How do I know if I have heart disease?

Heart disease has been the leading cause of death in the US since 1950 with statistics showing that one person dies every 33 seconds. In 2021, 375,476 people died from this illness. 

The major risk factors for heart disease are: 

  • High Cholesterol
  • Diabetes 
  • Smoking 
  • Hypertension 
  • Obesity 
  • Strong Family History of Heart Disease 

To find out if you may have coronary artery disease, you can ask your physician to order a Calcium Score Test (also known as a CT Heart Score). A Calcium Score Test is quick (10-15 minutes), painless, non-invasive CT scan that looks to see how much calcium is in your coronary arteries. Calcium in your hearts arteries can tell you if you have buildup of a waxy, fatty substance (plaque) that can narrow or block the arteries. Depending on how much plaque has accumulated, your doctor will be able to determine how high your risk is for a heart attack. The calcium score can range from 0 to 1,000. Anything above zero means there is evidence of coronary artery disease. Higher scores indicate that you could at risk for a heart attack: 

  • 100 of less (mild proof of coronary artery disease) 
  • Up to 400 (moderate proof of coronary artery disease) 
  • Above 400 (strong proof of coronary artery disease) 

Who should get a calcium score test? 

This test is intended for people who are between the ages of 40 to 70, have risk factors for heart disease but do not have any symptoms. Please make sure to see your internal medicine physician at least once a year for a physical and comprehensive blood work which would include testing for high cholesterol and diabetes. Based on your risk factors your physician may suggest getting a calcium score test. 

Being proactive about your health and screening for treatable diseases is something we take pride in at Premier MD Care. As a concierge practice, we see our patients as often as necessary and spend 30 minutes to an hour for each appointment. This provides ample opportunity to discuss your health in detail. 

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