The most common treatment for coronary calcification involves dietary and lifestyle changes, as well as medication. Surgery may also be used in very severe cases. If a heart attack is not imminent, less invasive measures are usually attempted first and the condition is closely monitored. The goal of most treatment is to either thin the blood so that it flows more easily, or to directly reduce buildup in the arteries.
Certain lifestyle changes are often the first and most recommended treatment for coronary calcification patients. This can include avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, eating foods which are low in bad cholesterol and high in good cholesterol, and exercising regularly. These actions are generally recommended for all patients, whether or not additional treatments are required. Not all patients will respond to these methods alone.
It is important to consult a medical doctor before adapting a new exercise or diet plan, since not all patients are healthy enough to engage in strenuous activities. Working directly with a doctor and dietitian is often the best way to ensure safety and effectiveness. When beginning an exercise program, it is usually a good idea to start slowly and ease into working out before attempting high-impact activities.
Medication is another common form of treatment for coronary calcification. Aspirin is commonly recommended because it affects blood platelets and prevents clotting. This is often referred to "thinning the blood," and it allows blood to flow more smoothly through tight or hardened arteries. Additional medications may be used to widen the arteries themselves or to remove buildup. Various drugs may be used in combination with one another.
The most severe cases may require surgical treatment for coronary calcification. This generally involves the insertion of a thin tube directly into the arteries. A balloon is put in place and then expanded to widen the artery. If blood flow is cut off entirely, a heart attack will occur and more invasive measures may be needed. This can include open heart surgery in various forms to either reroute the clogged artery, widen it, or clear it.
Treatments are decided upon on a patient by patient basis. Medications should not be started or discontinued without a doctor's advice. Many patients are able to reverse calcification or prevent further blockages by just changing lifestyle habits.