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Cardio-Vascular Aging Awareness Heart Health

Why You Must Know Your Heart Calcium Score: Predicting Overall Health

1 month, 1 week ago

2029  0
Posted on Jun 12, 2024, 11 a.m.

Article courtesy of Dr. Joel Kahn, MD, who is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine, one of the world's top cardiologists, a best-selling author, lecturer, and a leading expert in plant-based nutrition and holistic care.

There is much interest in strategies to address aging and prolong lifespan and healthspan. An industry has grown up of tests offered to measure "biological age". These usually involve samples of blood or cheek swabs. A prior study indicated that the widely available coronary artery calcium score (CACS) done by non-contrast CT imaging can predict health and disease throughout the body.

A new study provides important additional support for the importance of knowing your CACS. 


The researchers used data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study to evaluate the association of CACS with measures of healthy and unhealthy aging testing in adults aged ≥75 years.

The study included 2,290 participants aged ≥75 years and free of known coronary heart disease who underwent CACS testing. They divided the results into three groups, CACS = 0, 1-999, and ≥1000, and measured seven domains of aging: cognitive function, hearing, ankle-brachial index (ABI), pulse-wave velocity (PWV), forced vital capacity (FVC), physical functioning, and grip strength.


The mean age was 80 years, 38.6% male, and 78% White.

Of the participants, 10.3% had CACS = 0 and 19.2% had CACS≥1000.

Individuals with CACS = 0 had the lowest while those with CAC≥1000 had the highest proportion with dementia (2% vs 8%), hearing impairment (46% vs 67%), low ABI (3% vs 18%), high PWV (27% vs 41%), reduced FVC (34% vs 42%), impaired grip strength (66% vs 74%), and mean composite abnormal aging score (2.6 vs 3.7).

Participants with CACS≥1000 were more likely to have low ABI (74% increased risk), high PWV (52% increase), impaired physical functioning 35% increase), and impaired grip strength (46% increase).


The study results highlight CACS as a simple measure broadly associated with biological aging, with clinical and research implications for estimating the physical and physiological aging trajectory of older individuals.

The CACS is widely available at hospitals and imaging centers, involves no injections, takes just a few seconds, and often costs $100 or less. 

These data indicate that the CACS may be the most available and cost-effective method of not only measuring cardiac aging but also assessing aging throughout the body.

About the author: At his core, Dr. Joel Kahn believes that plant-based nutrition is the most powerful source of preventative medicine on the planet. Having practiced traditional cardiology since 1983, it was only after his own commitment to a plant-based vegan diet that Dr. Kahn truly began to delve into the realm of non-traditional diagnostic tools, prevention tactics, and nutrition-based recovery protocols.

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. Additionally, it is not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Content may be edited for style and length.

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