Mammograms Could Predict Heart Disease in Women
Your yearly mammogram could soon be a test for more than just breast cancer. Research from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City shows that, in addition to showing calcifications in the breast arteries, mammograms may also predict heart disease.
This is because if calcifications exist in the breast arteries, it is highly likely that calcifications in the coronary arteries, an early sign of heart disease, exist as well
In the study, which will publish in April in JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, 292 women underwent mammograms and CT scans of the chest. The mammograms showed breast arterial calcification in 124 women and out of those patients, 70 percent received diagnoses of coronary arterial calcification (CAC).
Researchers noted that CAC was more likely to develop in older women with high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease, but that women who showed signs of breast arterial calcification were still three times more likely to develop it.
Doctors involved in the study are now calling for the reporting of coronary calcification levels along with typical mammogram results. This would allow cardiologists to intervene sooner and reduce the risk of CAC developing into cardiovascular disease.
The earlier doctors can detect the signs of cardiovascular disease, the higher the chance a woman has of reducing her risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
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