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Calcium tests may show who is at risk for heart disease

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that, in addition to cholesterol and blood pressure testing, screening for arterial calcium levels may be advisable to patients who are concerned about their risk for developing heart disease.

The study, which followed nearly 6,000 men and women for six years, found that the addition of a coronary artery calcium (CAC) test led to better predictions of which individuals would develop heart disease.

Chief researcher, Dr Philip Greenland, told Time Magazine that the test would mainly benefit people who have been classified as being at an intermediate risk for developing coronary problems, by traditional tests.

"After you have done an initial risk assessment using the traditional risk factors, if you find somebody who falls into the intermediate risk category, you might get them a coronary calcium study to move them one way or another," he told the news source.

Prior studies have shown that excessive levels of calcium in the arteries leading to the heart can quicken the build-up of fatty deposits that can lead to heart attacks.

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