How to Know You Won’t Have a Sudden-Death Heart Attack Over the Next Ten Years
by Bill Sardi
Recently by Bill Sardi: Did 1918 Spanish Flu Deaths Result From Aspirin-Induced Scurvy (VitaminCDeficiency)?
If you want assurance that you aren’t going to experience a sudden-death heart attack over the next few years, look not to your cholesterol numbers, but rather your calcium arterial score.
According to the latest study (see chart below), the chances of experiencing a mortal heart attack or stroke over the next 4 years is near zero if the measure of calcium deposits in your coronary arteries is zero. On the other hand, if your calcium coronary artery score is 1000 or more, you only have ~15% chance of surviving over the next 4 years. If your calcium artery score is greater than 1000, your risk of dying from a sudden-death heart attack or mortal stroke is ~28 times higher than a people with no calcifications in their coronary arteries.
CAC = coronary artery calcium HR = hazard ratio p value = statistical significance (lowest number is best)
With realization that sudden cardiac death is frequently the first manifestation of coronary artery disease, and with current technology only able to predict 65—80% of future heart attacks or strokes, and with one study showing just 25% of patients would meet the criteria for statin cholesterol drug therapy the day before their first heart attack, modern medicine is desperately searching for a more reliable approach to predict sudden-death heart attacks.
A growing body of data unequivocally shows that a measure of calcium deposits in coronary arteries is 99% predictive of future heart attacks.1 However, the cholesterol-theory of heart disease prevails and it would be quite an admission that cardiology has been misdirected for the past five decades, a concession that modern medicine is still not ready to accept. But the fact that cardiac care costs more than $475 billion a year may force stronger justification of all the technologies employed to prevent and treat heart disease.
With cardiology not budging away from its cholesterol mantra, cardiac imaging centers that perform assessments of calcification of coronary arteries are unfairly being questioned for their exorbitant cost — in the billions of dollars. These coronary CT-scans do subject patients to radiation equivalent to quite a few chest x-rays, but they more accurately predict future heart attacks and strokes than other assessment tools. (Coronary artery calcium scores of 0 indicate no plaque; 1—9 minimal; 10—99 mild; 100—399 moderate; 400—999 extensive; and 1,000 or more very extensive plaque.) According to the most recent study, about 100 adults would have to be screened to find 8 with coronary artery calcium scores indicative of a high risk for a heart attack or stroke.2 Albeit, a coronary calcium score of zero is 99% reliable in predicting 10-year survival of patients with no cardiac symptoms.3
Natural antidotes to coronary artery calcification are:
- Sarwar A, Shaw LJ, Shapiro, MD, et al. Diagnostic and prognostic value of absence of coronary artery calcification J Am Coll Cardiol Img 2009;2: 675—688.
- Leslee J. Shaw, PHD, James K. Min, MD, Matthew Budoff, MD, Daniel S. Berman, MD, Induced Cardiovascular Procedural Costs and Resource Consumption Patterns After Coronary Artery Calcium Screening. J. Am. Coll. Cardiol. 2009; 54; 1258—1267.
- Blaha M, Budoff MJ, Shaw LJ, et al. Absence of coronary artery calcification and all-cause mortality J Am Coll Cardiol Img 2009;2:692—700.
- Am Shea MK, O’Donnell CJ, Hoffmann U, Dallal GE, Dawson-Hughes B, Vitamin K supplementation and progression of coronary artery calcium in older men and women. J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jun; 89(6):1799—807.
- Spiegel DM, Farmer B Long-term effects of magnesium carbonate on coronary artery calcification and bone mineral density in hemodialysis patients: A pilot study. Hemodial Int. 2009 May 12.
- de Boer IH, Kestenbaum B, Shoben AB, Michos ED, Sarnak MJ, Siscovick DS. 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels inversely associate with risk for developing coronary artery calcification. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2009 Aug; 20(8):1805—12.
- Seely S, Is calcium excess in western diet a major cause of arterial disease? Int J Cardiol. 1991 Nov; 33(2):191—8.
Bill Sardi [send him mail] is a frequent writer on health and political topics. His health writings can be found at www.naturalhealthlibrarian.com. He is the author of You Don’t Have To Be Afraid Of Cancer Anymore.