Shortly after that Kendrick article came out a member of the CholesterolCode.com FB forum posted this twitter link from Ivor Cummings...
Ok guys I'm considering not responding to any questions on #CAC, unless the questioner has watched this talk first - and understood it. The #PowerOfZero guys. Get with the program... #statin #pharma #OverTreatment #Engineering #Science
I watch the hour+ long video that Ivor linked to. It was quite interesting to hear the history and debate about the use and usefulness of having a Coronary Calcium Score done. The two significant takeaways from this talk as I see it...
1) A zero CAC score can and should end the debate that a patient may be having with their doctor who is pushing statins to resolve a high LDL-C score. This is more true today due to the popularity of keto and the fact that it is becoming popular with lean, active people for health and performance reasons. These non-metabolically ill keto people seem to have a higher rate of getting 'doctor freaking' high LDL from their keto/carnivore lifestyle. Doctors are prescribing statins to treat these people even though it is now known that there is no benefit
from statins when the patient has a zero CAC score and no other risk factors other than high LDL-C. Having a CAC done that results in a zero score should put an end to treating patients with statins who don't really have a CVD problem.
2) If your CAC scan results in a positive score -- especially 100 or more -- there is only one course of action: AGGRESSIVE STATIN TREATMENT. PERIOD.
This was the troubling takeaway for me since I have a CAC score > 100. What bothered me most was that there was no talk of root causes, diet or lifestyle changes. The consensus in the room, for the speaker, and even from Dr. Agatston himself (from another video I saw on Fat Emporer) is that the first course of treatment for a high CAC is and should always be statin therapy
. They see it as cheap, safe, and effective - with minimal side effects. Statin prescriptions are automatic, practically mandatory. I don't see it that way. I'm choosing to stick with a healthy diet & lifestyle in the hope that I have addressed the root causes of my disease. From what I have learned I believe that statin benefits are overrated and the side effects more serious than what is portrayed.
Here are the links to Ivor's two part interview with Dr. Agatston...
In that interview doctor Agatston - the author of the CAC scoring method and the South Beach Diet - said that in all his years of doing CAC scans he has not seen calcium score regression. Slowing or achieving lack of progression is the goal and this is done with statins, diet and lifestyle changes. Since statins are known to increase calcification, I'm wondering if the reason he has never seen regression is the fact that statins are his first course of treatment. I want to believe that if the root causes have been addressed, then there is no benefit from a statin -- just like those who have a zero CAC score. I'm definitely going against the grain on this, but I make my own choices and I must live with the results.