Carotid Artery Calcium Deposits
what does it mean?
Calcification seen in the carotid artery on a dental X-ray means the same as the calcium deposits we see on a heart calcium score.
Just like the "bone spur" of the heel ligament, inflamed soft tissues become calcified over time. Some patients ask, "Should I stop drinking milk?" The calcium isn't the problem. Inflammation is.
Calcium in arteries is a marker for inflammation. Although it is not the source of the inflammation, calcium is a very useful marker.
What does inflammation mean?
Inflammation means risk.
Inflammation causes hot joints. Inflammation causes hot arteries. The most important way to use this information about calcium in your carotid artery is to ask this question: How much risk do I carry?
Do you have carotid artery calcium deposits?
Carotid calcification on dental X-rays is associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke. In one study, 1 of 4 male patients with calcium deposits on panoramic dental X-rays had a CV event in 3.5 years. (1) A 26% chance of a CV event in 3.5 years is considered high risk.
According to a neurologist speaking at the American Academy of Neurology, patients with carotid calcium deposits on dental x-rays "should be referred for further CV evaluation & aggressive management of vascular risk factors.“ (2)
At CardioSound, we have two products available for screening. The first is our Screening package, which involves three different tests using different technologies to triangulate your risk for having a heart attack or a stroke. After our screening package, you’ll know what level of risk you carry.
Our second screening product is called the “Ask the Arteries Trending” is for those who already know they have high risk, but who want to ask the question, “Is my doctor’s treatment plan working or not? Are my arteries getting better? Or worse?” It involves two separate ultrasound studies, each 3 months apart.
If you have calcium in your carotid arteries, you need to know the answer to that question: How much risk do I carry? Click on the Screening button to learn how we determine your risk. If you know you have high risk (you’ve had a stent or a heart attack), then you’d be more interested in the question: “Are my arteries getting better? Or worse?” You should look into the Ask the Arteries Trending program.
Nandalur, K. R., et. al. (2006). Carotid artery calcification on CT may independently predict stroke risk. AJR Am J Roentgenol, 186(2), 547-552.
Dr Stanley N Cohen (West Los Angeles VA Medical Center) 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology; May 2010
Dental X-ray courtesy of Mike Rogers, DDS, Honesdale PA, and the Bale Doneen Method. Used with permission. See www.BaleDoneen.com