What is a Coronary Calcium Scan

what is a coronary calcium scanI want to explain to you exactly what is a coronary calcium scan.  Many will not have heard of it but those who have, may have had one of these tests done.  The test gives a score of the likelihood of getting heart disease.  The higher the score, the more chance of having a heart event.

This image shows severe calcification of the left anterior descending coronary artery (red arrow).  The portion of the circumflex coronary artery within the imaging plane (white arrow).  The aortic root around the origin of the left main coronary artery (yellow arrow).

Cholesterol Problem? No, Calcium problem!

Arterial plaque slowly increases as we age, but it does not have to be this way.  Excessive intake of calcium (Ca) is a real problem in this day and age.  What’s worse, it is the elderly who seem to be given the most Ca supplements.  They are told to drink plenty of milk and products with Ca in them such as yoghurts.  Much of these foods are also fortified with Ca by the food manufacturers.

Is 99% of calcium in your bones?skeleton

Not all of your Ca supplement will be going into your bones. Excess will be deposited into your soft tissue and you have no idea where in your body it will settle.  Our modern diet has excessive Ca in it.  Consequently, a Ca supplement to augment an already plentiful Ca level is unnecessary and dangerous.

Arterial plaque is a calcium problem

If you know that too much Ca is wreaking havoc on your body, you can do something about it.  If nobody tells you of the dangers of this excess, how are you supposed to know, you’re not a doctor.  But you do expect your own doctor to tell you about dangerous excesses or deficiencies.  Sadly, this doesn’t often happen, unless your allopathic doctor is also a naturopath.

coronary calcium scanSlowly turning to stone

Over time, your Ca supplement is slowly turning into rock inside your body.  These little rocks are floating around and settling in all kinds of places.  We talk about the heart more than any other part of the body because it is our most important organ or muscle.  However, we must not forget other important parts of the body.  In fact a Ca deposit anywhere except in the bones and teeth is not desirable.

Don’t blame cholesterol!

Most people including doctors, blame cholesterol for a build up of fatty plaques. But the truth is the majority of the plaques are calcified.  Cholesterol is waxy and soft and does not actually harden the arteries on its own.  Ca, on the other hand, acts like concrete and hardens the arteries, impairing their ability to be pliable.

Exactly what is a coronary calcium scan

The Mayo Clinic describes it as follows:   “A heart scan, also known as a coronary calcium scan, is a specialized X-ray test that provides pictures of your heart that can enable your doctor to detect and measure calcium-containing plaque in the arteries.”

what is a coronary calcium scan
Dr Agatston

A group of cardiologists in the 1980s, led by a Dr Arthur Agatston, devised a way to determine the amount of coronary calcium within the arteries.  They used electron beam computed tomography, known commonly as ultrafast CT scan.

How much Ca or the density of the Ca is measured in Hounsfield units using the Hounsfield scale.  This entails the weighed score multiplied by the area of the coronary calcification.  This provides the Ca score and is known as the Agatston score.

What is a Coronary Calcium Scan Score

A patient with a high Ca score will be more likely to have significant narrowing and stiffening of the coronary arteries.  The severity of which can only be surmised.  But common sense predicts that the higher the calcium score the higher the risk of a heart event.

A patient with a low Ca score will be much less likely to have severe stiffening or narrowing of the coronary arteries than the higher scoring patient.  Even so, despite a low score, patients can still succumb to cardiovascular events but these incidences will be rarer.

what is a coronary calcium scanWhat about the rest of the body?

A high coronary calcium score, would also indicate Ca deposits throughout the rest of the body.  Kidney stones, gall stones, osteoporosis, heel spurs, periferal artery disease etc. could be lurking.  This image shows a calcified artery in the leg.

Coronary Calcium Score Interpretation

Below are the definitions used to relate the coronary calcium score:

  • Zero = No identifiable plaque. Risk of coronary artery disease very low ie. <5%
  • 1-10 = Mild identifiable plaque. Risk of coronary artery disease low ie. <10%
  • 11-100 = Definite, at least mild atherosclerotic plaque. Mild or minimal coronary narrowings likely.
  • 101-400 = Definite, at least moderate atherosclerotic plaque. Mild coronary artery disease highly likely. Significant narrowings possible.
  • >400 = Extensive atherosclerotic plaque. High likelihood of at least one significant coronary narrowing.

