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February Heart Health Awareness: Know Your Calcium Score, Love Your Heart

Photo: Getty Images, provided by Centura Health
Photo: Getty Images, provided by Centura Health

According to the American Heart Association, men over 40 and women over 45 years of age may have one or more risk factors for heart disease, even in good health. Family history, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and diabetes are all factors leading to a good reason to get a calcium score heart scan.

Cardiovascular disease is the #1 cause of death worldwide with more people dying each year from heart attacks and strokes than any other cause. Cardiac and vascular diseases can strike anyone; men and women of all ages, races, and economic classes. A calcium score heart scan helps identify calcified plaque levels in your heart arteries so that, if your score is elevated, you can make appropriate lifestyle and medication changes. These changes may reduce your chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke, possibly averting a life-threatening event.

A calcium score heart scan detects calcified plaque in the heart (coronary) arteries by measuring the density of the calcium particles in the plaque along the coronary artery walls. A high level of plaque can potentially block the coronary arteries which carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Knowing your score can help your doctor determine the most appropriate treatment for slowing the progression of coronary artery plaque, also known as Coronary Artery Disease (CAD).

The calcium score heart scan can easily and painlessly provide a clear view of a person’s cardiac risk because the measurement of calcified plaque allows physicians to identify possible coronary artery disease before any signs or symptoms show up. The high speed, low dose CT scanner looks inside a person’s heart on the walls of the arteries to check for buildup of calcium. Results of the test are provided to you and your physician to discuss future actions and care plans.

Centura Health is currently offering calcium score heart scans for $99 –there is no preparation required, and no referral is needed. For more information and to schedule a calcium score heart scan at a Centura Health facility near you, visit centura.org/care-and-health/coronary-artery-calcium-screening.

This article was provided by Centura Health.

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