very high calcium score.

Posted by dpframing @dpframing, Aug 24, 2018

Just joined the site and I'm looking to share with others who have had a high calcium score. I found out today that mine is 2996 and I am scared by this. I am 61 and I am totally asymptomatic. Now I feel like a walking time bomb. I am thinking of requesting an angiogram to see if there's any narrowing anywhere and if it can be corrected with a stent. After a second heart doctor told me that the plaque buildup might be uniform over the course of years with no big problem areas, I am encouraged. But the score still freaks me out, specifically my LAD at 1333. I don't smoke or drink but I have to lose 40 lbs.

@real

I recently had a heart calcium ct scan which showed a high buildup of calcium and the lower arteries at the request of my primary physician. He then sent me to a cardiologist who had me go through a nuclear stress test which was completely normal. So two tests with opposite results which make me wonder about the value of either test. My primary physician told me his father went through the stress test with normal results and had a heart attack shortly thereafter. It would appear that some physicians that request the heart calcium ct scan do not know what the results mean. At this point I am not sure what to do further as I am being told to sit tight as everything appears OK for now. Has anyone gone through a similar situation and if so, what was the further action?

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@real Sorry you didn't get anything positive 23 yrs ago my Dr sent me to a cardiologist after listening to my symptoms he sent me into hospital for a heart catheterization where this showed I had blockages in 3arteries so had a triple by pass this year will be 23 years I'm doing fine so if you feel something isnt right be proactive you are your best advocate

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What was your calcium score (mine is over 1000)? The CT just quantifies the amount of calcified plaque in your arteries (usually only 20 is calcified so you probably have 5 times the amount of plaque). The stress test measure whether the plaque is causing stenosis (blockage) which if over 70% usually results in a stent. The fact that you had a good stress test means your heart is getting enough blood, but the fact that you have so much plaques means that if it ruptures you could have a piece break off and cause a heart attack or stroke. I'm in the same boat. As long as you are asymptomatic the treatment is really just healthy lifestyle changes and meds and cross your fingers! Now that you know you are at risk you know not to treat any symptoms lightly and head to the ER as soon as you feel anything unusual.

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@real

I recently had a heart calcium ct scan which showed a high buildup of calcium and the lower arteries at the request of my primary physician. He then sent me to a cardiologist who had me go through a nuclear stress test which was completely normal. So two tests with opposite results which make me wonder about the value of either test. My primary physician told me his father went through the stress test with normal results and had a heart attack shortly thereafter. It would appear that some physicians that request the heart calcium ct scan do not know what the results mean. At this point I am not sure what to do further as I am being told to sit tight as everything appears OK for now. Has anyone gone through a similar situation and if so, what was the further action?

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Hi @real

I see that this was your first post on Connect, welcome!

I am sorry to hear of your confusion between the two doctors. That is really frustrating isn't it?

If you are comfortable sharing more, what type of symptoms were you having prior to learning about the high calcium score?

As @lioness said in her post, it is important to be your own advocate, especially if you have a concern. Please remember that it is always your right to get a second opinion in order to put your mind at ease.

Have you considered another seeing another cardiologist for a second opinion?

Liked by lioness

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I had no symptoms at all but my Dad died at age 60 from atherosclerosis so my primary doctor suggested I have the ct heart calcium scan which showed a result of 579 and said I was worse than 70% in my age group. He then sent me to a cardiologist who suggested taking a nuclear stress test and the results were very normal. Hence the confusion. I plan to pursue this a little further and will explore going to the Mayo Clinic. Other than that both of my doctors said to continue on my diet, take aspirin and the statin and I should be fine. Somehow that did not alleviate my anxiety.

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That is very understandable, @real.

Having a family history where your dad died at age 60 is certainly a serious consideration for you. You are wise to continue to seek answers and be your own advocate. By the way, how old are you currently?

Liked by lioness

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I just turned 73 and figure that I now have outlived my Dad by 13 years. His diet was not healthy and not much exercise which is opposite of me, so I hope that by living better will extend my life further. But you can't escape family history and genes unfortunately.

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Yes, @real

It looks as if your healthy lifestyle has given you more years!

Liked by lioness

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Here is a follow-up post on my situation. My calcium score is 1562. I have no other risk factors for CAD except a low HDL. I got the results back from the stress test with echocardiogram: Normal. My primary doctor is putting me on Lipitor 40 mg, then will monitor liver enzymes, glucose, etc. There really is little else I can do, but I feel relieved to be on a statin, despite the negative side effect reports. i also will exercise more intensely and try to pay more attention to my diet, which is Mediterranean. Any other suggestions from others?

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@fedoramenorah

In 2008 my 58 year old husband had a coronary CT scan. Results were: Volume130- LMA 9, LAD 458, LCX 161, RCA 577 PDA 0 (Total 1205). AJ-130- LMA 12,LAD 601, LCX 185, RCA 630 PDA 0 (Total 1428). Another scan performed this November 2018 and total result was 4410. We don't yet have detailed results for LMA, LAD, etc. For the past 2 years he has been exercising daily 1 hr on elliptical, eating low carb high protein diet, drinks 1+ oz. alcohol daily. 6'2", 195 lbs. Has been on statins for 20+ years. His father died of heart attack at age 56 and grandfather likely died of same at age 38. He will likely be referred to a cardiologist soon. What are the options for treatment, if any, going forth?

