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

get your parathyroids checked…it can be done with an ultrasound

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@ihaq1

get your parathyroids checked…it can be done with an ultrasound

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dont worry …ask your doctor whether you should check your parathyroids…usually when u feel fine than that is the best that you can achieve… technically you dont even need any medication…if you still feel worried than get an echo test…that relieves one of some stress too

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parathyroidism and probably not taking vitamin D3 are generally the cause…however calcium has to come from somewhere…so take milk and other calcium products in moderation

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@mcristodero

I am 45 with a very high calcium score (a brother that had a heart attack at 45 and ended up needing a heart transplant and a cousin that just had a heart attack at 48, I am in the same boat- i have been taking lipitor for 8 years and they doubled it and added zetia, but i want more answers. I had a stress test and echo and it was normal. I feel like everyone is just waiting for something to happen.
For the rest of the group, this test measures buildup of plaque in the arteries of the heart not free floating calcium in your blood. It is used as a way to predict an elevated risk of heart attack and stroke. An elevated score shows a risk for a major event such as heart attack.or stroke within the next 5-10 years

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also take vitamin D3 which makes bones absorb calcium…necessary as u grow older

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@ihaq1

also take vitamin D3 which makes bones absorb calcium…necessary as u grow older

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HI @ihaq1, I see that you have recently joined Mayo Clinic Connect. Connect is an online community where people (patients and family caregivers) can share health experiences and ask each other questions and offer support. It is not a a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Members should get the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your health.

With that in mind, we ask that members do not tell other members what they should or must do. Please review the Community Guidelines (https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/about-connect/tab/community-guidelines/) The first guideline states:

1. Be careful about giving out medical advice
– Sharing your own experience is fine, but don't tell other members what they should do.

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@bluesdoc

OK, some results here. I had a stress treadmill and perfusion study, and they were fine. I did another CAC score and it is unchanged from a year ago at ~2600. I apparently wasted 3K on 20 chelation treatments. Oh well, I had to give it a try. I saw the article on minocycline possibly mitigating vascular calcium deposition. I assume most of you have come across it. I'll think about it. In the meantime, as I approach 73 years of age, I continue to take my statin and work out a lot. I'm otherwise going to do my best to not dwell on things I can't do anything about. None of us are gettin' out of here alive, so, carpe diem.
jon

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Hey Bluesdoc. I have read that your CAC score will naturally increase average of 20% per year. So perhaps those treatments were responsible for your zero increase?

It’s been a year for you, anything new? I had a CAC score in March of 725. Sent me for a nuclear stress test. Passed easily. No symptoms, play high level tennis, did the scan out of curiosity. Good cholesterol. Now on a statin, baby aspirin. Changed my diet to Mediterranean in March, now scanning the web for answers. How can I feel this good, work out with zero symptoms?

Now taking aged Garlic, Vit K2, fish oil, magnesium. My daughter, a nurse and nutrition nerd, says forget all the supplements, let your liver rest, and just be strict with the Mediterranean non inflammatory diet and relax. I am 65.

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I have a CAC of 979 from almost 2 years ago, I'm now 64 feel good and have no symptoms. There is probably more chance of liver stress/damage from the statins than from the suppliments you mentioned. You can't go wrong with anti inflammatory diet, exercise, relaxation and good sleep.

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@tennisplayer

Hey Bluesdoc. I have read that your CAC score will naturally increase average of 20% per year. So perhaps those treatments were responsible for your zero increase?

It’s been a year for you, anything new? I had a CAC score in March of 725. Sent me for a nuclear stress test. Passed easily. No symptoms, play high level tennis, did the scan out of curiosity. Good cholesterol. Now on a statin, baby aspirin. Changed my diet to Mediterranean in March, now scanning the web for answers. How can I feel this good, work out with zero symptoms?

Now taking aged Garlic, Vit K2, fish oil, magnesium. My daughter, a nurse and nutrition nerd, says forget all the supplements, let your liver rest, and just be strict with the Mediterranean non inflammatory diet and relax. I am 65.

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I'm not going to keep checking it. It's so high, and calcification isn't generally something that goes away in any tissue, I'm just resigned to it. But I'm guessing that it's not intimal, ie, it does NOT represent atheroma load. I, like you, have normal treadmill and perfusion studies. My horrendous allergy to contrast dye makes an elective angio out of the question. But we could have 60% lesions with no substantial flow deficit, so we'd seem fine WITH coronary artery disease. If that's the case, our best shot at dodging the reaper is to prevent further atheroma formation with exactly what we're doing. I'm not sure more exercise will prevent anything as I've been an exerciser – runner/strength, etc – all my adult life, and here we are. In my case, and you can't really use this for any sort of comparison, I have extremely high antibody levels to two species of Bartonella, a nasty bug that attacks endothelium (part of my Lyme plague). Inflammation there might very well be the stimulus for calcification. That whole facet of my medical story is not for here…. but, I'm working on it. Onward~~~~~~~>>. jon

btw, pcs – statins rarely do liver damage and when detected by regular lab monitoring, can often be mitigated by dose or type of statin change. In my case, I DID get liver and muscle injury from lipitor but NOT from Livalo. Details…… As always, choose your genes wisely and try not to age…… 🥴

Liked by thankful

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One other question……..all this hype about vitamin K2/MK7 dissolving calcified plaque……..any thoughts on vitamin K2/MK7 might destabilize the calcified plaque and make it more susceptible to a clot?

