When you think of calcium, you are probably thinking of the kind that you get from milk and other food sources that helps keep your bones strong. While this type of calcium is great, there’s another type of calcium in your heart that you may not have heard of and is a contributor to what causes heart disease in some people.
What are heart calcifications?
Heart calcifications are specks of calcium that have collected in the heart.
Why are calcifications of concern?
Calcifications in the heart, especially the coronary artery, can be a sign of coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease can be very serious, because plaque builds in the heart’s arteries and can block the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart. The plaque deposits can also burst, leading to a blood clot. Coronary heart disease can cause problems ranging from angina, which is chronic chest pain, to more serious conditions such as blood clots, arrhythmias, or even heart attack and heart failure.
How do I know if I have heart calcifications?
There is a simple and painless test available to see if you have heart calcifications. A coronary calcium scan uses two machines to take x-ray pictures of your heart which can identify the presence of calcifications. The scan helps doctors know if you are at risk of a heart attack and if treatment could help lower your risk. If you are at a moderate to high risk of heart attack, a coronary calcium scan could be a useful tool.
What can you do?
Heart calcifications are associated with high cholesterol levels and other risk factors of coronary heart disease. Eating a heart-healthy diet and staying fit can reduce cholesterol and reduce your risk for heart disease. Lower your cholesterol intake, stay active and make sure to keep up with regular cardiovascular checkups and talk to your doctor about a coronary calcium scan if you are at risk for heart disease.
How to Use this Information
If you have any questions about your cardiovascular health, talk to the experts at South Denver Cardiology. Call 303-744-1065, or visit our website and schedule an appointment!