If your calcium score is zero and you go bust with your diet, how long before the score rises?

Your calcium score is zero because you’ve been having a healthful diet and exercising, and maybe there’s some good genetics and/or youth tossed into the equation.

But let’s suppose that lately you’ve been gorging on sugary foods with trans fats, and eating very little of the vegetables and fruits you used to eat a lot of.

How long do you have to keep up this bad diet before it raises that calcium score of zero?

“Usually a calcium score or stress test gives an average person about a three to five year warranty in that if it is normal, the risk will probably be low for that period of time,” says Dr. Sameer Sayeed, a cardiologist at ColumbiaDoctors of Somers, NY.

“If someone is abusing their diet, it is possible that plaque could build up in three to five years’ time to the point where it could be detected on calcium score,” adds Dr. Sayeed.

“This is about how often stress tests, but not necessarily calcium scores, are repeated to monitor for new flow-limiting plaques.”

If your calcium score is zero, this is not a green light to let your healthy eating habits go down the tubes and start eating a lot of highly processed goods with a lot of added sugars.

The sugars in processed foods are a major contributor to coronary artery plaque buildup.

Read ingredient lists of your favorite foods. You’ll be surprised over the amount of “hidden” sugars. Any ingredient that ends in “ose” is a sugar.

Calcium score is very predictive of the presence of heart disease. Calcium score is calculated using a CT scanner without contrast dye.

The test takes about 15 minutes and shows only the amount of calcified or hard plaque. It does not show the soft or unstable plaque deposits.

Dr. Sayeed performs echocardiograms and stress tests at the Midtown Manhattan and Westchester offices at Columbia Doctors. He is also trained in cardiac CT imaging.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.