As one gets a little older (and personally driven by friends who have experienced a cardiac event), it is wise to be as proactive as possible to better understand your risk of CAD. Coronary artery calcium (CAC) testing helps reveal your risk of heart disease, often before other warning signs appear. Also known as a calcium score, it's one of the newer—and more accurate—assessment tools being used. This non-invasive CT scan of the heart calculates your risk of developing coronary artery disease (CAD) by measuring the amount of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries.
Plaque or calcium build-up in the coronary arteries causes heart disease or can lead to a heart attack. The coronary calcium scan is a better predictor of coronary events than cholesterol screening or other risk factor assessments. Because this test is relatively new, it's not part of standard guidelines for heart screenings—and not all insurance plans cover it. But it's apt to be used more in the future, as several studies comparing it with other tests have shown its effectiveness in determining the risk of cardiac events.
In this episode, we will take a look at the CAC test, what it is and why one may want to have this test, and some of the benefits of this newer test.
Olympia Prediction Recap
What is a CAC scan?
CAC scan procedure
Interpreting CAC results
Benefits of CAC scan test
My test results
Summary and final thoughts
References and Links from Episode 27:
Below is a chart to help one interpret CAC scan test results:
“Exercise should be regarded as a tribute to the heart.”