The accumulation of calcium in a main artery outside the heart could predict a future heart attack or stroke, has shown a new study led by Edith Cowan University (USA) and published in “The Journal of the American Heart Association” . The research could help identify people at risk for cardiovascular disease years before the first symptoms appear.
After analyzing 52 studies, this team found that people who have abdominal aortic calcification (CAA) have a two to four times greater risk of suffering a cardiovascular event in the future.
The study has also seen that the more extensive the calcium in the blood vessel wall, the greater the risk of future cardiovascular events, and that people with CAA and chronic kidney disease had an even higher risk than people in the general population with CAA.
Calcium can build up in the wall of your blood vessels and harden your arteries, blocking your blood supply or causing plaque to break down, which is a leading cause of heart attacks and strokes.
Contributing factors to the calcification of the arteries are a poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking and genetics.
According to lead researcher Josh Lewis, the findings offer important clues for cardiovascular health. “Cardiovascular disease is often a silent killer, as many people do not know they are at risk.”
And he adds: “the abdominal aorta is one of the first places where calcium accumulation can occur in the arteries, even earlier than in the heart. If we catch this early, we can intervene and implement lifestyle changes and medications to help stop the progression of the condition.
The researchers hope that this discovery may lead more people to understand their own risk of having a heart attack or stroke or stroke.
“Abdominal aortic calcification is often detected incidentally on many routine tests, such as lateral spinal scans with bone density machines or X-rays, and we now have a much better idea of the prognosis in these people when it is observed.” ensures.
Lewis emphasizes that “if we can identify this situation early, people can make lifestyle changes and start preventive treatments, which could save many lives in the future.”
For Amanda Buttery, from the National Heart Foundation of Australia, this study
“It may indicate that a more comprehensive cardiovascular risk assessment is required, including blood pressure and cholesterol tests or a heart health check.”