The findings of a 10-year follow-up study show that people with a high coronary artery calcium score may be at an increased risk for several conditions, including COPD.

The study, “The Association of Coronary Artery Calcium With Noncardiovascular Disease: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis,” was recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Imaging.

CAC is considered a measure of vascular aging, associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.

“Plaque in the arteries is the result of cumulative damage and inflammation, and vulnerability to injury and chronic inflammation likely contributes to diseases like cancer, kidney and lung diseases, as well as cardiovascular disease,” said Michael Blaha, MD, MPH, director of clinical research for the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease and assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in a news release. “So it makes sense that the coronary calcium score — a measure of arterial aging — is predictive of noncardiovascular diseases, too.

“The reason the coronary calcium score may work so well at identifying vulnerability to a variety of chronic diseases is because it’s a direct measurement of the cumulative effect of all risk factors, rather than a consideration of a single risk factor, like obesity, smoking, or high blood pressure,” Blaha said.

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