Calcium scoring tests are the best painless and non-invasive CT scan of the heart to detect the overall health of your heart. Calcium Scoring can help calculate your risk of developing Coronary Artery Disease. Using specialized computerized tomography equipment, Baptist M&S Imaging will produce pictures of the coronary arteries to determine amount of calcium deposits. Normally, the coronary arteries of the heart do not contain calcium. Calcium deposits in the coronary arteries can narrow your arteries and increase your heart attack risk.
The main causes of plaque buildup are: smoking, high LDL (bad cholesterol), high blood pressure, high blood sugar, drinking too much alcohol, being overweight, and lack of exercise. For men over the age of 45 and for women over the age of 55 the risk of coronary artery disease increases. Taking years to develop, coronary artery disease can lead to a significant blockage in the heart and even a heart attack.
When you schedule your calcium scoring test with Baptist M&S Imaging, you will know if you are at a higher risk of having a heart attack or other health problems before you show symptoms of heart disease.
Symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease
The plaque in the blood sticks to the insides of your arteries, causing them to narrow. This narrowing of the arteries reduces the amount of oxygen-rich blood flow. Often people do not have any obvious symptoms, but as the arteries narrow and the blood supply is constricted, symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, and a heart attack.
Chest pain (angina) is often compared to a tightening or pressure felt in the chest. Many people first notice chest pain after physical or emotional stress. The pain usually goes away after the stressful activity has ended. Sometimes women feel a quick, sharp pain in the neck, arm, or back.
Shortness of breath is causes when your heart can not pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Shortness of breath or extreme fatigue is felt with exertion.
A heart attack occurs when the coronary artery is blocked. Signs of a heart attack are not to be ignored and can be different for men and women. Men often feel a crushing pain and pressure in the chest, pain in the shoulder or arm, shortness of breath, and sweating.
Women can have some of the typical symptoms men experience, but may also have neck or jaw pain.
Patients with higher risk factors of coronary artery disease should note that a heart attack may also occur with out any obvious signs or symptoms.
Preparing for your visit – Calcium Scoring
Wear comfortable clothing without any metal; such as sweat pants.
You will lay flat on a table and be asked to remain still as the scanning equipment moves above you down the length of the table. The actual procedure is very simple and will take between 5 and 10 minutes.
As with other medical procedures, if there is a possibility that you are pregnant, please let us know in advance.