Several years ago, I randomly came across the movie The Widowmaker on Netflix. It was very informative and quite frankly concerning but not shocking as I was already solidly skeptical of many aspects of healthcare and modern dietary recommendations. About a year ago the screening identified in the movie, the calcium score (also called coronary artery calcium score, cardiac CT or CAC) resurfaced on my insulin resistance/ketogenic journey. I made a mental note to put that on my list of things to check out about myself. I recently found a radiology center where I was able to have a scan performed as a self-pay customer without a physician’s referral.
Next, I researched what the Cardiac CT for Calcium Scoring procedure entailed and then set out to fine a facility to have it performed. There was no prep required and all my clothing stayed on (smile). It probably took me longer to drive to the clinic than it did to have the scan run.
Part of my curiosity was driven by what my CAC scores would reveal to me – the presence and degree of coronary artery disease (CAD) in a person without any symptoms. I figured that my family history of coronary artery disease coupled with obesity since childhood and insulin resistance put me at some degree of risk.
After the scan, I actually experienced a mild amount of anxiety associated with the unknown; I had to wait for the results to be mailed to me. I mean, what if my arteries were jacked up? I snapped out of it pretty quickly as the answer to that question was I would figure out what to do next. Regardless of the results I would not be a victim of the results. The whole point of having the scan is to determine what action needed to be taken as I continue to work on improving my insulin resistance with my 54th year of life approaching. Reviewing several years of cardiac biomarkers from my data stored at Heads Up Health was a timely exercise to perform while I waited to receive my CAC results.
- Triglycerides (Blood Triglycerides: How to Lower Them)
- Triglyceride/HDL ratio (Forget “Bad” Cholesterol. Here’s the Number You Should Really Worry About)
- CRP-hs (C-Reactive Protein: A Marker of Inflammation)
I plugged my score into the calculator Cardiovascular Risk Assessment (10-year, MESA 2015, with or without CAC score). This calculator helps predict the 10-year risk with or without a CAC score using additional inputs with or without a calcium score. It uses inputs of race, sex, age, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, on hypertension medication, on lipid-lowering medication, diabetes, smoker and family history of MI. Gratefully, my risk is low.
Learn more about CAC testing:
Search the keyword CAC at The Fat Emperor (Ivor Cummins) blog. He has a number of posts with excellent information and references.
More to come…..