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Old 03-25-2016, 10:00 PM   #61
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I have been wanting an updated scan but have been holding off due to the radiation. As I recall 10 yrs ago they said it was the amount in TWO chest x-rays. Not exactly enough to turn me into the Incredible Hulk but my rule is: Less radiation is better than more radiation. Have the radiation levels they used dropped? I was surprised that some people mentioned they have had several in just a few years.
Yes! Radiation levels have dropped! Depends on the scanner, but the EBT scanner I use is the same level of radiation as a mammogram, so I have no qualms about doing it yearly.
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Old 03-25-2016, 10:10 PM   #62
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Thanks to Dash man for bumping this thread. It's pretty timely for me too. I had a scan done about two weeks ago. My score was about 2200. Doc says that's about as high of a score as he has seen. Next step is to do some additional testing. I'm wearing a blood pressure monitor today, recording BP every 20 minutes for 24 hours. I've got a stress test scheduled for next week. Stress test is supposed to determine if any near-term intervention may be required. Assuming that is negative (fingers crossed), Doc wants to treat by making changes in diet and by stepping up exercise regimen. DW and I sat down with a nutritionist yesterday and got recommendations for changing the way we eat. Both Doc and nutritionist believe that diet makes the biggest difference. I think our pending retirement (later this year) will make it easier to make the changes we need to make.

Good luck to you Dash in dealing with your condition.


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Geez, why do docs say things like, "as high of a score as I've ever seen!" He just hasn't seen a whole lot of scores then. The preventive cardiologist and internist that I help specialize in this stuff and have many, many patients with higher scores than that. Heck txtig, it might be ALL hard, stable plaque and not increase risk hardly at all! You won't know that until your second scan though when you can measure rate of growth (or hopefully rate of stabilization or regression even!)

I hope he's planning on more testing than checking your blood pressure and giving you a stress test. And I really hope that stress test is not the kind where they inject you with nuclear isotopes - that is a tremendous radiation load. Because what if your BP and your stress test are ok? Then you still have no idea of the CAUSE of your plaque.

He is on the right track: diet, exercise, getting you into a nutritionist. I'm just not seeing the root cause analysis that hones in on the specific things to address.
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Old 03-25-2016, 10:18 PM   #63
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Thank you for all the good input. Even though my cardiologist appointment is a month away, dietary changes started today and exercise tomorrow. Exercise is always a challenge because of my arthritis and neck/back issues, but I'll find a way.


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I too had neck/back and knee issues. One day after the regular exam and treatment, my PA says to me, "Pete, have you ever considered Yoga?" He went on to say, "I've been doing it for about two years now...." and so then the guy had immediate credibility with me. He wasn't just lecturing me about something he read in a journal, he was sharing his own experience.

So I tried it. It took awhile. It's different. And...I love it. Better than that, my neck/back/knee are all stronger to the point that in addition to yoga, I now swim, bike, and even slow jog a bit...no pain. I credit the yoga.

My local rec center has classes literally every day of the week. All that for a senior rate of less than 20 bucks a month.

Best prescription I ever got! And...anyone...I mean anyone can do yoga. There are yoga classes for chronically ill people with cancer for example. There are gentle, seated yoga classes for those who have trouble getting onto or up from the mat.

Think about it!
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Old 03-25-2016, 10:55 PM   #64
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Not too much exercise. I certainly haven't seen the inside of gym since I was forced to in college, but do ride a bike, more to get out in nature than exercise. I eat a minimum of refined foods, but I'd say most people would say my diet is "unhealthy" because it includes meat and dairy. But I eat fermented foods (and beverages) that I make myself (bugz is good).

Besides 'bad' cholesterol accompanied by (apparently) no/low inflammation, I'm blessed with low blood pressure, just like my dad. I've been asked if I was an endurance runner (bwahhh, haha ha!). I think BP, cholesterol, CHD inflammation, etc are driven from a combination of genes and where your microbiota ended-up settling. I wish that 23andMe would join with uBiome, ask health questions, and see what they find out.

Yep, it sounds like you have won the gene lottery too. Good for you!

What fermented foods and beverages you make BTW?


