For reasons I won’t bore you with, I was in Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital today for a CT Cardiac / Coronary Artery Calcium scan (panic not, as you’ll see, there’s nothing to worry about).
Basically this uses a CT scanner to scan the heart and its arteries to look for calcium deposits. Calcium deposits in the arteries are a significant indicator of Coronary Heart Disease, Atheroclerosis and a major predictor of Heart Attacks. Eek!
Getting a bad calcium score would lead to an angiogram to determine the full extent of narrowing of the arteries due to atherosclerotic plaques, which are the things that kill you when they break off in your blood stream and find somewhere nice and narrow to get lodged in, like a key heart artery (heart attack) or your brain (stroke).
At this point I possibly should remind you that for about 8 years I’ve been following a very high cholesterol diet: I eat red meat every day; have 15+ whole eggs a week; drink full fat milk every day; have full fat cheese 5 times a week at least; use butter to fry things, like bacon… oh the cholesterol horror! 😉
Oddly as some may think it though, my cholesterol is fine. In fact it’s better than fine, it’s fantastic:
So it was with some trepidation and some morbid curiosity, I was kind of looking forward to this test. Here are what the coronary calcium scores mean:
- 400+: Extensive atherosclerotic plaque. High likelihood of at least one significant coronary narrowing.
- 101-400: Definite, at least moderate atherosclerotic plaque. Mild coronary artery disease highly likely. Significant narrowings possible.
- 11-100: Definite, at least mild atherosclerotic plaque. Mild or minimal coronary narrowings likely.
- 1-10: Mild identifiable plaque. Risk of coronary artery disease low (<10%)
- 0: No identifiable plaque. Risk of coronary artery disease very low (<5%)
I don’t really know what I was expecting. I’d kind of girded myself against bad news and decided that I’d be ok with anything less than 50. Anything more than that, and I’d really have to have a long cold think about whether my diet was really such a good choice after all.
And what would that mean for my family, who at my encouragement, have similar diets to my own? Getting 100+ for example would definitely have rocked my dietary world.
So there I was, lying on the CT scanner bed, when the Doctor came back in with my results: “What was my score Doc?”
“You scored zero.” He said with a smile. “You can go, there’s nothing to see here.”
ZERO?!? WOOT!!! I hopped off the bed and skipped out of there. I confess in a small dreamlike moment, I had thought it would have been cool to get zero, but didn’t really give it much credence as a real possibility. I am a realist after all.
So there you have it. First the cholesterol and now the calcium tests have shown in my own completely unscientific sample of 1 solitary Colin, a high cholesterol diet DOES NOT cause high blood cholesterol and DOES NOT cause heart disease (when coupled with a low carbohydrate diet of course, as I believe it’s carbs that are the real cause of heart disease).
Happy days. 😀