Thursday, September 13, 2007

It's the Plaque - Stupid!

I remember when I first met Dr. William Davis and we discussed the book he was writing titled "Track Your Plaque." My first thought was, "What a goofy name!" In retrospect, focusing on plaque and methods to track and reverse it was brilliant.

The latest debate about relative risk ratios and antioxidants reminds me about how traditional medicine relies on all manner of risk factors to determine how to treat heart disease. However, risk deals only with might or could happen. Yes, if you have high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or any number of other risk factors you might have heart disease. But, why live in the world of "maybe" when you could know exactly whether you have heart disease, how serious it is, and whether what you are doing is effective in treating it?! Get a heart scan and you will know for certain. As Homer Simpson would say, "DOH!"

The efficicacy of heart scans is no longer in question. Recent studies, statements by the AHA, the SHAPE guidelines all agree - heart scans are the best predictor of heart attack. I have always been impressed by the powerful statements issued by noted and independent heart disease experts and researchers.

Dr. Steven Nissen, Cleveland Clinic: "We now know that 95% to 99% of the heart disease occurs at sites WITHOUT artery narrowing. Thus, the old tests we perform to detect narrowing and blockages have really misled us. We miss over 95% of the heart disease that causes heart attacks."

Dr. Harvey Hecht, The Heart and Vascular Institute: "plaque imaging is ...not to be confused with risk factors, which merely estimate a probability of developing atherosclerosis. Rather, [plaque imaging] directly measures atherosclerosis, irrespective of the presence or absence of risk factors; it provides the final common denominator and is the most powerful predictor of cardiac events."

Regardless of cholesterol or the supplements you may or may not be taking, settle the question. Get a heart scan and, if you have a non-zero score, repeat it every year to see if you are gaining or losing ground. The plaque that is the root cause of heart disease can be treated - but only if you know how much you have!

Plaque, it's not just for teeth anymore!



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