High Calcium Score

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

@keithl56

The calcium in the blood is not what to be concerned about The CT that identifies the calcified plaque is indicative of coronary artery disease, depending on the score. It is important to note that only about 20% of plaque is calcified, so you actually have 5 times the amount of plaque.

Unfortunately it is not possible to differentiate between stable and unstable plaque at this time. I haven't seen any study that says calcified plaque is more stable. There are two concerns with CAD. First is the stenosis which is the actual blocking of the arteries. At least with this there is a good chance of having warning signs with this and once you are symptomatic you have treatment options. However, if you have a plaque rupture you can end up with a sudden major cardio event or stroke.

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@keithl56 23 yrs ago I had a triple by pass Plaque in arteries 85%,90,95% Dr said it was calcified calcium

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I am 65 years old and 7 years ago had a Calcium score of 50 with high BP and high cholesterol. Dr put me on BP medicine and atorvastatin. 5 yrs later my score tripled to 150 so doctor doubled my statin. An additional 2 yrs later and my score is now 368. My lipids are perfect LDL is 27, HDL 65-70, Triclyceride 55, Total Cholesterol less than 100. BP is 115/75. Do not smoke, no alcohol, exercise 45 minutes per day, low fat diet, and plenty of fruits and veggies. Doctor ordered CRP and Homocysteine tests and both were normal. He also upped my statin to 80mg and I'm not sure that was necessary as my lipids above were at the 40mg dosage. His only suggestion is that I repeat my Calcium scoring test in 1-2 years. I'm looking for suggestions on how to identify the root cause of the increase in my calcium score.

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@sjnohl

I am 65 years old and 7 years ago had a Calcium score of 50 with high BP and high cholesterol. Dr put me on BP medicine and atorvastatin. 5 yrs later my score tripled to 150 so doctor doubled my statin. An additional 2 yrs later and my score is now 368. My lipids are perfect LDL is 27, HDL 65-70, Triclyceride 55, Total Cholesterol less than 100. BP is 115/75. Do not smoke, no alcohol, exercise 45 minutes per day, low fat diet, and plenty of fruits and veggies. Doctor ordered CRP and Homocysteine tests and both were normal. He also upped my statin to 80mg and I'm not sure that was necessary as my lipids above were at the 40mg dosage. His only suggestion is that I repeat my Calcium scoring test in 1-2 years. I'm looking for suggestions on how to identify the root cause of the increase in my calcium score.

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Hi @sjnohl and welcome to Connect. You'll notice that I moved your message to this active discussion about high calcium score so that you can meet others talking about this topic on Connect. If you click VIEW & REPLY in the email notification you can read through past experiences.
I'm confident that other members will share their experiences to help you identify the root cause of increasing calcium scores. That you supply details of your heart health history will help other members find parallels to their experiences.

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@sjnohl

I am 65 years old and 7 years ago had a Calcium score of 50 with high BP and high cholesterol. Dr put me on BP medicine and atorvastatin. 5 yrs later my score tripled to 150 so doctor doubled my statin. An additional 2 yrs later and my score is now 368. My lipids are perfect LDL is 27, HDL 65-70, Triclyceride 55, Total Cholesterol less than 100. BP is 115/75. Do not smoke, no alcohol, exercise 45 minutes per day, low fat diet, and plenty of fruits and veggies. Doctor ordered CRP and Homocysteine tests and both were normal. He also upped my statin to 80mg and I'm not sure that was necessary as my lipids above were at the 40mg dosage. His only suggestion is that I repeat my Calcium scoring test in 1-2 years. I'm looking for suggestions on how to identify the root cause of the increase in my calcium score.

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@sjnohl Do you take calcium supplements?

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@lioness

@sjnohl Do you take calcium supplements?

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No

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@lioness

@sjnohl Do you take calcium supplements?

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I do not take calcium supplements.

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@sjnohl

I do not take calcium supplements.

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Yes I do take 1500 mgs of Calcium plus Vitamin D. I have been diagnosed with Osteoporosis, so I also have to be aware of how I feel!

