The Nation's Health + [Heart disease reversal]

Heart disease reversal: Heart scan score drops like a stone

Matt was dumbfounded when he found out about his heart scan score of 317 in the summer of 2005.

Earlier that year he'd unintentionally lost 20 lbs. in the space of two months and was feeling awful. He was diagnosed with diabetes and put on several medications. He told me that the heart scan score was just adding insult to injury.

As you'd expect in someone with diabetes, Matt had a low HDL, increased triglycerides, and small LDL. Blood pressure and inflammation (C-reactive protein) were issues as well.

Matt's primary care physician had put him on a statin cholesterol drug as soon as he heard about Matt's heart scan score, so we kept this going. What Matt's primary care physician didn't know was that his "true" LDL had been much higher than the conventional calculated LDL had suggested, so the statin agent was a reasonable solution. (Matt was also not terribly motivated to make dramatic changes in lifestyle or food choices. The statin drug was a compromise.)

We added fish oil and vitamin D to his regimen. Though recent data have cast doubt on the value of treating homocysteine levels of around 12.5, Matt's much higher value of 28 was treated with vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid, with a resultant homocysteine of 7.6.

17 months into the Track Your Plaque approach, and Matt's repeat heart scan score: 244 , a 23% reduction.

How's that for an early Christmas gift?