• Jacqueline Smillie

Does heart disease run in your family like it does mine?

Did you know heart disease kills more women than men, and women are 5x's more likely to die of heart attack than breast cancer. GoRedforWomen

If there was no hope, this would be depressing.

I've been learning about heart disease, hoping to have a longer, healthier life than my parents had. My father had three heart attacks. He was only three years older than I am now when he had his first one. His brother and father died in their 50's from heart disease. My mother's side isn't much better; the women suffered from strokes and were in wheel chairs by their mid-seventies. Both of my parents died at 78 years old, only eleven years older than I am now.


You can ace your blood and stress tests and still have a heart attack.

I eat well, exercise and test my blood regularly, but so did my mom and dad. And, I know personally, and I am sure you do too, people who get a clean bill of health from their doctors and have a heart attack not long after.

I was hoping to find a better way of predicting my risk for heart attack and I found one!

The Coronary Artery Calcium (CAC) Scan - "The Heart Test You May Need—but Likely Haven’t Heard of

A coronary calcium scan isn't for everyone, but it's the finest way for those who are uncertain about their heart disease risk to make better decisions about treatment and medications," says Michael Blaha, M.D., M.P.H., director of clinical research at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease at Johns Hopkins." - John Hopkins Medicine


Heart disease doesn't have to be a silent killer.

A CAC score accurately tells you your heart attack risk - before you have any warning signs. It tells you the age of your arteries too. The CAC scan measures calcium deposits in your coronary arteries. The CAC scan is doctor prescribed, non-invasive, takes three minutes, and while inexpensive, about $200, most insurance companies won't cover the cost.

What your CAC scan numbers mean:

  • A score of zero means no calcium is seen in the heart. It suggests a low chance of developing a heart attack in the future.

  • When calcium is present, the higher the score, the higher your risk of heart disease.

  • A score of 100 to 300 means moderate plaque deposits. It's associated with a relatively high risk of heart attack or other heart disease over the next three to five years.

  • A score greater than 300 is a sign of very high to severe disease and heart attack risk.

You also may receive a percentile score, which indicates your amount of calcium compared to people of the same age and sex. Mayo Clinic

I had my first CAC scan in January.

The numbers were not good. I have my work cut out for me. But, knowledge is power and in my next post I'll share my numbers and tell you what I'm doing to remove the calcium plaque from my arteries.

I'm healing my heart and you can too!

We don't have to fear heart disease. Our hearts and bodies are designed for healing.

If you want to learn more about the CAC scan, please watch The Widowmaker, a one hour documentary.




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