Are you at risk for a heart attack?

According to the American Heart Association, an estimated 735,000 Americans will have a heart attack this year, of which, approximately 14% will die. A heart attack can occur when a coronary artery becomes blocked with plaque, which is made up of cholesterol, calcium deposits and scar tissue. If plaque ruptures, a blood clot forms at the site of the rupture. If the clot that forms is large enough, the flow of blood in the coronary artery becomes blocked and a heart attack occurs. Factors that can increase your risk of having a heart attack include:

  • Having high blood pressure, cholesterol or triglyceride levels
  • Smoking or long-term exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Getting older
  • Having a family history of heart attack
  • Being obese or lack of physical activity
  • Having diabetes

Take advantage of early detection with a calcium test at St. Charles Health System

An effective screening that helps determine if you’re at risk for a heart attack is a calcium test. During a calcium test, also known as a coronary calcium screening, electrodes are attached to your chest from an EKG machine and you lie on a table that slides into a CT scanner. As the test begins you hold your breath for 10-20 seconds while the CT scanner takes images of your heart. This painless screening checks for calcium deposits in your arteries, also known as coronary artery calcification, which is both a warning sign of coronary artery disease and one of the leading causes of a heart attack.

If you’re 50 or older with risk factors for a heart attack or if you’re younger than 50 but have a family history of heart attack, it’s important to consider having a calcium test at St. Charles Health System. A calcium test can detect coronary artery calcification early while there is still time to reduce your risk of having a heart attack by adjusting your diet, increasing physical activity or taking medications to manage other heart attack risk factors you may have.

For more information about a calcium test or to schedule your screening, call CORA at 541-382-9383 today.

The cardiovascular specialists at St. Charles Health System provide calcium tests in Bend, OR.