As any regular reader of this website would know, in 2016 I had a heart attack. That happened during the last week of June 2016. I can’t pin down the exact day, because I had on and off chest pain several times during that week, and I thought I was experiencing heartburn.
In November 2016 I had a quadruple bypass.
During the months following my bypass, I really started earnestly researching about heart disease, risk factors, alternative diets and such. During my research, I kept hearing about a movie called “The Widowmaker“. It is a documentary about heart disease, and I badly wanted to see it. I searched and searched for a venue where I could see it here in the Philippines where I live but could find nothing – free or paid.
On YouTube, I follow Ivor Cummins. He is an Engineer who is a health advocate, and he has a lot of interesting information about heart disease, high-fat diets and such. Recently he put the movie “The Widowmaker” on his YouTube channel. Cummins is well connected in the health community, so I must assume that he had permission to post this, and I am going to share it here.
There is a LOT of good information in this movie. It is well worth the watch. If I had known everything I learned in this movie, I may have been able to avoid my near-death experience in 2016.
Have a look!
Thank you, Mr. Cummins! I really appreciate being able to see this movie!
Bob, I watched the entire film with great interest. Like you, I believe in early detection of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and the coronary calcium scan (CCS) certainly is a vast improvement over just using risk calculations or even worse, waiting until a heart attack or stroke occurs. The CCS has three problems in my opinion. 1) As noted in the film calcium deposits are the the body’s response to plaque formation; the calcium seals off soft plaque, the dangerous kind, since it could break loose and cause a heart attack. The CCS does not measure the current amount of the dangerous soft plaque. 2) The CCS does not allow tracking of reductions in plaque as the result of drug therapy or lifestyle changes. The amount of calcified plaque can only stay the same or increase. 3) While the test is relatively inexpensive, the machine used is very expensive and could not be used in a doctor’s office or small clinic. My doctor uses the carotid artery intimate-media (CIMT scan). The advantages of the CIMT test are that it measures arterial wall thickness, which is how arterial “age” is calculated in that test. It also measures both the amount of dangerous soft plaque as well as older, calcified plaque. Since it measures soft plaque, you can track its reduction over time with lifestyle changes and/or drug therapy. Like CCS, CIMT is inexpensive ($100-200 in the US), but the ultrasound machines also are relatively inexpensive and small. My doctor’s more precise machine used for quantitative measures is about the size of a laptop computer, and he now has one about the size of a large smart phone that he uses for quick assessments. The film did talk about how resistant cardiologists are to even the CCS, and right now the CIMT is even less accepted by the mainstream medical community. As we probably both know, most cardiologist are not interested in early detection and prevention of CVD because they derive their (often very high) incomes from performing procedures such as stent implantation and coronary bypass. As you know, most heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes and even Alzheimers disease are entirely preventable with the right diet and exercise lifestyle. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjkUfMG9xQY
That is very interesting information, Mike, thanks for sharing that. I was not familiar with CIMT, and am not sure htey thatin the Philippines, but I am going to look into it. I want to have things like that checked every copule years, or whatever the recommended frequency is.