These two tests are essential to prevent a heart attack, suggests doctor

The risk of cardiovascular disease increases with age. Women over the age of 55 and men over the age of 45 are at increased risk of developing atherosclerosis. Witnessing the increase in cases of heart disease is further proof that people need to be aware of preventive measures to reduce the risk of heart-related complications. Therefore, we want you to know some tips for the prevention of heart attacks.

Calcium deposits in the coronary arteries are considered shadow markers of atherosclerosis, in which atherosclerosis is the pathological process of the formation of fatty deposits in the blood vessels, leading to a heart attack. Higher calcium deposits in the walls of the coronary arteries indicate a greater likelihood and burden of atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries, which increases the risk of blood vessel narrowing and clot formation, leading to heart attack and a stroke. It is common practice among women and the elderly to take calcium supplements for bone health. This often leads to a common misconception that such supplements can lead to increased calcium deposits in the blood vessels. However, there is no data to support such possibilities and it is safe to take calcium supplements.

myocardial infarctionYou can prevent a heart attack by having these tests. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Heart attack prevention tests

As prevention is always better than cure, there are several clinical assessment tools to assess the risk of heart attack due to atherosclerosis, such as the Framingham risk score and the Raynaud scoring system. These tests are not very accurate and can predict only about 60 percent of situations. However, most people can become victims of a heart attack even though the clinical scoring system indicates no risk.

There is a constant search for a more objective tool that can predict a heart attack in a person.

1. Coronary Calcium Score Data

A coronary calcium score scan helps identify calcium in the coronary artery, indicating the burden of atherosclerosis. If a person has more calcium in the coronary artery, it indirectly indicates a higher chance of more blockages due to atherosclerosis. In general, the CT scan score is between 0 and 3. A score of 3 means an increased risk of heart attack, 2 is moderate, and 1 is considered a slight risk of heart attack. A more than moderate score is an alarm to escalate the case for further evaluation.

2. Coronary CT Angiography

In a coronary CT angiogram, the radiopaque substance is injected as the iodine-containing contrast material. It visualizes the lumen of the coronary arteries, revealing narrowed blood vessel segments due to fat and calcium deposits. This method can be one of the tools for the early evaluation of the risk of infarction. The coronary CT scan lead then guides the patient to the treating physician for further evaluation using an invasive coronary angiogram with the intent to treat the condition.

Also Read: Make Sure Your Heart Health Is On Track With Preventive Genetic Testing

how to prevent a heart attackA good diet and careful lifestyle can improve heart health. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Coronary calcium scoring and coronary CT angiography should be used with caution. These tests should always be performed under the advice of a doctor, as it involves the risk of radiation exposure.

Coronary calcium scores only assess calcium deposits in the coronary artery. However, calcium deposits in other blood vessels that indicate a high risk of heart disease go unnoticed. Coronary calcium scores sometimes pick up calcium readings from the valves and can be misleading.

Whereas, CT coronary angiography involves radiation exposure. In our hospital we do not prefer to use this technique more frequently in a single patient and it is always performed under the guidance of an attending cardiologist.

Also read: Breathing hard? Shortness of breath can be a major sign of a heart attack!

the last words

As we age, preventative methods should always be a priority over a cure. The new age technology is a boon as it helps in early detection and prevention of the onset of any health condition. Therefore, it drastically increases the lifespan towards a healthier lifestyle.

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