New Ways to Test for Heart Disease
Reprint of an
article by Robert Palmer
from the Article Codex website,
Introduction by Dr. Don Rose,
Calcium is not
just a great supplement for maintaining health; a new discovery now enables doctors
to use calcium to diagnose our health, too. The article below discusses this technique,
called the electron beam computed tomography (EBCT) test --
non-invasive method for early heart disease detection. This article also provides
useful information about coronary artery disease and heart attacks.
In a recent issue
of Circulation, a new method for detecting
heart disease was discussed. This may offer hope for those with a family history
of heart disease. Scientists at Michigan University and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester,
MN discovered that administering calcium to patients may allow doctors to detect
blocked arteries for people who show no symptoms of disease. This is a non-invasive
way for doctors to detect heart disease early.
This is a fifteen
minute test, called the electron beam computed tomography (EBCT) test, which detects
calcium in arteries. Originally this test was used for patients already experiencing
symptoms of heart disease, but researchers have discovered this EBCT test can be
used for those not experiencing heart disease and is very effective. A study was
tested on both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients and the results were seventy
You might be wondering
how the EBCT works. This test measures the calcium buildup or deposits in artery
plaque. Plaque in the arteries will block blood flow and eventually can lead to
coronary artery disease (CAD). Coronary arteries supply your heart with blood and
oxygen. A complete blockage in one of these arteries can cause a heart attack. Calcium
seems to adhere to plaque in the arteries so scientists have determined that the
more calcium detected by the EBCT test means the more plaque in the arteries and
the more advanced CAD a person could have. Patients of 50 years or older scoring
200 or more and patients younger than 50 years old scoring 100 or more could have
early onset CAD. This applies for both men and women.
If you suspect
that you have CAD, here are some simple signs and symptoms to look for. One symptom
is chest pain: do you feel tightness or pressure in your chest as if someone is
pressing against your chest or standing on it? This sort of pain is usually triggered
by physical or emotional stress. The pain goes away when you stop the stressful
activity. This pain may feel sharp extending to your abdomen, back and/or arms.
A second symptom
you may experience is shortness of breath. This happens when your heart cannot pump
enough blood to supply the body’s needs. You could experience heart failure – shortness
of breath can be followed by extreme fatigue, and swelling of the feet and ankles.
Thirdly and worst
is heart attack, which happens when the arteries are completely blocked. Symptoms
may vary but usually consist of terrible chest pain, pain in shoulders and arms,
followed by shortness of breath. Women tend to experience other warning signs like
nausea, back pain and/or jaw pain. Occasionally heart attacks display no symptoms.
If you have a
family history of heart attacks, early detection is recommended. When one goes for
regular screenings, most doctors use one of the following: electrocardiogram (ECG),
echocardiogram, angiogram, electron beam computerized tomography (EBCT), magnetic
resonance angiography (MRA), or a stress test.
When a heart attack
occurs, the heart is damaged and it is irreversible. It’s best to take steps to
change your lifestyle such as: quit smoking, monitor and control blood pressure,
get regular cholesterol checks, keep diabetes under control, exercise regularly,
manage stress levels, maintain a healthy weight level, and above all eat healthy
foods. Nutritionists suggest taking a multiple vitamin on a regular basis to help
support your healthy diet. If you are looking for a good multiple vitamin, stick
with name brand vitamins that supply a full spectrum of natural ingredients; stay
away from synthetic brands. All natural multiple vitamins can be found at
your local or internet health food store.
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The information provided is, to the best of our knowledge, reliable and accurate.
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Dr. Don Rose writes books, papers and articles
on computers, the Internet, AI, science and technology, and issues related to seniors.
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