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anniehall56 (@anniehall56)

Any women with high CAC scores?

Heart & Blood Health | Last Active: Jan 2 1:41pm | Replies (43)

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My story is somewhat similar to yours. I’m 76 and thought I was in reasonably good health until my doctor sent me for CAC after seeing cholesterol of 276. It came back at 411, mostly in the LAD. I was horrified. I’m not overweight, and eat a mostly vegan diet. I haven’t been as great with the exercise, but do go to water aerobics and senior exercise classes most days. After a normal nuclear stress test and echocardiogram, the cardiologist put me on 40mg of Crestor. It seems way too high to me (even Crestor web page says don’t take more than 20 mg unless that doesn’t bring down cholesterol), but I am worried enough that maybe I should do what he says. He tells me that statins do more than just bring down cholesterol, but prevent inflammation and keep the soft, non-calcified plaques from clogging arteries. My research tells me that the best diet for preventing and reversing heart disease is that of Caldwell Esselstyn, who has a book, and also guidelines on his web page. This is the diet Bill Clinton followed after his bypass surgery. I’m also following a Facebook group, 100% Esselstyn Reversal Nutrition Forum, which is a large group of people following his way of eating. It makes total sense to me, but extremely hard to follow: whole food plant based with no meat or animal products (including dairy) and no fat or oil of any kind. I feel like this is the diet that I should be on, but I am failing miserably. Please let me know what your specialist recommends.
I should add that my father died of a heart attack at the age of 54, and my cardiologist says I have “familial hypercholesterolemia”.

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Replies to "My story is somewhat similar to yours. I’m 76 and thought I was in reasonably good..."

Sounds very restrictive. I am doing intermittent fasting to keep insulin levels low. Eating low fat and whole Foods. But grass fed meat and organic chicken is fine. I’m on 10 mg Lipitor. Need to lose 25 lbs. I am exercising regular now too. I am very concerned and committed to do my part. Stress test and echo was good. You should follow cardiologist Dr. Pradip Jamnadas. He blames this on Standard American Diet. (SAD)

My husband has a CAC score of 400 and we were alarmed, too! However the echocardiogram and stress test came out OK. (The nurse who administrated the tests told him she had seen people come in with scores of 4000 on their CAC! ) Still the doctor put him on 10 mg of statin, which I questioned. I asked him to get a second opinion, which he did. Seems doctors think statins are a really good thing. It did bring his LDL down to 60 from 119.
I asked the doctor why the high CAC score yet the other tests came out OK; he said that plaque could be on the outside of the arteries?
We follow a gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free diet with 90% of our foods organic. Our only oils are olive, flaxseed, and coconut.
He is only on one other medication. He is somewhat active – exercising in gym and/or walking a couple of miles a couple of times a week – 75 years old, and his body is in good form. He went to see the doctor because he was feeling fatigued. I increased his protein which seemed to help. He is feeling less fatigued now, but still has some fatigue. Don’t know if this information helps, but there it is.

I have FH, had scan results similar to yours when I was 52-ish. I did omit most fat from my diet in March and it was a game changer for me. A friend who has a son eating the same way because of a medication he is taking sent me boxes of food once a week to get me started, so encouraging to see options and to help my husband see we can do this together (mostly :)). You can do this! http://www.thefhfoundation.org is an excellent resource if you have not discovered it yet.