Atherosclerosis, plaque, clogged arteries… it all means the same thing — eventual heart attack or stroke and a very good chance of death.
But if doctors are so sure cholesterol is the foe — and are prescribing statins like crazy — why does the latest technology to predict your heart attack risk center around measuring the calcium in your arteries?
What is plaque anyway?
Plaque is nasty stuff. It consists of cholesterol, fatty substances, cellular waste products, calcium and fibrin (a clotting material in the blood). And of course, when it clogs your arteries, you’re in for a world of hurt.
So, the two “ingredients” from this plaque recipe that stand out are calcium and cholesterol.
Cholesterol — because, your doctor is probably constantly preaching at you all the time to reduce it.
But do you ever hear the doctors telling you to cut down on your calcium, the way they tell you that you have to control your cholesterol? Rarely.
Why would that be? Does it have anything to do with the fact that you could cut down on your calcium intake all on your own, and take a simple vitamin (K2) to divert rogue calcium in the bloodstream to your bones where it’s needed, and away from your arteries? No special medicine needed to do any of that…
Instead they’ve convinced about 38 million Americans that they need a big fat cholesterol-lowering pill.
How calcium is a truer measure of heart disease
Have you ever had chest pain and gone to the ER? Hopefully not, but if you have, your doctor or the attending physician most likely would have had you undergo a stress test to determine if you have a blockage in your coronary arteries.
According to Viet Le, PA-C, a physician assistant and cardiovascular researcher in the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, this is what it shows…
“If you look at your coronary arteries like a hallway, the stress test essentially allows you to throw a ball down the hall, and if it makes it from point A to point B, there’s no significant blockage,” Le said. “If the hall is blocked and the ball doesn’t roll all the way through, significant heart disease is likely.”
But, Le says that can be misleading…
“Even if the ball makes it all the way down the hall, there may be boxes stacked up in the hallway, so the path is partially blocked, and if the boxes fall, you’re in danger of a complete blockage.”
So he and other researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City found a better way to test for risk… by looking at those “stacked boxes” that just might fall.
“That’s what testing for calcium does,” says Le,” It identifies existing disease. If we find calcium in your arteries, you’re more likely to suffer a major adverse event, such as a heart attack or death, or you may require a stent or bypass surgery.”
And the best way to see calcium in your arteries is by using old-fashioned image testing…
The research team found that measuring the level of calcium in the coronary arteries during stress testing using two common diagnostic tests — positron emission tomography, or PET, and computed tomography, or CT to be a better way to determine a patient’s risk of heart attack.
“Conducting a PET/CT test to measure coronary artery calcium means clinicians can tell the difference between the potential risk of heart disease and actually having disease,” Le said. “High blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and smoking are all risks of heart disease, yet many people who have those risks never have the disease or suffer an event. Coronary artery calcium is the disease — and to an extent, it shows just how much of the disease is present.”
Calcium, cholesterol and concerns
Calcium, huh? So why is it always cholesterol, cholesterol, cholesterol?
Oh yea, that statin pill they all want us to prescribe to. The one with all the side effects… and the one that would likely do very little about the calcium slowly building up in your arteries. And the one making record profits for the pharmaceutical big wigs.
Sure, for the calcium to stick, it takes some cholesterol… along with the fibrin floating around in your bloodstream and those other fatty substances and cellular waste products that all come together to gum up your arteries.
But still, conventional medicine is only hung up on the cholesterol.
See they can’t patent and prescribe EDTA chelation therapy — the one sure-fire way to clear calcium buildup from your arteries your doctor won’t discuss.
And it doesn’t fit into their business model to advise you to optimize your cholesterol through diet and exercise.
Editor’s note: Have you heard of EDTA chelation therapy? It was developed originally to remove lead and other contaminants, including heavy metals, from the body. Its uses now run the gamut from varicose veins to circulation and heart health. We’ve written the quintessential guide on chelation therapy. Click here to get yours today!
Calcium testing in coronary arteries better way to predict heart attacks than stress testing alone — American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)