Calcium Test – Heart

I have been tuned into various tests I might need to do since I have a family history of heart-related fatalities. My mother’s father died when he was in his early thirties. She was only about three years old. When he was only 37, my brother had heart disease that led to multiple stents being installed, for lack of a better word, into his chest. He was on medication for years before passing away a few years ago.

I had some tests last year but I don’t think this is something that you just stop thinking about and move on with your life. I think it is increasingly important as I get older to keep track of what is going on, if I want to stick around.

Yesterday, I was listening to a podcast. One of the guys, a very successful finance guy, with no medical background, mentioned that he thought a calcium test should be mandatory for any male over the age of forty. I’m not saying it isn’t required, but I’m certainly going to check into it.

According to Mayo Clinic, the heart scan is ‘not’ recommended for:

  • Men under age 40 and women under age 50, because it’s unlikely calcium can be detected at younger ages
  • People who have a very low risk, because detectable calcium is highly unlikely if you don’t have a family history of heart attacks at an early age
  • People who already have a known high risk (especially heavy smokers or those with diabetes or very high cholesterol), because the heart scan will likely not provide any additional information to guide treatment
  • People with symptoms or a diagnosis of coronary artery disease, because the procedure won’t help doctors better understand the disease progression or risk
  • People who already had an abnormal coronary calcium heart scan

It sounds risky to be exposed to all the radiation. So, I’m going to check into this to see if there are warning signs that might give me a clue if I should get this test. The amount of radiation from the test is equivalent to the amount of radiation a normal person might be exposed to over the course of a year. That doesn’t sound good.

Gary

I grew up in Baltimore and currently live in the Rodgers Forge community just north of Baltimore City.

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