15 minute heart scan can help detect heart attack before it happens

How much is peace of mind worth to you? What if we told you a quick minute test could detect your heart attack before it ever happens?

It’s the same type of peace of mind writer Robert Rand was looking for, “I've been diagnosed twice with cancer once in my 30s and again when I was in my 50s.”

So he’s diligent about his health. On his last doctor’s visit, they suggested a coronary calcium scan, a scan that takes 15 minutes and could save your life.

“If we can identify people at risk early there is so much we can do to prevent anything bad from happening.”

Dr. Karol Watson of UCLA says the scan tells your doctor how much calcium has built up in your heart -- which is a sign there could be other heart issues, “If there's blockages in your arteries that could lead to a stroke...or blockages in your legs which could lead to an amputation”

Really significant signs of calcium can mean trouble.

Here's how the calcium levels are scored.  A score of zero means you're healthy with low risk for heart attack or stroke. 0 to 100  you have a mild risk. 100 to 400 moderate. A score over 400 means your coronary artery disease is severe. 

According to Dr. Watson, “It's a really great marker to tell who is at risk and maybe who is not.”

But the test isn't for everyone -- No need to use the scan on people who have no risk factors or people who already know they have heart issues.

As for Robert?  His scan showed he had no calcium is his arteries.   

“It gave me some Peace of mind...I've been telling friends they should go have this test”

The test isn’t covered by many insurance companies. On average it costs between  $150 and $200 dollars.

If you are interested in getting one, talk to your primary doctor.