Cardiac CT scans detect your risk of heart disease

ODESSA, TX (KWES) - Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the country. This is why to fight the disease, Medical Center Hospital wants you to know about getting a heart scan.

As part of a medical standard called the Healthy Heart Checkup, cardiologists can find your risk for coronary heart disease. It's a short and simple process, but the results can be life-changing.

First, doctors use what's called a cardiac CAT scan. By using an X-ray, it allows cardiologists to see your arteries clearly and find calcium buildup.

"What this technique allows is to see who has significant amount of calcific plaque in the coronaries," said Dr. Fernando Boccalandro, Board Certified in Cardiovascular Services and Interventional Cardiology at Medical Center Hospital. "Based on that, we can access individual risk of any person with a calcium score based on results."

Over time, calcium can form plaque in the bloodstream and harden. This can disrupt your body's normal processes and cause problems. After the scan, it was time for blood work. Doctors recommend taking this to check the levels of fats, cholesterol, sugar and proteins in the blood. You get a score from 0 to over 400. The score is based on the four arteries and when you get a score of 0, you have a low risk of heart disease and no plaque buildup.

Dr. Boccalandro said one of the reasons people in our area should highly consider getting this test is because of Ector County's high population of heart risk factors. Because with a quick test, you can find out whether your risk is as serious as a heart attack.

"We have a high prevalence of obesity and a high prevalence of diabetes," said Boccalandro. "That's why it's so important because we can be able to work on this population to prevent a heart attack with a test like this."

The test is quick and painless and costs $3,000 but you can get it for $75 at Medical Center Hospital. You don't need a doctor's order to get the scan. For information, contact MCH at (432) 640-6000.

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