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Old 03-26-2016, 01:24 PM   #65
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I had an EBT Calcium scan in my late 40's (father had first heart attack in late 50's and second at 65 killed him) and had a zero score. I'm thinking of having another (turning 65). My doc suggested statin a year ago for elevated cholesterol but I developed muscular aches and although testing said no damage, he suggested I stop. A few months ago, I resumed at half dose (5 mg lipitor generic) out of curiosity and don't seem to have side effects. I exercise regularly and BP is OK. My brother just had surgery to repair a heart valve so I'm wondering about that as a potential issue at some point. I will be having an annual physical in the near future so will discuss things then I guess.
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Old 03-26-2016, 02:20 PM   #66
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Hi Ian - I think you have a good plan to get another scan. As far as the muscle aches on a statin (that you are gratefully not experiencing now), these are often alleviated by supplementing some CoQ10. CoQ10 is a naturally-occurring substance in our bodies that produces energy for cell growth and maintenance, and guess what? Statins deplete it. So, keep CoQ10 in mind if the muscle aches come back.

And yes, discuss your brother's heart valve disease with your doc. Your risk is higher now because of that, and he may want to be proactive and have a look - I prefer echocardiograms vs. something invasive from the cath lab.

Sounds like you've made it to 65 without an event or symptoms, so I'd say your future looks outstanding!
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Old 03-26-2016, 03:36 PM   #67
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Here is an interesting article on how you can reduce your calcium score by following a strict diet and nutritional supplements. One thing of note is the calcium score typically increases by 30% a year if left untreated.

http://jeffreydachmd.com/how-to-reve...calcium-score/


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Old 03-26-2016, 04:05 PM   #68
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Turmeric and garlic also help lower cholesterol. There are 8 foods. I eat tons of them.


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Old 03-27-2016, 12:02 AM   #69
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Hi Ian - I think you have a good plan to get another scan. As far as the muscle aches on a statin (that you are gratefully not experiencing now), these are often alleviated by supplementing some CoQ10. CoQ10 is a naturally-occurring substance in our bodies that produces energy for cell growth and maintenance, and guess what? Statins deplete it. So, keep CoQ10 in mind if the muscle aches come back.

And yes, discuss your brother's heart valve disease with your doc. Your risk is higher now because of that, and he may want to be proactive and have a look - I prefer echocardiograms vs. something invasive from the cath lab.

Sounds like you've made it to 65 without an event or symptoms, so I'd say your future looks outstanding!

I tried the CoQ10 and it did not work.... upped the dosage and still did not work... doc said I am in the few % of people who just cannot take statins...
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Old 03-27-2016, 08:34 AM   #70
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Turmeric and garlic also help lower cholesterol. There are 8 foods. I eat tons of them.


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I have had results in lowering my cholesterol by taking phytosterols (plant sterols). I get them from Vitamin Shoppe.

See Phytosterols and cholesterol metabolism. - PubMed - NCBI
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Old 03-27-2016, 09:03 AM   #71
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Another good resource: Track Your Plaque Heart Disease Prevention and Reversal Online
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Old 03-27-2016, 12:13 PM   #72
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I have had results in lowering my cholesterol by taking phytosterols (plant sterols). I get them from Vitamin Shoppe.

See Phytosterols and cholesterol metabolism. - PubMed - NCBI
I don't see an article here just a review.

So, what are these plant sterols specifically?

How much should I be eating or taking as a supplement per day?

I noticed that article and every other one listed to the right have dates between 1997 and 2009. Old news? Superseded? Were plant sterols "all the rage" back then? I used to get robo calls from a highly placed local MD here in those days selling Phytonutrients and nutraceuticals and they sued the word sterols a lot.
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Old 03-27-2016, 12:41 PM   #73
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I don't see an article here just a review.

So, what are these plant sterols specifically?

How much should I be eating or taking as a supplement per day?

