The DMH Heart Score is a simple 20-minute CT scan that detects calcium present in your heart’s arteries. Your “score” reveals the presence of calcium deposits in your coronary arteries The higher the score, the more at risk you are for developing heart disease or even sudden death.
You do not need a doctor’s referral for the DMH Heart Score. However, you are encouraged to discuss your score results with your primary care doctor. Knowing your score will help your doctor determine further testing, prevention or correction.
KNOW YOUR RISKS
According to the American Heart Association, the risk of heart disease begins to increase for men at age 35 and for women at age 40.
The risk factors are:
- High cholesterol
- History of smoking
- Lack of physical activity
- High blood pressure
- Family history of heart disease
The following should be used only as a general guide. There are variables that should be discussed with your doctor.
Calcium Score of 0
This score indicates that there is no calcium in the coronary arteries. A score of ‘0’ generally means there is little chance coronary artery disease is present. However, it does not mean coronary artery disease will not develop in the future. To help insure your heart remains healthy, eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and do not smoke.
Low Risk Calcium Score
A low risk score means there is a small amount of calcium present in your coronary arteries. Although a score in this range generally means you have only a small risk of coronary artery disease, your score may increase with age. Your doctor may suggest a risk modification program that includes a low-fat diet, weight control, ending tobacco use, an exercise program and regular monitoring of blood pressure and cholesterol rates.
Moderate Risk Calcium Score
A moderate risk score indicates mild plaque build up in the coronary arteries. Even though the risk of heart disease is still low, your doctor could suggest a non-aggressive risk modification program that includes aspirin therapy and stress management.
High Risk Calcium Score
A high risk score indicates that moderate to severe coronary artery disease is present. Your doctor may order additional testing, develop an aggressive risk management plan, and carefully monitor the results.
Very High Risk Calcium Score
A score this high is a warning that severe coronary artery disease could be present and that the likelihood of severe narrowing of the arteries is high. Your doctor will want to order additional tests because your risk for an acute coronary event is considered high. If you have a score in this range, work closely with your doctor to manage all of your risk factors.