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Valarie
Valarie, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
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Experience:  36+ yrs exprience medical, surgical, wound/skin care, nutrition, geriatrics, rehab, management
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What does moderate calcification of the abdominal aorta mean,

Resolved Question:

What does moderate calcification of the abdominal aorta mean, and how serious is it?
Thank you,
T. Stevens
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Valarie replied 2 years ago.
Hello. Thank you for coming to JustAnswer with your question, and welcome.

Calcification of an artery is also known in lay terms as "hardening" of the arteries. With moderate calcification of the abdominal aorta, it means that the major artery that moves blood from the heart to your body is narrowed and not as pliable as it should be. It may also mean that you probably have the same condition wide-spread in the other arteries of your body (or, atherosclerosis). This would put you at risk for such conditions as heart disease, strokes and peripheral vascular disease.

Treatment of the condition depends on your particular problems and other health conditions. An example--treatment of high blood pressure to keep your blood pressure in normal ranges as this is a risk factor for worsening atherosclerosis (or, hardening of the arteries). Weight management if you are overweight would be another treatment.....dietary changes to promote a normal weight, normal blood sugar, and normal cholesterol levels.

Here are some links to explain further (just copy and paste into your browser):

http://www.e-radiography.net/radpath/c/calcabdoaorta.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/arteriosclerosis-atherosclerosis/DS00525

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
My blood pressure runs 90 over 60 something at most times. I am a diabetic with a A1C
of 6.1. I do have a weight issue. I feel the answer did not answer my question! Should I be sent to a Cardio Doctor to be evaluated, to be watched? Is a family doctor adequate to monitor this health situation?

Thank you,

Terry Stevens
Expert:  Valarie replied 2 years ago.
You should discuss your concerns with your family doctor, and request more tests and a possible referral to a specialist depending on the outcome of the tests. Most likely, if you have calcification of the abdominal aorta, you also have it elsewhere (heart, brain, extremities, etc.) Besides controlling risk factors (blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels), there isn't much more treatment, other than lifestyle changes (examples, incorporating daily exercise, not smoking, lowering consumption of alcohol, and dietary modifications). However, since you are concerned, you will want to know what your actual risks are for more problems going forward. So, having your doctor investigate how wide-spread the atherosclerosis is would be a good start. The Mayo Clinic link I have given you above explains further. See the menu at the left side of the page, and the tabs across the top.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

My A1C is 6.2, CHOL is 132, HDL 46, LDL 57. Blood tests done on 3/5/12.

Is this disease hereitary? What other tests are recommened?

Thank you very much.

Expert:  Valarie replied 2 years ago.
Hello,
Your cholesterol and LDL levels are good. Your A1c at 6.2 would have to be discussed with your physician, as diabetics commonly run a bit higher than normal. But if this is within your "target" range per your treatment plan, then no worries. Your HDL is a bit low. Above 60 is optimal for HDL, which is the "good" cholesterol that is protective, keeping the "bad" cholesterol (LDL) from building up in your arteries.
As for tests: An EKG to check heart function. Ultrasounds and CT scans can check the condition of other larger arteries in the body. Tests like a "Doppler Ultrasound" and "Ankle-brachial index" can be done to check the arteries in your legs. A "stress test" can further check cardiac function and the condition of the arteries that supply the heart. Even a physical exam incorporates a general test of the condition of your circulatory system. A list of these tests can be found in the link from Mayo Clinic that I have given you above.
Yes, it is hereditary in some people. Diabetes is also a major risk factor for developing the condition.
Valarie, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 1228
Experience: 36+ yrs exprience medical, surgical, wound/skin care, nutrition, geriatrics, rehab, management
Valarie and 8 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Valarie,

As an expert, should my doctor have advised me on this situation instead of me having to call and point it out to him? I am concerned that he missed something that could be life threatening!

 

Thank you for your continued answers ans much needed help. It is easing my concerns and leading me in a health direction of my choice.

 

Terry Stevens

Expert:  Valarie replied 2 years ago.
You are certainly welcome.

Many times, physicians are a bit "pushed" for time in the office. It might be helpful to schedule an appointment specifically to discuss the condition and your concerns with him/her. You would be surprised how many people do not really care to discuss issues with the physician, so he/she may have assumed that you would ask questions if you wanted to know something. I understand, however, that some people will not know what to ask at the time.....office procedures and timing being what they are these days.

In the meantime, you might look at some things that you can do to help yourself.
---Daily exercise (even just walking) can help lower LDL and raise HDL which would be protective to your circulatory system. As much aerobic exercise as you can manage would be helpful, but get this OK'd by your doctor first.
---Also, you might consider replacing any fat in your diet with monosaturated fats such as olive oil, canola oil, avocados and peanut butter. Avoid saturated fats as much as possible, and strictly avoid trans fats.
---Add soluble fiber to your diet (whole grains, legumes, vegetables); or even a soluble fiber supplement such as Metamucil.
---Other means of increasing HDL include cranberry juice (though this may increase your blood sugar); fish for its omega 3 content; and make sure you are getting enough calcium in your diet (2-3 cups of nonfat milk is helpful).

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