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Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the leading cause of heart attacks. While the symptoms and signs of coronary artery disease are noticeable in the advanced state, most individuals with coronary artery disease show no evidence of disease for decades as the disease progresses before the first onset of symptoms, often a "sudden" heart attack, finally arises. CAD occurs when plaques build up and narrow your arteries, called atherosclerosis. The plaques are made of fat, cholesterol and calcium. Heart scans, like those offered at Baylor Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital, use noninvasive techniques to measure the amount of calcium in the walls of your coronary arteries-the arteries that supply your heart with blood. Having calcium in the walls of your arteries could mean that you have coronary artery disease.
This test is recommended for men ages 40 to 65 and for women ages 45 to 70 with one of the following risk factors:
If you are outside the recommended age range a physician order is required.
Younger adults may be tested if one or more of their close relatives has or had early coronary artery disease.
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