High levels of calcium in the coronary arteries in middle age are associated with an increased risk of serious heart failure in the future, Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging reported.
The study involved 2449 young and middle-aged volunteers. Using tomographic scanning, specialists assessed the condition of the blood vessels of these people, including the level of accumulation of calcified plaques in the coronary arteries. These plaques contain not only calcium, but also fat and cholesterol and contribute to the narrowing of blood vessels and reduce blood flow.
Scientists evaluated the rate of plaque accumulation (CAC) in the 15th and 25th year of the study, when the average age of participants reached 50 years. At the same time, over the decade, the share of volunteers with zero CAC decreased by 5%. An increase in the level of calcified plaques correlated with age, an increase in systolic blood pressure, cholesterol levels, diabetes, and smoking.
Scientists also found that with high CAC, there is a thickening and an increase in the size of the left ventricle, regardless of other factors. Such changes lead to the fact that the heart is forced to work harder to pump blood, and the risk of life-threatening heart failure increases.