Did you know calcium buildup in the arteries is a major risk factor for heart disease? A calcium score test helps determine the amount of calcified plaque in your heart through a quick and noninvasive CT scan. Cost is just $25. Some patients may have plaque without experiencing any symptoms. Your doctor may recommend a calcium score test if you meet certain risk factors, including:
- A family history of heart disease
- High cholesterol
- History of smoking
- Inactive lifestyle
Calcium score testing results could help you if you are between the ages of 40-70 and are at an increased risk for heart disease but do not have symptoms. This exam is not for individuals with cardiac implants (i.e., stents, pacemaker, defibrillator).
Preparing for Your Test:
Preparation for this test is relatively simple:
- No caffeine 12 hours before your test
- Avoid exercise and strenuous physical activity before your test
- Do not take antihistamines or Sudafed® 12 hours before your test
- Arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment at MMH’s main campus located on Mitchell Avenue in Batesville.
What to Expect:
You’ll be asked to lay on a CT table. This table will slowly move into the CT machine where the tech can capture images of your heart. Your heart rate is also monitored. These images will be closely evaluated to determine your calcium score. The entire procedure will take 15-30 minutes, but the time in the CT scanner is only a few minutes.
After Your Test:
Your cardiologist will discuss your calcium score with you. Scores can range from 0 to over 400, the lower, the better. Your doctor will discuss a treatment plan with you based on your score and risk factors. Treatment may include:
- Lifestyle changes such as healthy eating and more exercise
- A daily aspirin
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs
Talk to your primary care provider if you think you might benefit from a calcium score test.