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Are there any arterial blockages? What is the statin dose? Is blood pressure high? How much protein per day?

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@fedoramenorah

In 2008 my 58 year old husband had a coronary CT scan. Results were: Volume130- LMA 9, LAD 458, LCX 161, RCA 577 PDA 0 (Total 1205). AJ-130- LMA 12,LAD 601, LCX 185, RCA 630 PDA 0 (Total 1428). Another scan performed this November 2018 and total result was 4410. We don't yet have detailed results for LMA, LAD, etc. For the past 2 years he has been exercising daily 1 hr on elliptical, eating low carb high protein diet, drinks 1+ oz. alcohol daily. 6'2", 195 lbs. Has been on statins for 20+ years. His father died of heart attack at age 56 and grandfather likely died of same at age 38. He will likely be referred to a cardiologist soon. What are the options for treatment, if any, going forth?

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Taking low dose of BP med. 40 mg statin . I had to have an angiogram- no stents needed. Calcium was in the walls of the arteries – like my md suspected. From a previous event – no heart stack but I did abuse amphetamine was I was younger.

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@fedoramenorah

In 2008 my 58 year old husband had a coronary CT scan. Results were: Volume130- LMA 9, LAD 458, LCX 161, RCA 577 PDA 0 (Total 1205). AJ-130- LMA 12,LAD 601, LCX 185, RCA 630 PDA 0 (Total 1428). Another scan performed this November 2018 and total result was 4410. We don't yet have detailed results for LMA, LAD, etc. For the past 2 years he has been exercising daily 1 hr on elliptical, eating low carb high protein diet, drinks 1+ oz. alcohol daily. 6'2", 195 lbs. Has been on statins for 20+ years. His father died of heart attack at age 56 and grandfather likely died of same at age 38. He will likely be referred to a cardiologist soon. What are the options for treatment, if any, going forth?

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Seeing a cardiologist is a good idea. Unstable plaques seem to be the biggest danger for heart attacks. The calcium is stabilizing factor in plaque. Low carb high protein can cause problems for some people. There is still a huge online debate about 'fat' and heart disease. You are invited to join The High CAC Club facebook.com/groups/ 2390693934337849/ A place to discuss and share knowledge.
Accumulating evidence pose new horizons for the study, understanding and treatment of atherosclerotic lesions.

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@pcspetpro

Are there any arterial blockages? What is the statin dose? Is blood pressure high? How much protein per day?

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No idea about arterial blockages. BP is good (low 120's/low 70's) Statin dose: Ezetimibe/Simvast 10/40 1x per day. Protein appx 60 g

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@fedoramenorah

In 2008 my 58 year old husband had a coronary CT scan. Results were: Volume130- LMA 9, LAD 458, LCX 161, RCA 577 PDA 0 (Total 1205). AJ-130- LMA 12,LAD 601, LCX 185, RCA 630 PDA 0 (Total 1428). Another scan performed this November 2018 and total result was 4410. We don't yet have detailed results for LMA, LAD, etc. For the past 2 years he has been exercising daily 1 hr on elliptical, eating low carb high protein diet, drinks 1+ oz. alcohol daily. 6'2", 195 lbs. Has been on statins for 20+ years. His father died of heart attack at age 56 and grandfather likely died of same at age 38. He will likely be referred to a cardiologist soon. What are the options for treatment, if any, going forth?

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Next step will probably be a stress test, and if that indicates any blockages a cath may be done and further procedures like stents or bypass may be indicated. I do know someone who had a score of 1100 and was apparently healthy and asymptomatic and his cardiologist went straight to a cath which led to an immediate double bypass. A lot depends not only on your husband's actual condition but on how aggressive the cardiologist is in his treatment approach. The anxiety and stress in this situation can be hard on the patient and on the spouse so make sure that you are aware of the mental affect and take care of yourselves. The important thing is that this was caught before he had any major event so that it can be fixed, Best of luck.

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@fedoramenorah

No idea about arterial blockages. BP is good (low 120's/low 70's) Statin dose: Ezetimibe/Simvast 10/40 1x per day. Protein appx 60 g

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60g of protein for a person who is 6'2", 195 lbs………….. is considered low protein.

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@keithl56

Next step will probably be a stress test, and if that indicates any blockages a cath may be done and further procedures like stents or bypass may be indicated. I do know someone who had a score of 1100 and was apparently healthy and asymptomatic and his cardiologist went straight to a cath which led to an immediate double bypass. A lot depends not only on your husband's actual condition but on how aggressive the cardiologist is in his treatment approach. The anxiety and stress in this situation can be hard on the patient and on the spouse so make sure that you are aware of the mental affect and take care of yourselves. The important thing is that this was caught before he had any major event so that it can be fixed, Best of luck.

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Thanks.

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