Coronary Artery Calcium Scores

I think it is a reasonable thing to do if you lay the cards on the table after and explain the reason. “I wanted to see if the recommendation would be different for a diabetic versus a non-diabetic. How much of this is because I am a diabetic?” etc.

The doc might not like it, but I think it is a valid question.

I have, it is a type of CT scan. My GP ask that I do it because it is painless and relatively inexpensive. Mine cost 99 dollars. Most insurance does not cover it. This test was of extreme value to me, it identified that I have some pretty hefty build up in my arteries. The down side was that it led to more testing.


Thanks for the helpful feedback. Did you also have the NMR lipoprofile done? I think Eric’s suggestion that both be done is a prudent one. What additional testing was conducted, if you don’t mind my asking. I’d just like to be aware of what I’m getting myself into. And is the bottom line, statin medication, or could lifestyle changes positively impact the “hefty build up” in your arteries?

No I did not have the NMR lipoprofile done, it was not offered. My calcium score test came back extremely high. I also had a stress test and an arteriogram. No arteries met the requirements for intervention but a couple were close.

I know that statins can be a controversial subject. I had resisted the notion that if you are diabetic you should be on them but being faced with these test results I realized that I actually did need them. Lifestyle changes can work and was part of my plan but I am close to needing stents in two arteries, I need all the help I can get.

The calcium score test opened my eyes., it is a good screening tool.

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Thank you for the feedback. Are your numbers better now? Did a cardiologist work with you on ordering and interpreting the stress test and arteriogram or an endocrinologist? I will likely proceed with the calcium score and hopefully the NMR lipoprofile as previously suggested by Eric.

One nice thing to add about the NMR-LP, it tracks your history graphically. Instead of just seeing the numbers, every subsequent test shows which way you are going. I think that can be helpful.

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Bingo! I’m a firm believer that a single data point is far less helpful than seeing a trend, graph…etc.

Hey, from your HDL and ratio and tri numbers, it sounds like you are doing a lot correctly. Not sure where you are from an exercise standpoint, but if you need anything there, let me know.

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@Eric- yes! For “quite awhile” I was pretty motivated to exercise about twice weekly at a high level, cardio, weight/resistance training for up to an hour. Overall, minimum of 3x, 20 minutes.

Lately with the colder weather, I’ve been less motivated. I continue to work on large muscles, glutes, quads; less upper body workouts. “Workout” is about 3 sets of squats, side abductors, reverse lunges. Sometimes - 2 sets of 12 pushups. Is this “adequate”? FYI - I do not go to the gym, I’ve tried it, not my cup of tea. There is an outdoor fitness park where I live. I’ve used it since the fall, until the cold weather and I use it less frequently.

Your thoughts/recommendations?

I have posted before on why exercise is so helpful. This is just a quick list of the benefits:

The exercises you listed are certainly helpful to overall well-being. Keeping a strong core with those types of exercises is great for maintaining skeletal and muscular strength.

But do you know the most important muscle to exercise? Your heart, of course. Exercising your heart will also benefit your entire cardiovascular system (capillary density & mitochondria) and your lungs, as well as your heart.

And whenever you exercise your heart there is some area of muscles that is also getting a workout - arms, legs, or both.

The list of things you described are beneficial but are not enough to give your heart a sufficient workout. You need to maintain a higher heart rate for a period of time for your heart and cardio system to get enough benefit.

So there needs to be something you can do that gets your heart rate up consistently for a period of time. You can start slow with walking, or jogging. Or cycling, or a stationary bike. A rowing machine or swimming. You need to find something that you enjoy (or at least can tolerate) enough to keep you doing it consistently.

For the heart benefits there really aren’t any shortcuts. It takes a certain amount of time several times a week. It will take dedication.

We can get into specifics if you would like. Things like heart rate and duration and so forth. And you should discuss certain safety limits with the doctor you visit if you do a calcium score test.

The benefits are huge though. You can watch your insulin requirements drop and your insulin uptake speed increase, and if you are interested in weight loss that can happen too.