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Well, that's the party line re: Vit K – that it mobilizes Ca from vasculature to bone. In my study cohort n=1, I took very large quantities of K (Life Extension stuff) and after a few years, CAC still went up. Oh well….. The other thing to bear in mind is that statins stabilize plaque surface, reducing risk of rupture, by a mechanism independent of calcification. That's all I've got…. jon

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@bluesdoc

Well, that's the party line re: Vit K – that it mobilizes Ca from vasculature to bone. In my study cohort n=1, I took very large quantities of K (Life Extension stuff) and after a few years, CAC still went up. Oh well….. The other thing to bear in mind is that statins stabilize plaque surface, reducing risk of rupture, by a mechanism independent of calcification. That's all I've got…. jon

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Thanks for your input. Just trying to determine what supplements are worth wasting money, time, and liver metabolism on. I’ll probably stick with the tried and true………….Cabernet Sauvignon!

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I just came across a study reported in the Journal of the Endocrinology Society date May 15, 2020 indicating that they have found a difference between lipophilic and hydrophilic statins. Someone more knowledgeable (meaning anyone with any training) please confirm, but my take is that the lipophilic statins, more so than the hydrophilic statins, are related to decreased abiiity to metabolize glucose and increased aortic calcification.

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@bluesdoc

Good story, skypigg! We can all relate. And this underscores the reality (imho) that there is NOT a linear relationship between CAC score and obstructive plaque. If that were the case, we'd all be 6' under by now. Tangentially, I saw my cardiologist last week and he told me about a patient referred to him for cath because a patient had overwhelming anxiety about his CAC score of 275. He did the cath and the vessels were squeaky clean. He also said that they, cardiologists, tend to see problems with coronary disease in the </= 500 CAC range, but not so much above that range. Also, as another aside, I asked him how often they see STEMI (full tilt heart attack) in patients on statins with high CAC score. He said that regardless, they hardly ever see STEMIs when patients are on statins. At the local large hospital this past year, there were ~ 250 heart attacks. The number of those ON statins could be counted on one hand. We need to chill, guys. We do what we can, take our statins, do what we can to reduce systemic inflammation – another deep and wide subject – and get on with our lives without adding to the burden of this existence by fueling anxiety. As another fish in the sea with a CAC over 2500, despite having tried to live a health freak life, it is what it is. I had a nice cookie after my spaghetti dinner. My wife makes killer sauce and I enjoyed every bite.

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One thing is for sure, medial layer calcification is not well understood. I have seen three cardiologist about my high CAC score, and you would be surprised at how different their treatment recommendations were. One wanted to do the test again in two years, but another said to never take the test again. One wanted me on 20MG of Lipitor, the other two wanted me on 80 (I switch to 80). I am seeing a lipid specialist now, and will see him every six months. He said that I was an outlier at 54 years old with a CAC score of over 2700. Alot of people recommend to trust your doctor, but it's difficult to do that when I know they don't really know what my condition means or how it will manifest itself later. The best advice so far is to somehow just keep living, and be not be so worried about something I seemingly can't control. I am not an avid exerciser, but I try and walk as often as I can. I also lost alot of weight, and my blood pressure has been way better than it was. So.. I guess I press on.

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It seems important to find out if the high CAC Score is causing arterial blockages.

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@skypigg

One thing is for sure, medial layer calcification is not well understood. I have seen three cardiologist about my high CAC score, and you would be surprised at how different their treatment recommendations were. One wanted to do the test again in two years, but another said to never take the test again. One wanted me on 20MG of Lipitor, the other two wanted me on 80 (I switch to 80). I am seeing a lipid specialist now, and will see him every six months. He said that I was an outlier at 54 years old with a CAC score of over 2700. Alot of people recommend to trust your doctor, but it's difficult to do that when I know they don't really know what my condition means or how it will manifest itself later. The best advice so far is to somehow just keep living, and be not be so worried about something I seemingly can't control. I am not an avid exerciser, but I try and walk as often as I can. I also lost alot of weight, and my blood pressure has been way better than it was. So.. I guess I press on.

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The treatment plan. Is generally the same whoever you see. Take a statin but the correct dosage will depend on the doctor.

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