Protecting Your Arteries

Dr. Suzanna Steinbaum on keeping your arteries healthy.
5:35 | 01/18/12

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Transcript for Protecting Your Arteries
You may think -- -- the picture of health but as our own ABC anchor Bill Weir recently discovered a locking in your artery. Can take you by surprise and have potentially fatal consequences. So what are the causes what are the symptoms and what can you do about it. Joining us now to discuss as director of the heart and vascular institute at Lenox Hill Hospital doctor Suzanne Stein -- doctors I'm month thanks so much for joining us thanks for. This is such an amazing story because bill we care -- we all know here at ABC is just the picture of -- I think he was completely taken by surprise as -- all of us here at ABC to learn that he had. A calcium score. Tell us what that is exactly. -- schooler is essentially cat -- it takes a picture of the heart it's very similar in concept to a mammogram in a way. The calcium is associated with plaque formation. So when you have plaque buildup in the artery on top of -- is a layer of -- If you haven't positive calcium score meaning there's calcium that -- in the arteries. You have plaque formation so this is something that's not irreversible. At this point. This is something that you really need to know he had if you have risk factors of heart disease high blood pressure high cholesterol diabetes. Smoking obesity stats and what bill had also a family history and then you might be at risk for the development of -- for me -- Once you get -- calcium score and you see that you have a and doing everything you can to reverse -- Progression. The increase seven it is crucial and that's really diet and exercise but how common is fifth and someone who outwardly has no symptoms. This is more common than you would think because really -- symptoms to balance. When the blockage is greater than 70%. -- you can have soccer calcium score that's hot -- And no symptoms because it's not greater than 70%. So what can we all do -- if we assume that -- fine but we. There could be calcium growing an artery. I think -- take home message is yes. We don't need to get sick from heart disease 80% of the time there is something that we can do about it. We need early detection and prevention. And left -- -- it was really. Early detection. If you have risk factors -- need a family history getting calcium score if you -- make you happy. Change your life. He talked about it. -- yes but he also went through a very fancy and advance to the screening system how accessible are these screening systems to the average American. I would tell you to blood test to get your class we'll check in sugar attacked. And you really can get -- calcium -- It's not that it's it's an idea -- on that night. I'm accessible so you should ask your doctor about it it didn't have any of those risk factors that you mentioned -- -- at some and then of course the lifestyle. The way you -- -- exit that plays a part cracked. I think it's creation it's crucial to prevent it from happening and for the development. -- getting worse. Really -- he had mentioned -- may be his diet wasn't so crane. But the exercise component was great fat diet become so inquiry. And eating a diet that's films with vegetables and fruits. -- facts. Cold water fish this is really the best diet out there are good for everyone regardless of your I have medical and I hate. Doctor if I -- thank you so much thanks for.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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