Official interpretation advises that age and gender should be considered.  This implies that it is accepted the older generation will slowly calcify. This acceptance or foregone conclusion is a crime in my mind.  If anyone of any age has a risk, then that patient should be educated.  Advice about prevention or even reversal of the situation should be available to everyone.  Presumption and even exacerbating excess Ca in the older body is unacceptable.  Medics need to learn about the dangers of excess Ca instead of encouraging supplementation, which will inevitably compromise the patient’s health, in many areas.

what is a coronary calcium scanPharmaceutical drugs such as Statins, will likely be offered to those at risk, (or even those that aren’t at risk).  But, appropriate nutritional supplements can be more beneficial.  Also they will not inflict a toxic burden on the body like drugs do.  According to research, supplements such as Magnesium, Vitamin K2 (MK7), hormone (vitamin) D3 and Vitamin C, can actually reverse calcifications. On the other hand, drugs will at best maintain the condition, but rarely reverse or cure it and at worst aggravate any disease.

A word about statins?

If you knew exactly what statins did to your body, you would think twice about taking this drug.  Many of my friends and family, have been put on statins. This despite the fact that they have never had a heart event.  It’s just not worth the risk of the side effects.  Thankfully, two of my relatives have refused statins. I worry about friends and relatives taking everything their doctor gives them without question. The sooner we stop our love affair with doctors and the pharmaceutical industry, the better!

Are you on statins?

For those who have had a heart attack or other heart related problems, statins will be on their drug list.  Statins are known to deplete CoQ10 (ubiquinol). Has your doctor prescribed ubiquinol to take with your statin?  Is your liver being regularly tested for increased liver enzymes?  How is your mental acuity?  Do your muscles hurt?

statin fraudIndependent research has shown that there is no proof that statins even work. But the side effects can be damaging.  The majority of the research that enthuses about the merits of statins, will have been done by companies that sell the drug.  Research done by companies on behalf of a drug company should also be viewed with suspicion.

Magnesium (natural) versus Statins (multi billion dollar drug)

Statins are a multi billion dollar profit drug for the pharmaceutical industry and profits are their top priority, not safety.  What statins actually do is inhibit an important enzyme (HMG CoA reductase).  Magnesium, on the other hand, is a natural regulator of this enzyme which controls the production of cholesterol.  So why would you use a drug to deactivate this enzyme.  The body has a perfectly good natural way of controlling it.  If you do have high cholesterol levels, perhaps you’re deficient in magnesium!  Your vitamin K2 may be low and perhaps you live in area without much sun, so you may need a D3 supplement. Remember, cholesterol is vital for your body.  If it’s too low it could cause problems, including mental acuity and demyelination.  Did you know the brain is 60% fat!

Todays ultrafast spiral CT scanwhat is a coronary calcium scan

Today the ultrafast spiral CT is being used to evaluate coronary calcium. This is a technique which is very fast with scanning times taking around 10 seconds.  The patient does not need to prepare for the scan.  Fasting is not necessary.  However, patients are often asked to refrain from smoking and ingesting caffeine drinks before the scan.

Radiation is a consideration

The radiation involved with the CT scan is a consideration especially if multiple scans have been done previously.  There may be an increased radiation induced cancer risk with repeat procedures.

what is a coronary calcium scanA change of lifestyle

Treatment of individuals with high calcium scores should aim at reducing risk.  A change of lifestyle is critical.  This includes a no junk food/drink diet, regular exercise, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake.

Using supplements

Equally important is balancing vital nutrients.  Taking vitamin K2(MK7) and magnesium will help usher calcium from soft tissue back to the bones.  Once your magnesium levels are replete, consider being tested for D3 to make sure you don’t over supplement.  Vitamin C, which we can’t make in our bodies, should be regularly taken.  These are 4 nutrients which I think are vital but, of course, there are many more to consider including the B complex.

Watch that calcium intakecoronary calcium scan

Taking a ruck of supplements can be a pain, but do consider carefully what you eat and take the most vital nutrients for your body.  Do be careful with Ca, it is so easy to take too much.  This means researching for yourself and working with your medic rather than letting him control what you ingest without question.  Educate your doctor on nutrition!

Doctors of the future

Ches PowerThe best doctors are those that have been trained in allopathic medicine as well as naturpathic treatments.  They will only prescribe a drug if it’s absolutely necessary and will try and treat you using nutrients.  Pharmaceutical drugs are to be avoided if at all possible.

Prostate? You may want a second opinion!

fake researchNot all research is equal

Prostate problems?  I do a lot of research before writing my articles and there’s one thing I really have to watch out for.  Modern research is very suspect. You have to be really careful that the studies you are citing do not have a conflict of interest associated with them.  Making sure the research is from a bona fide research establishment which has not been ‘hired’ by a pharma company is imperative.  It is claimed that 50% of research and studies now are bogus or manipulated.  This will always be to favour the drug or procedure in question.  Often bigGSK pharma put their research out to study groups, doctors and researchers. They are paid enormous amounts of money to produce results that favour the drug or procedure.  This will often be to the detriment of the end user, YOU!

