Before I launch into my latest blog you can still sign up for The Female Brain Summit Free Encore Replay, which is happening now – Apr 29,30.
A radiologist examines the pros and cons of Cardiac Calcium CT Scans in a recent Medscape article. I’ve written about this test in a couple of blogs High Calcium Scores Prove Magnesium Deficiency and Coronary Artery Calcification Causes Atrial Fibrillation.
The radiologist mentions a cardiologist who wants to put a patient on statin drugs because apparently she is at risk for heart disease. She doesn’t have heart disease but he thinks taking statins is good “preventive” medicine. She wisely didn’t want to go on the drugs but he talked her into taking the Coronary Calcium Scan and he said if she didn’t have any calcium in her arteries, she wouldn’t have to take statins.
The radiologist said that “This type of shared decision making is the most frequent reason why cardiologists order calcium scans at my institution.” He continued “A calcium scan is a nifty test, not because it improves outcomes — that’s a population-based consideration — but because it changes management, specifically when there is zero calcium.” I cringe at the cavalier talk about “shared decision making” because the cardiologist is definitely in charge and using scare tactics to make his patient do unnecessary testing, even if doctors think it’s “nifty.” And she will likely have to submit to taking a drug that is also unnecessary because most people seem to have calcium in their arteries.
I couldn’t find a study on the incidence of zero coronary calcium scores, but with the amount of calcium in our culture and the lack of magnesium, I imagine most people have some calcium build up. The fact that statins are used to presumably treat the associated cholesterol build up in calcified plaque but nothing is done for the calcium is unfortunate. Of course, ReMag is the treatment for calcium in the arteries – or any other inappropriate soft tissue.
Another downside to Coronary Calcium Scans is an increase in what’s called “downstream testing.” I’ve been reading Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health that describes this very issue. The scan is supposed to examine the heart but if it happens to sweep by the thyroid, lungs, liver, adrenals, or kidneys and the radiologist sees nodules, cysts, or any sort of abnormality – they feel duty bound to do further testing! The radiologist even says “…sometimes we will catch an incidental lung cancer and pretend to have saved the patient’s life.”
In his book My Own Country , Dr. Abraham Verghese mentions the arrogance of medicine in the in the 90s with the staggering advances in technology. The epidemic of overtesting and overdiagnosis is evidence of that in both allopathic and alternative medicine. I think of the quote “Doctors are men, who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, for men, of whom they know nothing at all.” And just put in tests instead of medicines “Doctors are men/women, who prescribe tests of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, for patients, of whom they know nothing at all.”
I’m not against basic testing to rule out horrible diseases but I’m very much against overtesting and overdiagnosis. Instead I recommend my Total Body ReSet, which can help reverse Total Body Meltdown and keep you out of the hospital.
Carolyn Dean MD ND
The Doctor of the Future®
- The Female Brain Summit with Maureen Garry begins Apr 23rd. The Encore Replay is now in effect Apr 29,30.
- Natural Headache Solution Summit with Neurologist Dr. Suja Johnkutty began on April 24th. My talk is on May 18th.
- Increase Your Energy Summit with Steph Jensen launches May 15.
- Better Beyond 50 Bone Health Summit with Melissa Koerner begins in June with an interview and live Q&A sessions.
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