I noticed that article and every other one listed to the right have dates between 1997 and 2009. Old news? Superseded? Were plant sterols "all the rage" back then? I used to get robo calls from a highly placed local MD here in those days selling Phytonutrients and nutraceuticals and they sued the word sterols a lot.
Its just a pub med abstract of the article. I take one super phytosterol 900 MG, 2X/day. You can find them at Vitamin Shoppe; they also have lower dose ones as well. You might have to experiment. I can't comment on the old news, just that this supplement worked for me. I have a friend who is a radiologist who suggested giving them a try. They are plant based nutrients.
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Old 03-27-2016, 06:58 PM   #74
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I lowered my cholesterol by 40 points in a month by doing the same thing as DFW. YOu can take up to 3/day but I only needed one.
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Old 04-04-2016, 04:00 PM   #75
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Thanks to Dash man for bumping this thread. It's pretty timely for me too. I had a scan done about two weeks ago. My score was about 2200. Doc says that's about as high of a score as he has seen. Next step is to do some additional testing. I'm wearing a blood pressure monitor today, recording BP every 20 minutes for 24 hours. I've got a stress test scheduled for next week. Stress test is supposed to determine if any near-term intervention may be required. Assuming that is negative (fingers crossed), Doc wants to treat by making changes in diet and by stepping up exercise regimen. DW and I sat down with a nutritionist yesterday and got recommendations for changing the way we eat. Both Doc and nutritionist believe that diet makes the biggest difference. I think our pending retirement (later this year) will make it easier to make the changes we need to make.

Update: I had a nuclear stress test performed last week. It did not show anything abnormal. Cardiologist gave me the option of waiting a year and doing another stress test, or having a cardiac catheterization now, which would provide a definitive picture of what's going on in my heart and would reveal any blockages. Catheterization involves going into a vein in the leg and working a tube with a camera up into the heart. He definitely wasn't pushing the catheterization, just giving me the option. I'll talk it over with PCP later his week and make a decision. But, the more I read on these high calcium scores ( like mine) the more it makes sense to me to check it out.



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Old 04-21-2016, 06:04 AM   #76
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I had an appointment with my cardiologist yesterday. I'm scheduled for a nuclear stress test next Friday and a deep ultrasound look into my carotid artery the following week. He prescribed me 40mg of the generic for Lipitor to see how I do with that and will reevaluate in three months. I've lost 12 pounds since receiving my 1056 calcium score and hop to lose some more. I'm 47 pounds lighter than my all time high two years ago. I've dropped dairy, breads and pasta from my diet. I only eat lean means and veggies, preferably green, and some nuts and fruits. I feel pretty good so I think I can control this thing without anything invasive. My cardiologist told me one thing very interesting, the calcium scores, while highly accurate, show the cumulative build up in an artery and does not indicate any particular blockage. The plaque can be spread evenly through an artery or built up in one location, which is obviously more dangerous. Hopefully the nuclear stress test will reveal more. The carotid test is important since my father had two strokes by the time he was my age.
I'm glad I have all my affairs in orders, but hope they won't be needed any time soon.


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Old 04-21-2016, 06:46 PM   #77
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I heard Dr. Steven Nissen, head of the Cleveland Clinic's cardiology program on the radio yesterday. A caller asked him about a calcium scan and he suggested that a test for C-Reactive protein was a much better and less expensive test for the potential for heart attack or stroke. He said the test costs about $25 or less and was done with a simple blood draw. Next time I have a physical I think I'll ask the doc to try this.
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Old 04-22-2016, 05:35 AM   #78
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I had the calcium scan five years ago and it was somewhat high. My doc didn't seem terribly worried, and he explained to me that the calcification is an cumulative lifetime thing. So my score could have shown something old, and I might be doing fine lately.

I had the C-RP test last year and it was right in the middle of the "average risk" range.
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Old 04-22-2016, 07:00 AM   #79
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I heard Dr. Steven Nissen, head of the Cleveland Clinic's cardiology program on the radio yesterday. A caller asked him about a calcium scan and he suggested that a test for C-Reactive protein was a much better and less expensive test for the potential for heart attack or stroke. He said the test costs about $25 or less and was done with a simple blood draw. Next time I have a physical I think I'll ask the doc to try this.

He's always been an opponent of the calcium score. Even after all these years of proving its effectiveness as a predictor of heart attack risk. I had the C-Reactive protein test a couple of months before my cardiac scan and was shown to be normal risk. I'm high risk with the calcium score 1056. I'm getting a nuclear stress test next week and a carotid test the following week. I've also change my diet significantly and lost a lot of weight. I'm not taking any chances.


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Cardiac CT Scan for Calcium
Old 04-29-2016, 02:54 PM   #80
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Cardiac CT Scan for Calcium

So today I had a nuclear stress test and just got a call from my cardiologist to tell me good news. Though I have a high calcium score, the calcium is apparently spread out thinly throughout the coronary arteries and I don't have anything other than mild plaque buildup. Diet and exercise should keep me going with a follow up calcium score next year to make sure growth is under control. Next week a carotid artery test.


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