Heart Scans Help You Understand The Progression of Heart Disease
A lot of people are at risk of heart disease and do not even know it. The good news is that there are simple procedures which can help to identify people who are at risk of heart disease so that they can take precautions to reduce their risk, and get the medical care that they most need.
Heart scans give doctors a picture of your coronary arteries, that doctors can use to find calcium deposits, giving doctors advance warning of whether or not you are at risk of hear disease – before other symptoms show.
Who Should Have a Heart Scan
You should have a heart scan if you have symptoms of heart disease, or if you are in a high-risk group; for example is there is a history of heart disease in your family, or if you have high blood pressure or cholesterol.
Is a Heart ScanSafe?
Heart scans are not an invasive procedure. They involve using an x-ray to measure the amount of calcium in the walls of the person’s arteries.
Coronary artery disease is very serious, and one of the earliest signs of it is calcium deposits building up in the artery walls. These deposits are made up of cholesterol, fat and calcium. The cholesterol and fat is hard to detect, but the calcium will show up on a heart scan. If there is a lot of calciumin your arteries, then this is a sign that you have large deposits.
The American College of Cardiology believes that a heart scan can act as an early warning sign, so that you know whether you need to take action to prevent a heart attack within the next three to five years. This is important for people who are over the age of 55 and those who have experienced chest pain.
The American College of Cardiology has found that both men and women who are told that they have a high calcium score (meaning they are at increased risk of a heart attack in the next ten years) are more likely to stick to lifestyle changes that will reduce their risk, compared with people who are given the lifestyle guidance, but who do not have a readout on a chart telling them, dispassionately, that they are ‘at risk’.