Posted 6/15/2009 6:01 PM (GMT -7)
This is my very first post on HealingWell.com. So I'll get right to it.
I'm a 54-year-old male, with a family history of heart disease. My father had a fatal heart attack (suddenly) at the age of 59.
I've had moderately high cholesterol numbers for years (typically around 220 total, with LDL in the 130-140 range) and HDL of around 40. I've had hypertension for about 20 years, well-controlled with two BP medicines for just about that whole time. I'm also non-smoker, but did smoke for about five years during and shortly after college.
For many years, I didn't pay as much attention to my diet as I should, but I have gotten much better in last 4-5 years. Plus, I have adopted a rigorous workout regimen (over same time frame). My weight is now very good . . . 155.
At my last doctor's visit, I learned had a marginally high CRP score of 3.1. My doctor began to push me to get back on a statin. I had tried five different ones over the last 6-7 years, all with muscle pain. After swearing off further statins, I got REALLy serious about my diet and was able to get my total chol down to about 170, LDL to about 105-10. So I wasn't too happy to hear the news that he wanted me back on a statin, although this time with Co-Q10 supplementation to hopefully prevent muscle pain.
At this point, I decided to go see a cardiologist. My motivation: to get a more comprehensive risk analysis, to get a second opinion on statins, and to pick up further ideas for lowering my risk.
As part of my risk assessment, I had a stress test, pictures of my heart arteries taken after injection of nuclear isotope , before/after exercise (forgot name of this test), and a calcium scan.
After a week, the cardiologist called back with good news and bad news. I passed the stress test (no problems at all). The heart pictures indicated no "significant" blockages (his words), and the calcium scan was quite high at 635 (a sign of significant calcification inside my heart). His recommendation was that I get more aggressive about driving my numbers down. He was very gung ho on trying another statin and was hopeful that the Co-Q10 would help prevent or moderate side effects.
So here's my question to you all. I'm really quite alarmed about the calcium score. Part of me feels like it points to a much shorter life expectancy. But I don't know how to really get a handle on the number. What exactly does it mean in terms of greater cardiac risk?
I have a follow-up with the cardiologist in a couple days. I'm also wondering what questions I should be asking him to better understand the calcium score and also to get more handson about my risk. I have a beautiful eight-year-old daughter and I want to dance at her wedding.
Thanks in advance for your insights, everyone.