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

@amandaburnett

Hi @jackandjill88 I'd like to welcome you to Mayo Clinic Connect. You will see that I moved your comment to a previous discussion that has been started about the Heart Calcium Test. This allows you to connect with other members of Connect that are going through the same experiences and a great way to read others stories. Here on Connect we are not medical professionals and cannot offer medical advice, but we can offer stories,health experiences and compassion. I am so sorry you are worried about the risk of a heart attack due to your recent heart calcium score. I'd like to invite @pcspetpro, @bluesdoc, @mark430, @botexas, @bradmm, and @thankful back to the conversation to perhaps offer some insight.

Can you share with us what your score was? Is this the first time you have had a CAC test done?

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Yes, to comment with any meaning, it'd be good to know the CAC score, lipids, other risk factors including BP issues, smoking, family history, personal history of coronary or other significant illness, meds used, exercise level and tolerance…… ie, what your doc would want to know. Though this forum is not for medical professionals, I just happen to be one and the not-so-proud owner of a sky-high CAC level. jon

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@amandaburnett

Hi @jackandjill88 I'd like to welcome you to Mayo Clinic Connect. You will see that I moved your comment to a previous discussion that has been started about the Heart Calcium Test. This allows you to connect with other members of Connect that are going through the same experiences and a great way to read others stories. Here on Connect we are not medical professionals and cannot offer medical advice, but we can offer stories,health experiences and compassion. I am so sorry you are worried about the risk of a heart attack due to your recent heart calcium score. I'd like to invite @pcspetpro, @bluesdoc, @mark430, @botexas, @bradmm, and @thankful back to the conversation to perhaps offer some insight.

Can you share with us what your score was? Is this the first time you have had a CAC test done?

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This is davej and my score was 2450 I think I eat right dont drink or smoke ride bike or walk every day eat veggies and fruit try to eat wild caught fish and grass fed beef limited and free range chickens nobody knows why score is so high maybe statins I'm takin

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@elwood

Have not had a cac test. Maybe needed ? Makes sense from what have read. Have avoided radiation whole life since cumulative. Even argue with dentists over x rays. NO unless absolutely needed. Always opt for MRI over CT. From what read, cac involves a CT scan. A standard CT comes with a good dose of radiation. Know there are low dose CT's as well. Question -does anyone know if the CT for Calcium score test is a standard or low dose scan?

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Hello @elwood

To find out whether the CT for a calcium score is standard or low dose would be a good question to ask your cardiologist. Are you currently having symptoms that have concerned you, or your doctor, about your calcium score? Is there a family history of heart disease?

I also generally opt for an MRI over a CT as well but for some diagnoses, the CT is still the better choice. The risks from procedures are something that we all have to decide for ourselves. Often the risk of not knowing what might be going on in our body is greater than the risk of radiation i.e., the possibility of having an undiagnosed cardiovascular disease (which could lead to very serious heart problems) which could be treated if you understood what the problem is by doing a scan.

I'd be interested in hearing from you again.

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@davej

This is davej and my score was 2450 I think I eat right dont drink or smoke ride bike or walk every day eat veggies and fruit try to eat wild caught fish and grass fed beef limited and free range chickens nobody knows why score is so high maybe statins I'm takin

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Perhaps there is a family history of heart problems, @davej. If there is, this might explain why your calcium score is so high in spite of your healthy lifestyle.

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Hey everyone. There is a Facebook private group. Coronary Artery Calcification. Lots of great info, Studies, etc. also physicians with great input. Come check us out.

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Thanks. I wish that info were on this forum because I don’t Facebook!

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Try researching NIH.gov (National Health Institute). They have several studies showing that Vitamin K2 MK-7 helps reduce cardiac calcification.

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This looks like a old discussion but will reply and add my details and comments. I am a 67 yo f and recently had a ct ld calcium scan after I noticed a cartoid artery blockage on ultrasound. My scan result was 1852. I then ordered a NMR to evaluate the makeup of my LDL and just like I suspected my small dense LDL was over a 1000. I had been taking 40 mg of pravastatin for over 20 years. This was shocking to me as my LDL Total was always in the 70's as was my HDL with my triglycerides almost always under 100. This was a enigma. I consulted with my cardiologist and endocrinologist about this and inquired as what would be a good treatment plan. The cardiologist told me that they don't normally test for particle size and do calcium scans as if they find something there is no FDA approved treatment. Here I had been going along fat dum and happy thinking all my cholesterol testing done over the past 20+ years indicated that I had 1/2 the risk of a Mace and now to find out it exceeded 10x+ the
risk. The medical "standard of care" is a broken model. If I had not taken it on my own to grab my own care by the horns I would not know I was a walking time bomb. Addionally it is a little known secret buried deep in the bowls of the medical literature that statins INCREASE arterial calcium.

