If your Ezra physician deems it appropriate, we will evaluate your coronary artery calcium (CAC) score. CAC scoring quantifies how much calcium is in your heart’s arterial walls; your results are used to estimate your likelihood of developing heart disease or having a stroke or heart attack.
The majority of the calcium found in our body is located in our teeth and bones, helping them remain healthy and strong. If calcium is found in the arteries supplying our heart with nutrients and oxygen, however, this can be indicative of cardiac trouble ahead. This is because calcium deposits found in your coronary arteries could also signify the buildup of plaque (a waxy material) that could harden with time and narrow or even block your arteries. If your arteries become blocked by plaque, you could develop a disease known as atherosclerosis which, in turn, makes you more susceptible to a stroke or heart attack.
A CAC score works by using a CT scan of your heart. It’s also known by several other names, including: calcium scan of the heart, calcium scan test, cardiac CT for calcium scoring, coronary calcium score, and cardiac scoring.
The American College of Cardiology says that CAC scoring is most useful under specific circumstances. This is because a CAC score can help you and your doctor gauge your risk of heart disease, a stroke, or a heart attack even if you aren’t currently presenting any symptoms. It’s also looked at as another tool that you and your team of specialists can utilize to determine what treatment route is best for you, and whether or not you should take steps in addition to lifestyle adjustments to lower your risk of developing cardiac issues. CAC scoring is also particularly useful in determining whether or not you should take a medication used to lower cholesterol known as a statin.
If your Ezra specialist determines you to be at a higher risk of developing cardiac issues, they will recommend adding in a low-dose CT. If you’d like to learn more about Ezra’s screening plans and pricing options, you may do so here.