Here’s what I DON’T recommend: a coronary artery calcium scan, a coronary CT, or any test involving radiation.
Here’s why: Radiation causes artery damage, cancer, and damage to every cell, tissue, and structure in its path. When cells die, calcium is left over, similar to a skeleton in the ground.
Coronary calcification is actually very common (especially in older adults), so why expose yourself to radiation to find this out?
One caveat is ACUTE TRAUMA. If the emergency team recommends a CT after trauma, get one if there is no alternative.
If you’ve already had a coronary CT, I would advise against another whenever possible.
What is a coronary artery (CT) scan?
Computerized Tomography (CT) is a tool commonly used for taking images of blood vessels, bones, internal organs and structures using x-rays (ionizing radiation). This type of radiation damages DNA, RNA, and may lead to cancer.
A chest CT scan exposes a patient to significant radiation because of the size of the area being x-rayed. Based on this study, there is evidence of a connection between coronary artery disease (CAD) and repeated radiation exposure.
Calcium is a sign of CAD and a CT scan detects it. A medical professional interprets the results and gives a Coronary Calcium Score. (The higher the score, the more disease).
- 0: No plaque or evidence of CAD.
- 1-10: Minimal CAD.
- 11-100: Mild CAD
- . Mild or minimal coronary narrowing is likely.
- 101-400: Moderate CAD. This shows significant narrowing possible.
- >400: Severe CAD. High likelihood of at least one significant coronary narrowing.
Do high scores require medication?
Many doctors will recommend statin drugs for coronary calcification. I do not recommend medications. The data available does not show benefit for slowing down the disease process and certainly not reversing it.
The BELLES trial took post-menopausal women with coronary artery calcium (CAC), gave half the group statin drugs and the other half a placebo. There was no change in CAC after 1 year. This was a short duration trial, but did not lessen the progression of coronary calcification, despite the reduction in LDL from the statin drug.
A Natural Approach to Improve Health
Here are my steps to a healthy heart and coronary artery disease prevention:
- Organic, paleo food. Eating like our ancestors and eating proper food. Food without chemicals, pesticides, or added sugar.
- The energy from the sun makes blood flow better. The sun does this by increasing nitric oxide, making vitamin D, and lowering inflammation. Watch my video on how to get smart sun. And check out 5 Top Tips for Safe Sun Exposure
- Get quality sleep. Sleep is when the body repairs itself, including blood vessels. Artificial light at night decreases melatonin production and stokes inflammation.
- Avoid pollution. Poor air quality outside your home AND inside leads to inflammation and blood vessel dysfunction. Clean up your indoor air with an Austin Air Purifier.
- Go outside and get active. Physical activity can decrease coronary calcification AND lower heart attack risk. Especially when paired with the 4 items above.
Supplements for Heart Health
There is not a lot of data on reversing coronary artery calcium but there is plenty of science on certain heart healthy nutrients. Check these out:
Have questions regarding these nutrients or other health concerns? Take advantage of a FREE consultation with one of our health coaches and start your health journey today!