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.

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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Hello @fedoramenorah,

Agatston score is a measure of calcium or calcification detected by coronary CT calcium scan. Hence, I moved your discussion to this conversation, where you can meet the many members who are talking about high calcium score.
If you click on VIEW & REPLY in your email notification, you will see the whole discussion and can join in, meet, and participate with other members talking about their or their loved ones' experiences.

A high Agatston/calcium score does not mean that you will have a heart attack, only that there is a greater likelihood of having one than someone with a low score. Here’s an interesting Mayo Clinic article which I would encourage you to view:
https://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-professionals/cardiovascular-diseases/news/coronary-artery-calcium-score-are-we-doing-too-many-or-too-few/mcc-20438011

Liked by tim1028

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@kanaazpereira

Hello @fedoramenorah,

Agatston score is a measure of calcium or calcification detected by coronary CT calcium scan. Hence, I moved your discussion to this conversation, where you can meet the many members who are talking about high calcium score.
If you click on VIEW & REPLY in your email notification, you will see the whole discussion and can join in, meet, and participate with other members talking about their or their loved ones' experiences.

A high Agatston/calcium score does not mean that you will have a heart attack, only that there is a greater likelihood of having one than someone with a low score. Here’s an interesting Mayo Clinic article which I would encourage you to view:
https://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-professionals/cardiovascular-diseases/news/coronary-artery-calcium-score-are-we-doing-too-many-or-too-few/mcc-20438011

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Hi Kanaaz, Can you explain why the CAC score can go up when taking statins?

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Hi @pcspetpro,

I’m not a medical professional, hence would not be able to diagnose or weigh in on medical conditions or questions. What I can do, (at the risk of plying you with more reading:) is cite some recently published studies, which may provide reasonable explanation for us:

– Statins Promote Coronary Calcification? Study Says Yes, and It Might Be a Good Thing https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/842499
– Annual rate of coronary artery calcification with combination therapy (PCSK9 inhibitor and statin) is lower than that with statin monotherapy: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41514-018-0026-2

You’ve asked a very interesting, albeit much-debated question, and I’d like to bring in @predictable @thankful @ch246cf10 @bigbern @bluesdoc into this conversation as well. I hope this helps; I look forward to hearing more from you.

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Thanks so much for the links. It doesn't seem that the reason for statins causing an increase in CAC score is fully understood. The fact that a PCSK9 inhibitor + statin lowers the CAC increase, confuses things even more. So many more people are getting CAC Testing and are being faced with the question, to take a statin or not take a statin? Thanks again for your help.

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@kanaazpereira

Hello @fedoramenorah,

Agatston score is a measure of calcium or calcification detected by coronary CT calcium scan. Hence, I moved your discussion to this conversation, where you can meet the many members who are talking about high calcium score.
If you click on VIEW & REPLY in your email notification, you will see the whole discussion and can join in, meet, and participate with other members talking about their or their loved ones' experiences.

A high Agatston/calcium score does not mean that you will have a heart attack, only that there is a greater likelihood of having one than someone with a low score. Here’s an interesting Mayo Clinic article which I would encourage you to view:
https://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-professionals/cardiovascular-diseases/news/coronary-artery-calcium-score-are-we-doing-too-many-or-too-few/mcc-20438011

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The linked Mayo Clinic article on coronary artery calcium scoring is excellent. It refers to the American Heart Association's 'Simple 7' ways to be heart healthy. I have a high CAC score (1560) but do all seven heart healthy recommendations, so my lifestyle is highly likely to help counteract the deleterious effect of a high plaque burden. My cardiologist started me on a high-dose statin and a daily baby aspirin and told me to see him in a year. He said the problem with most of his patients is to get them to make healthy choices that reduce their cardiac risk. What works for me is to make small, conscious changes. Over time these seemingly unremarkable changes add up to big results. 'It's hard by the yard, but a cinch by the inch'

Liked by thankful

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Do you have any arterial blockages or symptoms?

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Mine was 800 which is low in comparison to yours but I also freaked out. The MD had me do a nuclear stress test which was entirely normal. But I am not entirely at ease so I guess you just live until you have symptoms.

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@tim1028

The linked Mayo Clinic article on coronary artery calcium scoring is excellent. It refers to the American Heart Association's 'Simple 7' ways to be heart healthy. I have a high CAC score (1560) but do all seven heart healthy recommendations, so my lifestyle is highly likely to help counteract the deleterious effect of a high plaque burden. My cardiologist started me on a high-dose statin and a daily baby aspirin and told me to see him in a year. He said the problem with most of his patients is to get them to make healthy choices that reduce their cardiac risk. What works for me is to make small, conscious changes. Over time these seemingly unremarkable changes add up to big results. 'It's hard by the yard, but a cinch by the inch'

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I agree. But it is still hard knowing your score. I wonder if enough is known about this calcium test and what it really means

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@pcspetpro

Do you have any arterial blockages or symptoms?

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No blockage so far but it makes you wonder when that is going to happen; no one can predict this

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@real

No blockage so far but it makes you wonder when that is going to happen; no one can predict this

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A stress test can reveal if there are arterial blockages greater than 70%. A CT Angiogram is even more accurate at locating blockages.

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@real

I agree. But it is still hard knowing your score. I wonder if enough is known about this calcium test and what it really means

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Watch the Widowmaker

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@real

Mine was 800 which is low in comparison to yours but I also freaked out. The MD had me do a nuclear stress test which was entirely normal. But I am not entirely at ease so I guess you just live until you have symptoms.

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A calcium score can increase as much as 30% per year. Lifestyle changes can dramatically lower the rate of progression.

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Any updates? I just learned my score 2267. Having nuclear stress test in 5 days. Just wondered what I am getting into and what your process has been. Thanks Phil

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@wisconsin2267

Any updates? I just learned my score 2267. Having nuclear stress test in 5 days. Just wondered what I am getting into and what your process has been. Thanks Phil

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I passed a stress test with imaging, but I don't know if I have any blockages that are more than 50%. I have increased my exercise regimen, and I'm experimenting with diet and exercise. The goal is to stabilize plaque and keep plaque progression to a minimum. I plan on taking another CAC Test in about 18 months. Let me know how your nuclear stress test goes, they should be able to accurately tell you the blockage percentage . Phil

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