Let’s make an assumption that you think your heart arteries are getting plugged up and you want to check it out. So, should you? Is there a risk to checking it out?
We know for a fact that calcium accumulation in your heart arteries is associated with coronary artery disease. So, what is a person to do? You could get a “Computed tomography (CT) also commonly called a CAT scan to check out the level of coronary artery calcification to determine your risk of heart disease and premature death.
The Risk of Knowing
Every time you get exposed to radiation you increase your risk of cancer. That is why people that work around x-ray units wear those little radiation badges. So, does a CT/CAT scan increase your risk of dying of cancer? Well a recent review of the risk benefit ratio provides us some clarity on potential increased cancer risk.
The study had to make certain assumptions relative to different models and techniques used for CT scans. They concluded that: “Assuming screening every five years from the age of 45 to 75 years for men and 55 to 75 years for women, the estimated excess lifetime cancer risk using the median dose of 2.3 millisieverts was 42 cases per 100,000 men (range, 14 to 200 cases) and 62 cases per 100,000 women (range, 21 to 300 cases).”
Prevention is the key. Sure you can test and there is a time and place to test for risk of coronary artery disease. Indeed knowing and monitoring coronary artery is important. Yet, now you know there is a risk to this type of radiation exposure or for that matter all kinds of radiation diagnosis. Ultrasounds and MRIs do not expose you to the above types of radiation. My patients routinely use vitamin K2 and vitamin D to help support control of calcification of arteries. Please read more at CPMedical. You will see a link on the Home Page, sign in for free access to thousands of free articles.
Arch Intern Med. 2009;169:1188-1194.