Pamela Rama, MD

Pamela Rama, MD

In case you are involved about your coronary heart well being, you aren’t alone. Coronary heart illness has lengthy been the No. 1 explanation for dying for each ladies and men in the USA.

The excellent news is you may have the ability to guard and enhance your coronary heart well being. I inform my sufferers that one of many first steps towards higher coronary heart well being is studying their very own private threat components for coronary heart illness.

Sure threat components—like getting old or having a household historical past of coronary heart illness—can’t be modified. However you do have management over some vital threat components, like hypertension, elevated ldl cholesterol, diabetes, extra weight, smoking and lack of train. The sooner you get these components underneath management, the higher your coronary heart well being is prone to be.

I counsel sufferers age 40 to 79, who’ve a number of threat components for coronary heart illness, to endure a one-time coronary artery calcium scan. This can be a easy, noninvasive check that may assist decide their threat for coronary heart assault or stroke. The check requires a doctor referral.

A coronary artery calcium scan is an X-ray that makes use of a particular computed tomography (CT) scanner to take photos of the guts. The scan detects the presence and quantity of calcium buildup within the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that feed the guts. Calcium in these arteries is an indication of coronary heart illness.

The check takes about 10 minutes and normally prices lower than $100, although it sometimes will not be coated by insurance coverage. The radiation dose is low, in regards to the quantity in a screening mammogram. The check will not be beneficial for people with identified coronary artery illness.

A calcium rating of zero means there is no such thing as a calcification in your coronary arteries, and the chance of getting a coronary heart assault or stroke throughout the subsequent 10 years is lower than one p.c – should you apply a coronary heart wholesome life-style. Your physician could wish to repeat the check in three to 5 years, particularly should you smoke, have a robust household historical past of untimely coronary heart illness or an especially excessive ldl cholesterol stage.

A rating above zero means that you’ve coronary artery illness. The upper the rating, the upper your threat for a future coronary heart assault or stroke.

These with a light or average rating could be suggested to make coronary heart wholesome life-style modifications and start taking a drugs that lowers ldl cholesterol. The dosage could be based mostly on how a lot calcification is within the arteries.

A calcium rating increased than 400 signifies intensive coronary artery illness. Sufferers who fall into this class have to make rapid life-style modifications, start taking cholesterol-lowering treatment and endure additional testing to see if further intervention is required.

Regardless of your age, it’s by no means too early or too late to take management of your coronary heart well being. Together with making life-style modifications, you’ll be able to acquire useful info from a coronary calcium scoring scan. By catching coronary heart illness early, you’ll be able to take preventative measures to cut back your threat of a coronary heart assault or stroke.

Pamela Rama, MD, is a preventive heart specialist at Baptist Medical Heart Seashores. She has a particular curiosity in working with feminine sufferers to assist with their particular coronary heart wants. For an appointment with Dr. Rama, name 904-241-7147.

This text initially appeared on Florida Instances-Union: Easy check pinpoints threat for coronary heart illness