Well, I had to go for it one day and it happened this week. I am not to keen about doing too much medical testing but, at now 57 years old, with an horrific family history of hearth diseases and almost 40 years of eating the recommended and trendy high carbohydrate, high starch, rich in trans fat diet of the 70’s and 80’s, I really had to stop and evaluate what is my actual hearth condition…
I did not want to consult a cardiologist as these guys tend to always do a “stress test” which, according to many studies, only sees coronary blockages over 75%, which doesn’t give any idea about the “cardiac risk”… if you do not have the said 75% blockages…
Aside considering the “risk factors” for hearth diseases, which have some value but a lot of limitations because they only are “statistical risks”, I needed to find a way to find where I was at this point of my life and to evaluate the consequences of 15 years of low carb lifestyle, including 3 years on a Zero Carb diet.
Coronary Calcium Scoring CT SCAN is a test, which is easy and fast, which is non-invasive (no needle, no injection), painless, and gives, according to the actual studies, a good estimate of the risk of suffering from a cardiac event in a predefined period of time, according to one’s age. It is done with an ultra-fast CT SCAN (computed tomography), as the pictures are taken between 2 heartbeats and come out as thin sections of the heart. The results given are called a “CALCIUM SCORING” of the coronary arteries.
There is no preparation for the test, no major contraindication, and aside the fact you need a doctor prescription, it is the fastest and easiest thing to do on earth. The cost may vary greatly depending on where you have it done; generally it may go from $100 up to $350.
The results are given according to the level of calcium deposit in the coronary arteries, which signals the presence of atherosclerosis, a disease of the vessel wall, also called coronary artery disease (CAD). Results are classified in 5 categories, the “Cardiac Scoring Calcium Chart”:
1- 0 : no evidence of CAD
2- 1 – 10 : minimal evidence of CAD
3- 11 – 100 : mild evidence of CAD
4- 101 – 399 : moderate evidence of CAD
5- plus 400 : extensive evidence of CAD
Anything that comes out over 101 requires more testing and eventual medical or even chirurgical treatment. Interestingly, some centers are considering a score under 10 as NEGATIVE… and the maximum score one can get is 1,000 !!!
So here I went and got a Hearth CT SCAN done. After I registered and paid for the test, I lied down on the CT SCAN bed, answered a few questions from the technician, and got some hearth electrode installed. And then I was sliding into the CT machine. It took 2 adjustments of the beam to detect the exact starting position, when I had to hold my breath for 10 seconds, and then the X-RAY beams began to rotate around me, measuring the amount of radiation were being absorbed throughout my body while the table was moving… with another 10 seconds of breath holding and the test was done.
To understand the significance of one’s score, it is important to put it into context of “normals for age”. The thinking is that plaque, which occurs prematurely in younger individuals, is more aggressive and hence more prone to lead to a hearth attack then plaque which develops slowly with age. Hence a 70-year-old man with a coronary calcium score of 150 (about average for that age group) has slower growing, more stable plaque than a 40-year-old with a score of 150. The latter has a more aggressive plaque forming process and will need to be treated accordingly.
For Asymptomatic patients in my age group, 25 % of men would have a score of zero, 50 % a score between 1 and 100, 20 % a score between 100 and 400, and 8 % a score over 400. So you can see 75 % of folks my age do present some coronary calcium… AND having a score between 1 and 100, at my age, can also be considered “normal”…
So here I am, a 57 years old guy, with a severe family history of hearth disease (father had 1st hearth attack at 49 and nobody else survived older then 63 in the family), which had been eating the horrific “Western Countries Style diet” for the first 42 years of his life, now on a Zero Carb extremely HIGH saturated fat diet with NO ingestion of food items from plant origin since 3 years, with a Type A personality, and have had many signs of a Metabolic Syndrome in the past (obesity, pre-diabetes, lipid disorder) that are, luckily today, under control with a Zero Carb diet.
So what kind of result you think I had as a Calcium Scoring on my Hearth CT SCAN?
Yes, zero like in Zero Carb…
I was surprised, I must admit.
And please take note I am not even in the 75 % of people of my age group which has coronary calcium; and not even in the group having a score between 1 and 100, which is considered normal for the said age…
Can this be possible considering I am eating 85 % of my calories as fat, especially saturated fat?
Can this be possible considering I suffered 40 years of my life on a full bloom Metabolic Syndrome?
My conclusion is certainly not scientific but I think doing a seriously restricted low carb diet such as Zero Carb in the last 15 years has something do with the result…
And I will even adventure myself to say that if I had some coronary calcifications in the past, these Low Carb years probably cleaned them out… I say this because some studies have documented regression of atherosclerosis with some diets. Why didn’t this could have occurred with Zero Carb?
The only other person I know that has reported a Calcium Score doing a LC diet is Jimmy Moore. His result was also ZERO. Coincidence?
Anyway, I am about 15 years older then he is… and my score is still ZERO. Coincidence?
So folks, today is a great day for Zero Carb and I hope you will enjoy this little victory of mine on bad heredity and years of eating the wrong diet.
Amusingly, the butter at diner tonight had a taste of… happiness!!!
Now, I have to find the courage to go for a serious blood lipids testing… Maybe for nothing… but surely for a lot of enjoyment and discoveries!!!