Old research on the prostate

Research that was done in the last century, is much more reliable. This was before the big pharmaceuticals took over. Most of the researchers were doctors or other medical practioners who were principled and honourable.  Just because a study is old, doesn’t mean the results are not worthy.  If a study proves a point or comes up with a definitive conclusion, then that study is as dependable as any study done today, if not more so.  Unfortunately, many older studies are passed by or ignored, just because of their age.  This is sad, because there are some real gems out there. One of them is to do with the prostate.

mineralsDr Favier and mineral balances

A Dr Joseph Favier wrote a book in the 1960s. It was about mineral balances and health and it dealt specifically with the mineral magnesium.  The book explained about the importance of magnesium (Mg) as a medication and how necessary it was for the health of the body.  There is a specific chapter about Mg’s effect on the prostate.  The book is out of print unfortunately and I haven’t been able to obtain a copy as yet.

Mg Chloride and the prostate

Dr Favier credits a Dr Stora for being the first to discover Mg chloride as a treatment for urinary problems of the prostate. Back in 1930, he informed the Medical Academy of France of what he had discovered.  A few days after, the famous Dr Pierre Delbet submitted a similar report.  His studies showed the same results with magnesium chloride.

All physicians were on Mg Chloride!Mg glass

When Dr Favier and Dr Stora discussed the treatment, Dr Favier decided to consult with some of his physician friends.  Much to his surprise he found they were all taking magnesium chloride!  Of the five he spoke with, four of them had problems urinating, particularly at night.  After taking the magnesium, they all found their nighttime difficulties abated or disappeared.

10 out of 12 cured

Another doctor, Dr Chevassu, had some data regarding 12 prostatic patients who he treated with magnesium.  Out of the 12, 10 were cured.  Of the other two, one went missing and his results were not known. The other patient was not cured but his condition had improved with just his nightly urination problem remaining.  What was a bonus is that these patients had an improvement in their general wellbeing.  There was something about the magnesium that was making them feel better in themselves.

77 year old
A blockage in the urethra

One of Dr Chevassu’s patients was a 77 year old man who could not pass urine at all.  He had to be cathetered regularly every day.  Although he regained the ability to urinate, he was going 5 times a night with the bladder never fully emptying.  Magnesium treatment was started on December 14th and went on until the 21st February 1930.  The frequency of urinations went from 5 times a night to 3 times with a low residue of 20 grams.  The patient was well pleased.  Thinking himself cured, he stopped the medication.  Three days later, the frequency increased and the residue went up to 126 grams.  Of course, the treatment was resumed. By the 21st March the patient’s frequency had reduced to 2 to 3 urinations per night.

Prostatectomy operation cancelled

Another of Dr Chevassu’s patients who had complete retention of urine was to have an operation to remove his prostate.  Dr Chevassu thought the operation too dangerous and started magnesium chloride tablets.  The patient started to urinate and left the hospital without having the operation.  He carried on taking the magnesium chloride after leaving hospital.  From then on he had no difficulty or pain when urinating.  He was so grateful to the doctor that he made a point of visiting him regularly as a friend.

On Mg, nobody suffered prostate problems.

In his book, Dr Favier remarks that among all the men who had been taking magnesium chloride for years none of them, to his knowledge, had ever suffered any further symptoms of prostate problems.

Dr Pierre Delbet’s observation

Dr Pierre Delbet who has done much research and cured many of various magnesium deficiency diseases, not least poliomyelitis, remarks about his ideas of growing older. He explains that the organs of the body do not deteriorate or age at the same rate.  He says the muscular system ages the quickest and the nervous system the slowest.

As we age Mg declines and Ca increases

He suggests that magnesium diminishes slowly with advancing age. It has been shown that the bones of old rabbits have less magnesium in them than young ones.  At the same time as magnesium declines, calcium increases.  He added that excess calcium and reduced magnesium are characteristic of the senile testicle.  He also confirms that this is the same in the brain too.  So, as we age magnesium diminishes while calcium rises.

Interestingly, calcium is considered to be a ‘framework’ mineral whilst magnesium is an ‘action’ mineral.  In other words calcium is static and magnesium is dynamic.

It’s not rocket science

So we know that magnesium becomes less abundant as we grow older and at the same time calcium increases. Would it not be common sense to increase our Mg and decrease our Ca intake.  It is now common knowledge that Ca and Mg should be in our bodies in equal measures.  Keeping this equilibrium of these two vital minerals is surely the way forward.

Dr BriffaDr John Briffa

Back to the present day, Dr John Briffa says that not all men with symptoms of an enlarged prostate have an enlarged prostate.  So what’s going on?

He explains that difficulty in urinating will lead a doctor to concentrate on the prostate.  An enlarged prostate can cause problems with urinating because of the squeezing effect it has on the urethra.

