It’s common to hear that calcium is good for your bones.
But, that’s not the case when it comes to your heart.
Coronary arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart. When there’s a buildup of plaque, made up of calcium and other substances, it can narrow or close the arteries. These calcifications can form in many places throughout the body, including small and large arteries and heart valves, which can be a sign of heart disease.
“Most often, the more calcified plaque found in a patient’s arteries, the higher the risk they have for a heart attack or other cardiovascular events,” said Adam Marler, MD, Cardiologist at Archbold Memorial Hospital.
That’s why doctors often recommend coronary calcium screening scans to look for calcium buildup in the coronary arteries.
“The purpose of the screening is to help patients understand their risk of heart attack or heart disease, and to educate them on preventive measures,” said Marler.
Calcium scoring scans are available at Archbold Memorial Hospital.
Using a computed tomography (CT) scan doctors can detect and measure calcium-containing plaque in the arteries, which can be a better predictor of coronary events like a heart attack compared to a cholesterol screening or other risk factor assessments.
“A score is calculated based on the amount of plaque observed in the scan,” said Marler. “Depending on the score, we may make recommendations for lifestyle changes. The higher the score, the more treatment we may recommend.”
Patients with a moderate risk of heart disease, or those who have a family history of heart attacks, can benefit from a calcium screening.
“We are constantly seeking better ways to predict and prevent cardiac events,” said Marler. “With the calcium scoring screening, we are able to help patients take control of their health. If you think you may benefit from a screening, reach out to your cardiologist about scheduling one.”