I now fear this calcium is also effecting my renal system as my eGFR has been falling and Creatine has been increasing. I have now scheduled a complete parathyroid and renal ultrasound and laboratory work up. To see if my suspicions are again correct.

PLEASE DON'T LET YOUR CARE BE ON AUTOPILOT.

To reinforce the medical "standard of care" model is severely broken I argued in great detail why stopping the PSA test was such a hairbrained idea. They eventually brought it back and told the medical school profs a big I told you so. You have to realize the standard of care model is nothing more than a crude attempt at a cost versus benefit and utilizes a VERY BROAD basket of individuals with no understanding of the fact we're unique!

Sincerely

Roberta Holmes

I have tried all the vitamins with no results. You may need megadoses of V-K to see results but wasn't willing to go that far. Most likely will try next the biophosphates. BTW there are very few true experts on this phenomenon in the world.

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Hello @robertaholmes and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Your message is a good one to advise other members to be very present and aware of their care and treatment plans. It sounds as though you have done considerable research that has kept you on top of both your level of health as well as what your lab results mean.

I see you mention that you have ordered a complete parathyroid and renal ultrasound and laboratory work up. When is that appointment?

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@robertaholmes

This looks like a old discussion but will reply and add my details and comments. I am a 67 yo f and recently had a ct ld calcium scan after I noticed a cartoid artery blockage on ultrasound. My scan result was 1852. I then ordered a NMR to evaluate the makeup of my LDL and just like I suspected my small dense LDL was over a 1000. I had been taking 40 mg of pravastatin for over 20 years. This was shocking to me as my LDL Total was always in the 70's as was my HDL with my triglycerides almost always under 100. This was a enigma. I consulted with my cardiologist and endocrinologist about this and inquired as what would be a good treatment plan. The cardiologist told me that they don't normally test for particle size and do calcium scans as if they find something there is no FDA approved treatment. Here I had been going along fat dum and happy thinking all my cholesterol testing done over the past 20+ years indicated that I had 1/2 the risk of a Mace and now to find out it exceeded 10x+ the
risk. The medical "standard of care" is a broken model. If I had not taken it on my own to grab my own care by the horns I would not know I was a walking time bomb. Addionally it is a little known secret buried deep in the bowls of the medical literature that statins INCREASE arterial calcium.

I now fear this calcium is also effecting my renal system as my eGFR has been falling and Creatine has been increasing. I have now scheduled a complete parathyroid and renal ultrasound and laboratory work up. To see if my suspicions are again correct.

PLEASE DON'T LET YOUR CARE BE ON AUTOPILOT.

To reinforce the medical "standard of care" model is severely broken I argued in great detail why stopping the PSA test was such a hairbrained idea. They eventually brought it back and told the medical school profs a big I told you so. You have to realize the standard of care model is nothing more than a crude attempt at a cost versus benefit and utilizes a VERY BROAD basket of individuals with no understanding of the fact we're unique!

Sincerely

Roberta Holmes

I have tried all the vitamins with no results. You may need megadoses of V-K to see results but wasn't willing to go that far. Most likely will try next the biophosphates. BTW there are very few true experts on this phenomenon in the world.

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I have not been following this thread but then I read your post above and boys does that open my eyes! I have had high cholesterol all my adult life, very high. But every time I tried statins I had horrible leg pains etc. so refused to take them. In 2018 I had a calcium score done and it was zero, much to my surprise. Then in 2019 I was diagnosed with diastolic dysfunction started seeing a new cardiologist who put me on Pravastatin and Zetia. I do not seem to have the symptoms I have had in the past from taking statins so I thought OK, this is great I will lower my cholesterol and not have a lot of bad side effects. After reading your post I researched this information about statins increasing arterial calcium and boy are you right! Talk about deep dark secrets! And then I found an article that said people with a zero calcium score are found to not benefit at all from taking statins. I’m stopping today! I hate all of this stuff. Thank you so much for posting that obscure bit of information and I’ll bet there are plenty of other people out there that are unaware of this fact

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@amandajro

Hello @robertaholmes and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Your message is a good one to advise other members to be very present and aware of their care and treatment plans. It sounds as though you have done considerable research that has kept you on top of both your level of health as well as what your lab results mean.

I see you mention that you have ordered a complete parathyroid and renal ultrasound and laboratory work up. When is that appointment?

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I have not set up the appointment yet as I am debating whether to get it done in Port Arthur 35 miles or Houston 130 miles. I am leaning towards PA due to covid but the radiologists are not as experienced. I will post my results once received.

