Last week I took the CT Calcium Scoring test and recieved the results today. The primary reason for getting the test was my dad (also Type 1) died at 40 from heart disease(undignoised). I would like to prevent/delay that outcome, but being in my late 40’s I have that constant fear in the back of my mind. He lived with diabetes in a different erra, so hopefully my risk of that outcome is much less.
I’m happy with my Score, but from what I read it seems like the value of the test is questionable especially if you are already at risk of heart disease. So not exactly sure how to react to the results; breath easy I’m good or good info to know, but nothing there to reduce any fear.
Been on a statin for long time. Recently started blood pressure meds (not for high blood pressure,but the protective nature of the med).
Is there any other action you would be taking knowing this information and having a family history?
My PCP responded:
“Your score is considered low and does not require any additional testing. You are at risk for heart disease based on the fact that you are male and have diabetes. In regards to managing your diabetes, Dr. says that you are on all the appropriate medications.”
The total coronary artery calcium score was 15, and it was detected in:
Left main coronary artery (LM): 0
Left anterior descending artery (LAD): 15
Left circumflex coronary artery (LCX): 0
Right coronary artery (RCA): 0
The total coronary artery calcium score was 15, distributed in LAD.
A score of 15 indicates very mild plaque burden and places the patient in the 60% rank, which means 40% of the male at the ages from 46 to 50 will have a higher score than the patient.
All of these things still apply, the same for anyone regardless of diabetes or family history - eat well, get plenty of exercise, reduce stress, get enough sleep, etc.
Other than doing the lifestyle things, try to keep managing your BG well and continue with the medications you are on. And maybe talk to your doctor about whether aspirin would be a good thing to add to your regimen.
On diet - specifically reduce LDL and increase HDL. Do you want to share your lipid numbers? LDL, HDL, Tri’s, Total, VLDL?
On exercise, let’s see if we can find someone on FUD who could help you with that…
It wouldn’t be warranted based on the CT test numbers, but the gold standard for understanding how your heart arteries look is an angiogram. It isn’t as easy as the CT test, and it isn’t likely that your doctor would order it based on your current status. With that being said, a dead parent is a big marker for heart disease, especially one that dies suddenly and young. So if you are interested, get to a cardiologist and discuss your family history and see if you are in a population that your physician feels would benefit from this or another test. If the angiogram came back negative you could really let out a sigh of relief, but again, your current condition probably doesn’t warrant the risks of this test. Please note, a non-cardiologist isn’t going to be up on the literature and situation enough to include this testing as even a remote option.
As @Chris mentioned, there is an angiogram, and that is invasive, because they put a catheter through an artery in your arm or leg and it goes all the way up to your heart and it has a camera in it and takes pictures. It gives the best quality image, but is invasive.
But a computed tomography angiogram (CTA) is much less invasive. Actually, not really invasive at all. With a CTA, they just inject die into your veins and then use an X-ray to look at your heart and valves and create a 3D picture.
A CTA is not as high quality of a test as an angiogram, but is much higher quality than a calcium score (which I did not even mention in the post below!).
Here is a post on FUD with some of the different tests. This would be a good post to review if you have not seen it yet.