Over the last two years, we have been doing a lot of awareness and education about Coronary Artery Calcium scans. You will recall that Heart2Heart hosted several showings of the documentary, "The Widowmaker," and this has become the central message of much of our efforts to help identify more people early with heart disease.
You may even recall us telling you that this screening could save your life! Little did I realize - when my husband, Bill, had his scan done about 18 months ago - that he would be one of the lives saved.
While Bill certainly met the age requirement for the scan (age 45 for men, by the way), he had his other risk factors (blood pressure and type 2 diabetes) under control and was losing weight. Here was a man with NO family history of heart disease on either side and had never had an issue with cholesterol.
(I often envied his scores!)
So, you can imagine my surprise when I received the call that his calcium score was so high they didn't want him to leave the office. What was remarkable was that - despite a calcium score of over 700 - his EKG and stress test were fine. The only way we would have caught that he had heart disease was because of this 5-minute screening.
Over the last 18 months, Bill had been following the prevention protocols but, in June, we began noticing some changes as he began complaining about fatigue and shortness of breath. I am very grateful to be married to a man who doesn't ignore symptoms or fight about going to the doctor. To make a long story short, after running some diagnostic tests, he was admitted for a cardiac catheterization and because of the severity of the blockages, he underwent a triple bypass which saved his life!
Had it not been for the Coronary Artery Calcium scan, I am convinced that Bill would have been one of the stories we hear about where someone drops dead of a heart attack leaving his family and friends in shock. Remember, his basic heart health numbers were within normal ranges ... his EKG was okay ... he passed his stress test ... yet, he was a ticking time bomb.
Heart disease is the NUMBER ONE killer of women and men today. We lose OVER 600,000 of us each year and while we all hear and subscribe to preventative screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies without a second thought, we do not place the same importance on the early detection of heart disease.
The sad truth is that is does NOT have to be this way. The risk factors leading to heart disease are largely preventable and there are ways to manage the ones you do already have. Genetics is not a foregone conclusion. And, through one simple, quick and inexpensive screening you can know ... not guess ... your risk is for heart attack in the next 10 years!
If you don't know your risk for heart disease, then join us at an upcoming Heart Health Screening. I'll be happy to chat with you and provide you with information about how you can know your calcium score!
Thank you for your continued support. Remember, this is a fight we can win. This is a fight we MUST win!