A simple test for heart disease predicts long-term mortality

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Canadians–but the good news is that a simple test that can accurately predict long term mortality (chance of death in next 15 years) is available and it can help guide preventive management.

Coronary Artery Calcification (CAC) is a reflection of disease in the arteries that supply the heart. We’ve known for a few years now, that the amount of CAC can predict whether a patient is at risk for a serious cardiac “event” in the next five years. A recent large-scale study has shown that CAC results are even more valuable: they found that CAC was highly predictive for up to 15 years.

When a patient is shown to have calcium in their coronary arteries, they have coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD may be mild or advanced, but this important information helps you and your doctor come up with a game plan that might include some lifestyle changes or medication.

A test for CAC is a simple scan done by CT – it’s completely non-invasive, takes only minutes and doesn’t require any preparation by the patient. The test measures the amount of calcium in the coronary arteries and then provides a score of your relative risks of having a serious cardiac event in the next several years.

Canada Diagnostic Centres has been providing CAC exams since 2000 and is one of the most experienced facilities in Canada in providing this test. For more information about this useful exam, click here or give us a call at 604-709-8522.

  Filed under: Categories: Cardiovascular, CT Scans, Early Detection, News, and Screening Exams. Tags: Calcium Score, coronary, coronary calcium, heart attack risk, heart disease, Private CT, and Private MRI.
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What’s your risk of heart attack? Should you get tested?

CardioSmart, by the American College of Cardiology, has an excellent overview of a Coronary Artery Calcium Score test and some great advice as to whether you should get tested or not.

A coronary calcium scan checks for calcium buildup in the coronary arteries. Calcium in these arteries is a sign of heart disease. A high score on a calcium scan can mean that you have a higher chance of having a heart attack than someone with a low score.

The results of a coronary calcium scan may prompt you to make some lifestyle changes, such as exercising, eating better, and quitting smoking. But if you’re worried about heart disease, you can do these things even if you don’t have this test.

People who are at medium risk for heart disease will get the most benefit from this test. Medium risk means that you have a 10% to 20% chance of having a heart attack in the next 10 years, based on your risk factors. You can be at medium risk and not have any symptoms of heart disease. Knowing your risk for a heart attack is a key part of your decision to get a scan. Take the online quiz here.

A calcium scan can give your doctor more information about your risk for heart disease. A high score might prompt your doctor to start or change treatment to help you avoid a heart attack.
You could get a high score from the test even if your arteries aren’t blocked. This could lead to other tests or treatments that you don’t need.

Not all blocked arteries have calcium. So you could get a low calcium score and still be at risk.

If a Calcium Score might be right for you, talk to your doctor. Canada Diagnostic has been providing Calcium Scores since 2002, and since 2007 we’ve been providing ultrasound scans of the carotid arteries which is another excellent screening exam for early signs of plaque build-up. You can learn more about our atherosclerosis screening exams on our website. Call us to find out more about both exams at 604-709-8522 or email us at info@canadadiagnostic.com.

  Filed under: Categories: Atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular, CT Scans, Early Detection, Heart Disease, Heart Scans, Screening Exams, and Ultrasound Scans. Tags: atherosclerosis, Calcium Score, heart attack risk, heart disease, heart scan, Private CT Scan Vancouver, Private MRI Vancouver, and Screening Exams.
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Cut the risk of heart attack in half by controlling blood pressure & cholesterol

A new research article in the medical journal Circulation shows that patients may reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by at least half by getting their blood pressure and cholesterol under control.

A healthy lifestyle is important for minimizing cardiovascular disease but so is taking medications if they are needed to get control over blood pressure and cholesterol.  While preventing heart disease is important, maintaining healthy blood vessels is too!

If you have risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history, overweight or sedentary lifestyle, you might benefit from having a Coronary Artery Calcium Score (CACS).  A CACS takes a look at your coronary arteries and can spot small amounts hard plaque in your vessel walls – an early indicator of cardiovascular disease.

For more information about CACS, see our other blog articles:  Patients Who “See” Their Heart Disease are Much More Motivated to Follow Doctor’s Orders (July 31, 2012) and #1 Heart Disease Predictor (September 13, 2012).

Call us today to find out more about CACS at 1-877-709-8522 or send us an email at info@canadadiagnostic.com.  You can read more about our CACS scan and other screening exams offered at Canada Diagnostic here.

  Filed under: Categories: Cardiovascular, Early Detection, Heart Scans, and Screening Exams. Tags: Calcium Score, Canada Diagnostic Vancouver, coronary calcium, CT scan, CT Screening, early detection, heart disease, heart scan, Lung Cancer Screening, MRI Vancouver, Private CT, Private MRI Vancouver, and Screening Exams.
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#1 Heart Disease Predictor

Coronary Artery  Calcium (CAC) – detected by a simple CT screening scan, is the most important predictor of cardiovascular events according to a new analysis published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers found that elevated CAC scores were better predictors of cardiovascular events than six other tests commonly used as risk markers for heart disease for patients with intermediate risk of heart disease.

Today, cardiovascular disease prevention focuses on treating at-risk people based on their overall cardiovascular risk.  Your Doctor may use a tool called the Framingham risk score as a first step in determining your risk profile.  This is a good overall took, but might not be that precise for people with higher than normal risk factors.  So, other risk models can be used in addition to Framingham to get a more accurate picture.

When researchers compared different types of risk markers, they found Coronary Artery Calcium scores to be the best at better clarifying  cardiovascular risk  prediction for intermediate-risk people.

Canada Diagnostic has been offering Coronary Artery Calcium scores since 2002.  It is a quick and accurate way to look at your coronary arteries to detect hard placque, an early indicator of atherosclerosis.  Learn more about the scan and our other atherosclerosis risk screening tests by clicking here.

Call us anytime to find out more about our diagnostic scanning (MRI, CT and Ultrasound) as well as our screening exams.  We would be happy to answer any questions you might have.  604-709-8522.

  Filed under: Categories: Cardiovascular and Heart Scans. Tags: Calcium Score, coronary calcium, heart disease, heart scan, risk factors, and screening exam.
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American Lung Association supports CT Lung Cancer Screening

The American Lung Association has recommended CT Lung Cancer Screening for smokers and former smokers.

Mounting evidence –  including findings from the U.S. National Cancer Institute’s National Lung Screening Trial – indicates that most lung cancer deaths can be prevented when detected at an early stage with CT screening.

CT Lung Cancer Screening is a well-studied test, with 10’s of thousands of patients scanned over the past 15+ years.  It is an “evidence-based” exam meaning that  there is consistent scientific evidence showing that the exam improves patient outcomes.  CT Lung Cancer screening is just one of the evidence-based screening exams offered at Canada Diagnostic in Vancouver.  Click here to find out more about our screening exams for the early detection of atherosclerosis and colon cancer.

If you are a smoker or former smoker, consider getting a CT Lung Cancer Screening Exam.  It may save your life.

Call us today at 1-877-709-8522.

  Filed under: Categories: Colon Cancer, Heart Scans, and Lung Cancer. Tags: atherosclerosis, colon cancer, CT Lung Scan, heart disease, lung cancer, lung cancer deaths, Lung Cancer Early Detection, and Lung Cancer Screening.
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