The Nation's Health + [Track Your Plaque]

Heart attack guaranteed
Heart attack guaranteed

What if you knew for a fact that your risk for heart attack was 100% by, say, age 58? This is indeed true for many people, though at age 60, 65, 70--or 45.

In other words, unless something were done about the causes of heart disease, you would inevitably suffer a heart attack at 58.

What sort of action could you take at age 45?

Obviously, not smoking is an absolute requirement. Continue and you may as well start getting your affairs together.

How about exercising and eating a generally healthy diet? Will your risk be reduced to zero? No. It might be reduced 20-30%, depending on genetic factors.

How about a statin drug? Watch TV ads during Oprah, and you might think it's a cure. But in reality, while it is a financial bonanza for the drug manufacturers, it will reduce risk for heart attack by 30%.

(Note that risk reduction by following multiple strategies is not necessarily additive. In other words, if you have a healthy lifestyle and take a statin agent, is risk reduced 60% (30 + 30)? No, because the effects may overlap.)

So, eating healthy, exercising, and taking a statin drug might reduce risk 35-40%, maybe 50% in the best case scenario. Would you be satisfied? Most would not.

Add fish oil at a truly therapeutic dose. Risk reduction by itself: 28%.

Add niacin or other strategies for correction of your individual, specific causes of heart disease: Now we're up to 90% reduction.

Throw in a tracking process to prove whether or not atherosclerotic plaque has progressed or reversed. Now we're approaching 100% if plaque reverses. The only way I know how to track plaque is through CT heart scans. What other test is readily available to you with low radiation exposure, yet is relatively inexpensive and precise? It certainly is not stress testing, heart catheterization, CT angiograms, or other techniques. Cholesterol won't tell you. Besides CT heart scans, there's nothing else I know of.

Let's fact it: For many people, uncorrected risk for heart attack is truly 100% at some age. Take action while you can.

That, in a nutshell, is the Track Your Plaque program.