my risk is pretty high. Are they not being aggressive enough? I mean, a week?

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"My pcp says they'll do a stress test" Just a fyi….I was told that the stress test will not pick up any artery blockages less then 70%…..

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I have a calcium score of 2267 with no symptoms . Had a nuclear stress test yesterday. The treadmill test I believe went fine but have not heard back from the Dr. about the imaging. Still stressed but hoping imaging went well as maybe they would have called me by now? Anxiously waiting.

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@wisconsin2267

I have a calcium score of 2267 with no symptoms . Had a nuclear stress test yesterday. The treadmill test I believe went fine but have not heard back from the Dr. about the imaging. Still stressed but hoping imaging went well as maybe they would have called me by now? Anxiously waiting.

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I can relate to your anxiety. I'm in a similar situation with a CAC score of 1562 with no symptoms. I had a stress test with echocardiogram, which was normal, i.e., no blockages above 70%. I am now on a daily aspirin and a high dose statin. I have no risk factors other than a low HDL. I am currently trying to exercise and eat according to health-heart guidelines. Simply because 4 months has passed since I was tested and I am a lot more knowledgeable about coronary artery atherosclerosis, I am less anxious than I was, but there is still a low-volume steady anxiety that underlies daily life. I'm 70 and still hope live another 10 to 20 years.

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@tim1028

I can relate to your anxiety. I'm in a similar situation with a CAC score of 1562 with no symptoms. I had a stress test with echocardiogram, which was normal, i.e., no blockages above 70%. I am now on a daily aspirin and a high dose statin. I have no risk factors other than a low HDL. I am currently trying to exercise and eat according to health-heart guidelines. Simply because 4 months has passed since I was tested and I am a lot more knowledgeable about coronary artery atherosclerosis, I am less anxious than I was, but there is still a low-volume steady anxiety that underlies daily life. I'm 70 and still hope live another 10 to 20 years.

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You sound like me I also have a little low Hdl. What Statin are you on and how much? Thanks for your post it means a lot. The Nuclear imaging can only detect blockage if over 70% ?? That’s not too reassuring.

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The test that you had, a nuclear imaging stress test is different from what I had, because no radioactive dye was injected and the imaging was through echo ultrasound. I'm not sure how much blockage is necessary to make the test abnormal. You got tested, which is the right thing to do. Your cardiologist will review the results with you and formulate a reasonable treatment based on the results. I'm on Lipitor (atorvastatin) 40 mg, which both my PCP and cardiologist recommend. For purposes of full disclosure I am more anxious than most people and have been taking citalopram for anxiety for the last 10 years. It works well, but I also use techniques like cognitive behavior therapy to help with day-to-day generalized anxiety. Take care, hang in there, and take it a day at a time. There is some controversy regarding statins and there side effects, but for me it is the right path to follow and thankfully I am without side effects.

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@tim1028

The test that you had, a nuclear imaging stress test is different from what I had, because no radioactive dye was injected and the imaging was through echo ultrasound. I'm not sure how much blockage is necessary to make the test abnormal. You got tested, which is the right thing to do. Your cardiologist will review the results with you and formulate a reasonable treatment based on the results. I'm on Lipitor (atorvastatin) 40 mg, which both my PCP and cardiologist recommend. For purposes of full disclosure I am more anxious than most people and have been taking citalopram for anxiety for the last 10 years. It works well, but I also use techniques like cognitive behavior therapy to help with day-to-day generalized anxiety. Take care, hang in there, and take it a day at a time. There is some controversy regarding statins and there side effects, but for me it is the right path to follow and thankfully I am without side effects.

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Thank you Tim

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@tim1028

I can relate to your anxiety. I'm in a similar situation with a CAC score of 1562 with no symptoms. I had a stress test with echocardiogram, which was normal, i.e., no blockages above 70%. I am now on a daily aspirin and a high dose statin. I have no risk factors other than a low HDL. I am currently trying to exercise and eat according to health-heart guidelines. Simply because 4 months has passed since I was tested and I am a lot more knowledgeable about coronary artery atherosclerosis, I am less anxious than I was, but there is still a low-volume steady anxiety that underlies daily life. I'm 70 and still hope live another 10 to 20 years.

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What are your LDL, HDL & TRIGS? There is a lot of controversy about what is a heart healthy diet.

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@pcspetpro

What are your LDL, HDL & TRIGS? There is a lot of controversy about what is a heart healthy diet.

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LDL- 114. Hdl- 36. Triglycerides- 76. Total cholesterol- 165

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@pcspetpro

What are your LDL, HDL & TRIGS? There is a lot of controversy about what is a heart healthy diet.

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The cardiology professionals consider a diet that is low in saturated fat and abundant in fruits and vegetables–along the lines of a Mediterranean diet–is heart healthy. Recent studies show that a Vegan diet may be even better.

My numbers are Total Cholesterol 150, Triglycerides 120 LDL 95; HDL 28. Now that I am on a statin, my numbers are about half that, except for HDL, which stayed the same

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There is some disagreement amongst 'professionals' and it must be considered that doctors/cardiologists aren't trained in nutrician. There is also the question of how different individuals metabolize different macronutrients. For some people zero saturated fat and a high quantity of fruit could cause a problem. Some people get very sick on a vegetable, grain & fruit only diet. Making sure that one is getting the full spectrum of micronutrients & antioxidants is also extremely important. Overall health, energy and quality of life are all very important considerations. There is a high degree of 'participation' in figuring out what will work best for the individual. Ultimately the time and effort invested may work out better than following 'nutritional guidelines', or a diet one is told to follow by an 'authority'. Old health advise like low fat processed food, margarine, many highly processed seed oils, have been exposed as potentially causing health problems. There are many other causes of a high calcium score. Newer research questions the role nutritional cholesterol/saturated fat plays in the development of heart disease.

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I showed a calcium score of 1588 2 months ago. 2 arteries were above the 400 level. My PCP ordered a consultation with a cardiologist and this led to an angiogram performed in February. At my follow-up visit with the cardiologist the test results showed blockages no higher than 20%. I am 70, and he adjusted my medications, especially doubling the Lipitor dosage; took me off Tenormin, reduced the Cardura by half, and added Lisinopril and 81 mg aspirin tab. I am curious as to the high score and the relationship to the thyroid. Any experiences that are similar?

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