Preventing a heart attack is crucial, but it’s not always easy to spot the risks. One major factor is coronary artery calcification, where calcium builds up in your arteries, hindering blood flow and potentially causing a heart attack.

Detecting this early is tricky, as it doesn’t show symptoms initially. However, once it progresses, chest pain during physical activity may occur, subsiding when you stop.

Shortness of breath and, especially in women, atypical symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain can also signal coronary calcification.

To detect it early, a coronary calcium scan is recommended. This low-cost CT scan measures calcium levels in coronary arteries, helping quantify plaque buildup.

Early detection is vital, as it indicates “soft plaque,” a dangerous mix of fat and tissue that can lead to sudden blood clots and heart attacks.

If you’re diagnosed, prompt action is crucial. Consult a healthcare provider, preferably a preventive cardiologist, who may prescribe medications, suggest lifestyle changes, and intervene with dietary adjustments.

Smoking cessation is a priority, followed by adopting a heart-healthy diet, like the Mediterranean diet, and staying physically active.

Ignoring signs may lead to a heart attack, which is often experienced as constant, crushing chest pain. Medications, particularly statins, can help manage LDL cholesterol, while lifestyle changes involve minimizing simple carbs, saturated fats, trans fats, and sodium.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week.

Implementing these changes not only prevents further calcification but also benefits overall health. It’s a small price to pay for a healthier heart and body.

Source: Parade.

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