Liked by lioness

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Like so many others on this site I was found to have an enormous calcium score -2316. I had a stress test and as the doc said I aced it.. So a problematic stress test will indicate 70% or greater blockage. So my blockage could be 69% or way lower. I have no idea. After getting that calcium score I went to Colorado for a hiking trip and stressed my heart to the max with zero symptoms. My blood pressure is normal and my HDL is very good, I've been exercising all my life and eating well. The first thing my cardiologist did was put me on 20 mg of Lipitor and baby aspirin. I since quit the aspirin because of some studies I read that concerned me. I think the statin for now is still a good idea because I understand it can limit inflammation and maybe even stabilize the calcium. But at the same time I started working with a holistic practitioner who's been working with my wife for years (she has ovarian cancer and is responding great). He has me on some supplements like K2, Magnesium, fish oil, anthyocyanins and two other supplements that he's developed. I'm giving it a try but I would really love to find a cardiologist that doesn't have a negative attitude toward supplements. I live in NYC and am looking high and low.

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@nyartist

Like so many others on this site I was found to have an enormous calcium score -2316. I had a stress test and as the doc said I aced it.. So a problematic stress test will indicate 70% or greater blockage. So my blockage could be 69% or way lower. I have no idea. After getting that calcium score I went to Colorado for a hiking trip and stressed my heart to the max with zero symptoms. My blood pressure is normal and my HDL is very good, I've been exercising all my life and eating well. The first thing my cardiologist did was put me on 20 mg of Lipitor and baby aspirin. I since quit the aspirin because of some studies I read that concerned me. I think the statin for now is still a good idea because I understand it can limit inflammation and maybe even stabilize the calcium. But at the same time I started working with a holistic practitioner who's been working with my wife for years (she has ovarian cancer and is responding great). He has me on some supplements like K2, Magnesium, fish oil, anthyocyanins and two other supplements that he's developed. I'm giving it a try but I would really love to find a cardiologist that doesn't have a negative attitude toward supplements. I live in NYC and am looking high and low.

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@nyartist. Good for you

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Have you done threadmill stress test? Which stage reached? What about
Carotid ultra sound scan?
Your arterial plaque calcification could be harden n pushing outward hence your blood flow is still OK. I presume you have done cardio CT scan?. The scan pictures will show if the calcification
Is narrowing the arteries or push outwards… with high calcium score you are likely to have Calcification all over the body including your abdomen aorta … abdomen ultra sound scan will reveal if there is calcification, if yes measure the bulge to determine the extent of aortic aneurysm…an important risk factor.
Good luck
Bock

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@keithl56

The calcium in the blood is not what to be concerned about The CT that identifies the calcified plaque is indicative of coronary artery disease, depending on the score. It is important to note that only about 20% of plaque is calcified, so you actually have 5 times the amount of plaque.

Unfortunately it is not possible to differentiate between stable and unstable plaque at this time. I haven't seen any study that says calcified plaque is more stable. There are two concerns with CAD. First is the stenosis which is the actual blocking of the arteries. At least with this there is a good chance of having warning signs with this and once you are symptomatic you have treatment options. However, if you have a plaque rupture you can end up with a sudden major cardio event or stroke.

Jump to this post

Hi @tim1028,

I can completely understand your worry – any news concerning the heart can be so scary! I'd like to offer some information, provided by Cardiology at Mayo Clinic:

Calcification in the coronaries indicates coronary artery disease – if you do have calcium, you have plaque. Having a stress test is a good start, not to discern whether the plaque is normal or not, but to inform whether a person is at greater risk to have a heart attack.

To further explain…
Previous studies have shown that calcified, or stable plaque, is less prone to rupture than non-calcified, or soft plaque.
Calcium scoring measures how much calcified plaque a person has, but it doesn't measure non-calcified or soft plaque. A CT is accurate in detecting high calcification volumes, but may not tell whether that plaque is vulnerable or not.

Until then, the best way to predict whether calcification in the coronaries will result in a heart attack is to do stress testing. With plaque, even if the stress test is normal, aggressive risk factor modification is recommended – stop smoking, engage in an exercise regimen, and aggressive management of diabetes and hypertension, and lowering of total cholesterol, especially bad cholesterol (LDL) is recommended. If the CT scan shows no coronary calcium on CT scan, your cardiologist will recommend that you be periodically reassessed.

