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Health & more

Calcium in Arteries Could Be Best Predictor of Heart Attack/Stroke

Calcium in Arteries Could Be Best Predictor of Heart Attack/Stroke

A new study has found that people with no calcium in their arteries are at a significantly lower risk of suffering a heart attack or a stroke.

The study authors explained how calcium collects in the arteries as a result of plaque build up that hardens over time.

Researchers looked at almost 6,200 people, aged from 45-84 for this study and concluded that those with no calcium in their arteries were at a lower than 3 percent of a stroke or heart attack in the following 10 years.

This 3 percent is significantly lower than the 7.5 percent heart risk level which is used as a guideline to indicate when doctors should start treatment with statin drugs which act to lower cholesterol, researchers added.

The significant finding is that this remains true, including among people who had many other risk factors associated with heart attack or stroke, including high BP, diabetes and high levels of bad cholesterol.

Of the almost 6,200 people who participated in the study, around 50 percent of these had no indication of calcium deposits already in their arteries.

“The event rates when coronary calcium is absent are low,” Dr. Parag Joshi, author of the study said. “Our findings suggest that individuals with no calcium buildup in their blood vessels may not have to take statins despite the presence of other risk factors that cause coronary disease.”

According to Joshi, this study indicates that a CT scan looking for calcium in the arteries is something doctors should consider discussing with their patients.

In a university news release Joshi said that, “A CT scan is a test that is easily done.” He also went on to say that it, “costs about 100 bucks in most major cities, and can give a lot more information about the patient’s 10-year risk.”

Researchers also added that there could be other reasons a doctor might recommend statins such as using them as a preventative treatment before calcium buildup in the arteries is found, For example, if there is a family history of cardiovascular problems then doctors might consider statin treatment.

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