According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in America . It is responsible for the death of one out of every four Americans. Unfortunately, heart disease can go undetected for quite some time. For many, the very first symptom is a heart attack as a result of the disease itself. Rather than wait for the damage to take its toll, you can choose a more proactive approach to your heart health with a preventative low-dose heart CT scan.
What is a Heart CT Scan?
Using a radiographic method known as computed tomography (CT), a heart CT scan is able to take multiple internal x-rays of your heart and arteries to create a highly-detailed 3D image. Once the scan is done, trained medical professionals will carefully review the findings and alert you if there could be signs of a problem. These signs might include clogged arteries, inflammation and other abnormal blockages.
The scan itself is noninvasive, painless and is done in a matter of minutes. With minimal radiation exposure used to capture the internal images of your heart, there is very low risk with a low-dose CT scanner. Because early detection is key when it concerns treatment for heart disease, these CT scans are one of the most beneficial things that you can do to improve the quality of your life and prevent major health problems.
What Can a Heart CT Scan Reveal?
A heart CT scan shows detailed images of your arteries, aorta, heart and valves, so that healthcare professionals can measure your heart health without an invasive or lengthy procedure.
After your heart CT scan in our low-dose Siemens CT scanner, you will receive your coronary calcium score. This is the measurement of how much calcium buildup is detected in your arteries, also known as plaque. Once the plaque hardens or calcifies, it can significantly restrict the blood flow through your body and result in blood clots or a heart attack. For this reason, your coronary calcium score is a good indication of how healthy your cardiovascular system is and your risk level for a heart attack.
When a higher coronary calcium score is detected early on, patients are able to make the necessary lifestyle changes that will ultimately improve their overall cardiovascular health. Prevention is vital when it comes to heart health, and a heart CT scan can help you make smarter choices for a healthier future.
Why Is a Heart CT Scan Done?
The problem with heart disease is that it can go undetected for a long time before it’s too late to reverse the damage. For many people, this first symptom is a heart attack, and this could prove to be fatal if you don’t get the right care immediately. As with all other diseases and medical conditions, it is always best to prevent a problem from happening rather than try to treat it.
If you’re made aware that you have a buildup of calcium in your arteries, you’ll know you are at a higher risk for heart attack and cardiovascular disease, and you can take preventative measures to reverse that damage. However, if you don’t know you have blocked arteries, you may never make better lifestyle choices and could eventually experience a heart attack as a result. This is where a heart CT scan comes in.
While many people don’t even realize that they have heart disease, some individuals do show heart disease signs and symptoms. Your doctor may recommend a heart CT scan if you are experiencing:
Chest pain and tightness
Shortness of breath
Coldness in extremities
Dizziness and feeling lightheaded
Constant feelings of exhaustion
In any case, you know your body best. If you feel like there may be something wrong, do not ignore the signs your body is giving you! Talk to your healthcare professional or contact the team at Preventative Diagnostic Center in Las Vegas to learn how our heart CT scan can help give you peace of mind.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Heart CT Scan?
One of the key benefits to having a heart CT scan performed is that you’ll have peace of mind in knowing that your heart is healthy. Ideally, you’ll come in, have the scan done and find out that everything is perfectly fine and that your heart is in good health.
However, it’s not uncommon for patients to learn they have calcium buildup or a clogged artery. While this diagnosis can be scary, you are hearing it before a major issue happens, such as a heart attack. You are able to work with your doctor to find a solution to the problem to get your life and health back on track.
If you’re over the age of 40 and are at risk for heart disease and other cardiovascular-related disorders, you may want to consider having a CT scan to stay on top of your heart health. Because the scan itself uses a small amount of radiation in our low-dose CT scanner, risks are minimal for most patients. Some of the common risk factors that make you more likely to develop heart disease include:
Your age (over 40)
You’re a smoker
You’re overweight or obese
You have high blood pressure
Your cholesterol levels are high
You’re regularly stressed
You have a family history of heart disease
You have uncontrolled diabetes
Low-Dose Heart CT Scans at Preventative Diagnostic Center
If you’re ready to take charge of your health and prevent future problems from occurring, it’s time to consider a heart CT scan. At Preventative Diagnostic Center in Las Vegas, these scans are available to help patients take proactive steps to a healthier life. The scan itself takes minutes and does not require sedation or injections. Contact our team today to learn more about our heart CT scans and how it can help you build a healthy future for you and your loved ones.
Dr. John J. Pierce is the Medical Director at Preventative Diagnostic Center. He is Board-certified in Emergency Medicine as well as Board-certified by the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. He received his medical training from Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, in Pomona California. He also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In addition to his regular practice, Dr. Pierce serves as a Tactical Physician with the Las Vegas SWAT team.