To summarize, if you have negative coronary calcium, the chances of you developing a heart attack are small. If you have a positive scan – then yes – we don’t know who will develop a heart attack amongst these patients, but stress testing will help differentiate. There are new diagnostic tests that have been developed to assess plaque vulnerability (the plaque that is likely to rupture and result in a heart attack), and clinical trials to show that a coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) can capture the full anatomy of the coronary arteries in a single heartbeat, and can provide a picture of the total amount of plaque throughout the arteries of the heart. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/316408.php

@tim1028, I encourage you to watch these videos where Mayo Clinic cardiologists offer detailed information; I sincerely hope this will help alleviate some of your concerns:
– Coronary Calcium Score: Basics and Beyond

– The Pathogenesis of Plaque Rupture (Vulnerable Plaque)

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@kanaazpereira

Hi @tim1028,

I can completely understand your worry – any news concerning the heart can be so scary! I'd like to offer some information, provided by Cardiology at Mayo Clinic:

Calcification in the coronaries indicates coronary artery disease – if you do have calcium, you have plaque. Having a stress test is a good start, not to discern whether the plaque is normal or not, but to inform whether a person is at greater risk to have a heart attack.

To further explain…
Previous studies have shown that calcified, or stable plaque, is less prone to rupture than non-calcified, or soft plaque.
Calcium scoring measures how much calcified plaque a person has, but it doesn't measure non-calcified or soft plaque. A CT is accurate in detecting high calcification volumes, but may not tell whether that plaque is vulnerable or not.

Until then, the best way to predict whether calcification in the coronaries will result in a heart attack is to do stress testing. With plaque, even if the stress test is normal, aggressive risk factor modification is recommended – stop smoking, engage in an exercise regimen, and aggressive management of diabetes and hypertension, and lowering of total cholesterol, especially bad cholesterol (LDL) is recommended. If the CT scan shows no coronary calcium on CT scan, your cardiologist will recommend that you be periodically reassessed.

To summarize, if you have negative coronary calcium, the chances of you developing a heart attack are small. If you have a positive scan – then yes – we don’t know who will develop a heart attack amongst these patients, but stress testing will help differentiate. There are new diagnostic tests that have been developed to assess plaque vulnerability (the plaque that is likely to rupture and result in a heart attack), and clinical trials to show that a coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) can capture the full anatomy of the coronary arteries in a single heartbeat, and can provide a picture of the total amount of plaque throughout the arteries of the heart. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/316408.php

@tim1028, I encourage you to watch these videos where Mayo Clinic cardiologists offer detailed information; I sincerely hope this will help alleviate some of your concerns:
– Coronary Calcium Score: Basics and Beyond

– The Pathogenesis of Plaque Rupture (Vulnerable Plaque)

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I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a good result from my Stress/Echo test this Thursday. I feel like a sinking ship with no freight to throw overboard. Any heart-healthy changes in lifestyle were made long ago. The plaque is already deposited and isn't going away. I'm guessing I'll be put on high-dose statins and maybe a daily aspirin. Or, if I have a major blockage, a stent or two. The calcium score is high in the right circumflex artery–1200–and the LAD–250.

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@tim1028

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a good result from my Stress/Echo test this Thursday. I feel like a sinking ship with no freight to throw overboard. Any heart-healthy changes in lifestyle were made long ago. The plaque is already deposited and isn't going away. I'm guessing I'll be put on high-dose statins and maybe a daily aspirin. Or, if I have a major blockage, a stent or two. The calcium score is high in the right circumflex artery–1200–and the LAD–250.

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My LAD score was 1300 alone and my total score was 2996. I got an angiogram which showed most of the calcium was in the walls of the arteries and the blood flow was good- no stents needed. So keep hoping- try not to worry. You may be ok

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@dpframing

My LAD score was 1300 alone and my total score was 2996. I got an angiogram which showed most of the calcium was in the walls of the arteries and the blood flow was good- no stents needed. So keep hoping- try not to worry. You may be ok

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@dpframing how is the angiogram administered and does it find things that the cardiac CT scan doesn't find? I had the high score on calcium and would like to take the next step to find out about blood flow.

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The angiogram is the best thing out there to check for CAD. Painless – I fell asleep during mine and woke up wen it was over. It’s a movie of how much narrowing or blockages there are in the coronary srteries

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