An overlooked condition

He also states that not all symptoms will exhibit BPH (benign prostatic enlargement) and not all BPH symptoms mean prostate problems.  He has found that some men have urinary symptoms that don’t stem from the prostate.  This condition he thinks, could easily be overlooked.

An overactive bladder

It would appear that some men, like women, can get bladder dysfunction which leads to many similar symptoms to BPH.  As women don’t have prostates, their symptoms will lead mostly straight to a bladder problem or urinary tract condition.  Because men have a prostate and the symptoms are similar, doctors often forget about a bladder condition and may misdiagnose a prostrate problem.  An overactive bladder could be what many men are suffering from, not prostate problems.

sensitive bladderWomens urinary tract problems are mostly put down to childbirth damage, mens are put down to prostate problems.  Perhaps doctors should take a more careful look at possible bladder problems in men and not assume the prostate is the cause.

It is important to make a correct diagnosis.  It is extremely stressful for a patient to have to deal with a prostate problem.  Supplementation of a simple mineral could alleviate a lot of anxiety, apart from benefitting the general health of the patient.

Another problem is when a patient is ‘assumed’ to have a prostate problem. Various types of drugs will be prescribed which could be an unnecessary extra toxic burden on the body.  Some of these drugs have serious side effects like impotence, ejaculation disorders, decreased sexual drive and enlargement or tenderness of the breast area.  Other more serious side effects include an increased risk of prostate cancer.

Mistakes do happen

If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, it is a good idea to get a second or even third opinion.  Pathologists have a hard time sometimes distinguishing cellular level behaviour of tissue and your doctor can only go by the pathologists determination.  As the linked article shows, most doctors will be happy for you to send your biopsies to another recognised facility, such as John Hopkins of Baltimore.

muscle spasmAdequate Mg = normal function of all muscles

Dr Briffa confirms that an overactive bladder is often related to a Mg deficiency.  To have normal muscular function it is absolutely vital to have adequate Mg.  If not the body will be prone to muscle spasms and don’t forget your heart is a muscle!  When you think of all the areas in the body that have muscles, including the bladder, it is understandable why a Mg deficiency will cause so much havoc to a depleted body.

Dr Briffa will look out for signs in his patients such as cramping, restless leg syndrome, tight muscles and recommend at least 400mg of elemental Mg per day.  If you do have symptoms of urgency and having to get up in the night numerous times, why don’t you try a good Mg supplement first, before making your way to the doctor’s surgery.  It will definitely do you good even if you don’t have prostate problems.

Mg:CaThere’s so much that goes wrong when Mg and Ca are not balanced

Nearly all of us are deficient in this mineral and making the deficiency worse is consuming too much Ca.  This will only exacerbate any problems of tightness you have, whether it be headaches, heart arrhythmias, digestive problems, twitching around the face and eyes, restless legs, insomnia, asthma to name a few.   If you have any heartChes Power problems, Mg is a must.  Without enough Mg, Ca will start to calcify in various places in the soft tissues, not least the coronary arteries, the brain and let’s not forget the testicles!


Doctors are…not to be trusted?

I checked out a google search where I just put in ‘doctors are’ and was quite surprised to see the suggested answers by google to this question.  This would indicate that the general public are putting there own ending to ‘doctors are’ which may be quite a surprise to some of you.

Here is a screenshot of what I mean:doctors are...Continue reading Doctors are…not to be trusted?

Calcium Supplements = Heart Disease

calcium supplementsCalcium supplements are usually not necessary and can be positively dangerous.  I spoke of the dangers of too much Calcium (Ca) in this post, but I want to give you an idea of where Ca can land up in our bodies.  If it is NOT laid down in our bones as most of it should be, this is what can happen.  The following images give an idea of the effects of a Ca overload on your heart and the rest of your body.  99% of Ca should be in your bones with just 1% in your cells, soft tissue and bloodstream. This first image is a three dimensional CTA data set showing calcifications in coronary arteries. Continue reading Calcium Supplements = Heart Disease

Vitamin D Activation – a little known fact

Vitamin D activation is necessary for the stored form of vitamin D to become available to the body.  Did you know that the vitamin D within you is stored in its inactive form.  Until it is activated, it cannot be properly utilized.   This means you could have plenty of vitamin D in its inactivated form but unless you have good reserves of a certain nutrient, the vitamin will stay inactivated and unavailable.

Are you replete?vitamin D activation

You may think that you’ve had plenty of sunshine, eaten plenty of vitamin D rich foods and must be replete.  If your doctor tests you for vitamin D deficiency your levels will show good because the test picks up on the inactive form. Continue reading Vitamin D Activation – a little known fact