Gettyimages.ru Peter Dazeley
New research reveals that heart attacks can be predicted years in advance with simple X-rays.
It turns out that people with high levels of calcium in the aorta – the main vessel that nourishes the organ – are up to four times more likely to be affected. It offers hope for a more accurate screening for cardiovascular disease.
Defining a “ticking bomb” could save tens of thousands of lives annually.
Lead author Professor Josh Lewis, from Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia, said: “Heart disease is often a silent killer. Not many people know they are at risk or have early warning signs – such as coronary artery calcification. “The abdominal aorta is one of the first sites where calcium buildup can occur in the arteries – even before the heart. If we catch this early, we can intervene and implement lifestyle changes and medications to help stop the condition progressing.”
Non-invasive imaging tools, such as a computerized tomography (CT) scan, can produce detailed cross-sectional images of organs and tissues, including the aorta. It can solidify when calcium builds up in the wall and lead to a heart attack.
A condition called AAC (calcification of the abdominal aorta) also causes strokes.
And an analysis of the data collected from 52 studies around the world found that it increases the risk of infection from two to four times.
The study also found that the higher the concentration of the mineral, the greater the risk. This is especially true for people with chronic kidney disease. Factors that fuel artery calcification include poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, smoking and genetics.
Professor Lewis hopes this discovery will lead more people to understand the risk of a heart attack or stroke. “Celiac calcification is often picked up by chance in many routine tests, such as scans of the lateral spine from bone density mechanisms or X-rays, and now we have a much better idea of the diagnosis of these people when they see them,” he added.
This could indicate an early warning to physicians that they need to investigate and assess their patient’s risk of a heart attack or stroke. Ultimately, if we can identify the condition sooner, people can make lifestyle changes and start preventive treatments early, which could save many lives in the future.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, is based on research on AAC using bone density assays and artificial intelligence, and Dr. Amanda Buttery, of the National Heart Foundation in Australia, said: “The researchers found evidence of calcification in the abdominal aorta in patients without disease.” A known cardiovascular, may indicate the need for a comprehensive cardiovascular risk evaluation – including blood pressure and cholesterol testing.
Source: Daily Mail