Roberta

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Btw a little more technicolor. I started my adventure at the medical center in Houston after having a respiratory viral infection in August of 2013. (In retrospect now reminds me of covid) and it was the worst virus of my life. I had no cormobid conditions and was only taking pravastatin for moderately high cholesterol total 224. On September 4th I went in to Walgreens and received my flu and shingles vaccinations. In two to three weeks I developed ataxia, unstable blood pressure and pulse, hypothermia, pseudohypoxia, CFS, hypothyroidism,spacisity,hyperflexia,tremor …etc. Many more details to mention. I had consults with cardiology,neuroontology, neurology, movement disorders neurology..etc I underwent twelve weeks of physical therapy focused on learning to walk again. I finally determined what I needed to do to develop new neural pathways and added my therapy to the"standard of care". At the medical center I asked for a very experienced Internist to be assigned to coordinate my care with my specialist's and subspecialists. I was told by the largest medical complex in the world if I required that level of care I would have to go to either the Cleveland clinic or Mayo. The physicians in Houston apparently operate in silos and are not utilizing team medicine or coordinated care. It was at this moment I decided I would take on the complex technical role of coordining my care. I really didn't want the stress and learning required dealing with my own internal medical issues. My neurologist thought my condition most likely had a genetic makeup. I set off on educating myself in genetic engineering which I now feel confident in discussing the various detailed aspects of this developing subject. I took my genetic information discoveries to my various physicians and the overwhelming comments were this is not clinical but rather research and could tell by the light in a deer's eyes look I was not connecting.

I could go on and on about my medical center adventures. My current understanding of my condition (self diagnosed) is after having my URVI and stimulating my immune system with the vaccinations I developed Gillian's barre syndrome that consequently adversely effected my cerebral vermis and pungie cells as well as potential brainstem in involvement.

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@robertaholmes

Btw a little more technicolor. I started my adventure at the medical center in Houston after having a respiratory viral infection in August of 2013. (In retrospect now reminds me of covid) and it was the worst virus of my life. I had no cormobid conditions and was only taking pravastatin for moderately high cholesterol total 224. On September 4th I went in to Walgreens and received my flu and shingles vaccinations. In two to three weeks I developed ataxia, unstable blood pressure and pulse, hypothermia, pseudohypoxia, CFS, hypothyroidism,spacisity,hyperflexia,tremor …etc. Many more details to mention. I had consults with cardiology,neuroontology, neurology, movement disorders neurology..etc I underwent twelve weeks of physical therapy focused on learning to walk again. I finally determined what I needed to do to develop new neural pathways and added my therapy to the"standard of care". At the medical center I asked for a very experienced Internist to be assigned to coordinate my care with my specialist's and subspecialists. I was told by the largest medical complex in the world if I required that level of care I would have to go to either the Cleveland clinic or Mayo. The physicians in Houston apparently operate in silos and are not utilizing team medicine or coordinated care. It was at this moment I decided I would take on the complex technical role of coordining my care. I really didn't want the stress and learning required dealing with my own internal medical issues. My neurologist thought my condition most likely had a genetic makeup. I set off on educating myself in genetic engineering which I now feel confident in discussing the various detailed aspects of this developing subject. I took my genetic information discoveries to my various physicians and the overwhelming comments were this is not clinical but rather research and could tell by the light in a deer's eyes look I was not connecting.

I could go on and on about my medical center adventures. My current understanding of my condition (self diagnosed) is after having my URVI and stimulating my immune system with the vaccinations I developed Gillian's barre syndrome that consequently adversely effected my cerebral vermis and pungie cells as well as potential brainstem in involvement.

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Guillian-Barre Syndrome can have difficult-to-manage long-term effects. You are right, coordination of care is crucial with multiple issues and the current division of medical care into silos. Louise Aronson, MD, has written a full-length book, Elderhood, that addressed this issue as she discusses ageism in our society. Coordinating our own care can become a full-time job, but being advocates for ourselves is necessary to solve many medical issues. I have personally learned a lot about atherosclerosis in managing my own. It feels empowering to know that I have done the best I can to modify what is in my control–diet,exercise, medication–to stay well. Stress management is something I'm still working on, with some success.

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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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Im in the same boat, just got my calcium score of 384 a few months ago. My cardio had me get a stress test done and it was excellent. He upped and my to 40 from 20 and told me to see him again in a year. Im relatively healthy but started working out more and eating a lot healthier. Im cutting out saturated and trans fats from my diet, and weight loss is a secondary thought to heart health. I wish you well.

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@achilles50

Im in the same boat, just got my calcium score of 384 a few months ago. My cardio had me get a stress test done and it was excellent. He upped and my to 40 from 20 and told me to see him again in a year. Im relatively healthy but started working out more and eating a lot healthier. Im cutting out saturated and trans fats from my diet, and weight loss is a secondary thought to heart health. I wish you well.

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@achilles50, congrats on taking charge and making healthy lifestyle choices for your heart's sake. I bet you're experiencing benefits beyond a healthy heart. Was it hard to make the changes? What benefits keep you on track?

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