Great news, America! Heart blockage and its terrible consequences of heart attack, stroke, and death have taken significantly fewer lives in the new millennium. In fact, according to National Institute of Health (NIH), “the life expectancy of the average American increased by 6.6 years; 4.7 years—over 70%—of the increase is due to reductions in deaths from cardiovascular disease.” That’s almost 5 years of additional time with family and friends in this amazing world!
Leading Contributors to Artery Disease
As we now know, coronary artery disease is a build up of plaque, which narrows the arteries that supply the heart muscle with blood. Moreover, we better understand the leading contributors to the hardening of plaque within arteries that reduce blood flow. The NIH lists the most significant culprits:
- High cholesterol and other fats found in the blood
- High blood pressure
- Diabetes and pre-diabetes
- Overweight and obesity
- Lack of physical activity
- Unhealthy diet
Although many factors are within our own control, we know that others are not:
- family history
Find Out Before Symptoms Show Up
Many people have at least one factor. How about you? Which factor might you have and how does one find out if heart blockage is happening before symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath appear? We now know that mild or moderate blockages likely do not produce symptoms, so how can you develop your knowledge?
According to the Mayo Clinic some of the tests that offer your doctor and you insight into your heart’s condition are The Holter Monitor, the Echocardiogram, the Stress Test and the Angiogram. However, one of the most important tests that offers information is the Cardiac CT.
Calcium Scoring (cardiac computed tomography (CT)) uses x-rays for calcium scoring to create detailed, 3-dimensional images of your heart, so your doctor may look at multiple angles for calcium deposits conspiring to narrow your arteries. Determining the degree of these deposits with this painless, easy, and robust test helps you and your doctor learn about your heart’s condition before symptoms appear. In fact, the test offers early knowledge of blockages, aneurysms, tumors, blood clots, abnormal valves, or other abnormalities from birth. This test rates very high, as early warning of blockages significantly increases the chances to treat heart blockage.
Overall, the more you know about one of the most important muscles in your body, the better you can make decisions about improving the chances to live a long, healthy life. Contact Medical Imaging of Fredericksburg for ways to build knowledge about your condition.