How a Coronary Calcium Scan can help predict your risk of heart disease

How a Coronary Calcium Scan can help predict your risk of heart disease

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - There is a connection between calcium and heart health, and there’s a non-invasive test called a coronary calcium scan to help predict your risk. It’s actually a CT scan that checks for calcium deposits in the arteries.

We recently stopped by Garden Park Medical Center in Gulfport to find out how it works with patient Rose Juzang. Most people would never guess that she's 84-years-old.

“I like getting up in the morning. I feel great. Most of the time really great,” Juzang said.

She believes the key to feeling good for her is staying active and eating right.

“I’m aware of things I shouldn’t eat and I try to do lots of fruits and vegetables.”

Juzang has slowed down a bit in recent years due to osteoporosis, but she’s thankful to be feeling as well as she does for an octogenarian.

“I’m surprised I’ve lived this long. There’s not a lot of longevity in my family and, in fact, my mother died of heart disease.”

And that’s one reason she’s here at Garden Park Medical Center.

Cardiologist, Dr. Shwan Jalal, said the coronary calcium scan she’s having helps patients avoid a heart attack.

“It’s a good non-invasive test to help prevent a cardiovascular event,” Dr. Jalal said.

The calcium the scan is looking for is tied in with plaque. The calcified plaque in your arteries can be like a clog in your pipes, and it slows your bodies blood flow.

“Some of our patients here had this test and within a week have gone to the cath lab because they found stenosis in their artery,” Registered CT Tech Amy Mullen explained.

That follow up can be life saving. But most cases are less extreme. And depending on your risk - low, medium or high score - there might be no follow up necessary, or it could mean medication and lifestyle changes are needed.

“But if the score is higher than 400 these people are at higher risk and further tests are needed. For example a stress test,” Dr. Jalal said.

Juzang hopes this test gives her peace of mind, but she knows it could also help save her life.

“This is gonna be great to determine just what condition I’m in.”

Test results are generally available within 24-hours. For Juzang, doctors say her test score actually warranted further tests.

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