In Australia, around 375,000 people will have a heart attack at some time in their life.
While the number of people who die from a heart attack is on the decline, around 19 Australians suffer a fatal heart attack every day.
Dr Nanu Grewal works in a hospital emergency department in rural Queensland. At 54, he considered himself fit and healthy. However, in April this year, he suffered a serious heart attack. He underwent an emergency operation, where cardiologists fitted a stent in his heart.
“I always considered myself as zero risk factors – fit, healthy, non-smoker,” said Dr Grewal. “I would never in a million years have said I would have ended up being a cardiac patient.”
This World Heart Day – 29th September – Heart HQ is highlighting just how easy it can be for potentially life-threatening heart conditions to go undetected. Luckily, there are steps you can take to determine your heart health.
“The type of disease I had could have been detected had I participated in obtaining a calcium score,” Dr Grewal explains.
A coronary calcium score test is a quick, painless procedure and the international gold standard for predicting heart attacks in people over the age of 50. The test measures the amount of calcium in the walls of the arteries that supply your heart muscle, using a special CT scan of your heart.
As you age, plaque can build up inside your arteries. This is often called hardening of the arteries (or atherosclerosis). The plaque itself cannot be seen on most external x-ray tests, but is visible on a CT scan.
Calcium is reported using a measure called ‘Agatston’ units and this gives doctors a guide as to how much plaque is present. This ‘calcium score’ doesn’t measure specific narrowing of the arteries like an angiogram does. Instead, the calcium score looks at the overall cardiac plaque present, which can help predict your risk of a cardiovascular event, like a heart attack or stroke, in the future.
For more information about the coronary calcium score test, click here.
A coronary calcium score is just one of the tests that Heart HQ’s experienced staff can carry out in our new CT Clinic. Thanks to our partnership with Sunshine Coast Radiology, our state-of-the-art CT clinic is available for referral by local GPs and specialists. The clinic is the only one of its kind on the Sunshine Coast.
The establishment of this clinic recognises the incredible advancements made in CT imagery and non-invasive cardiac testing.
We're passionate about bringing better health to the people of the Sunshine Coast and being able to offer important cardiac tests on site is taking a step closer to this goal.
Ask your GP or specialist for a referral to our CT Clinic today.
After his emergency surgery, Dr Grewal is now back at work. You can watch Dr Grewal’s story in full here.
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