Can mammogram help detect heart disease? Researchers may have found how mammograms can help with detecting heart disease in patients. Mammograms are currently being used to determine the health of breasts, with many women getting the jump on cancer treatment with this tool.
According to researchers, when a mammogram is performed it can reveal the amount of calcium buildup in the breast. This calcium buildup can also be a peek into the possible buildup in the arteries which supply blood to the heart.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States for both men and women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 610,000 people die in the United States (“US”) each year due to heart disease. This means that 1 in every four deaths in the US is due to heart disease. As it stands today, there is no “routine” screening test that is used for heart disease.
The researchers reviewed risk factors for heart disease in 292 women. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and smoking are some of the main risk factors for heart disease. The women in the data analyzed not only had mammograms done, but also had CT scans performed.
Essentially, the numbers revealed that the presence of breast arterial calcium was about 70% accurate overall when predicting whether there was a buildup of calcium in the coronary arteries. In some cases these results were better at identifying women who were at a high risk for heart disease than the standard predictors.
Even with the promising results of the data, doctors warn that false positives can still be an issue. In other words, not every breast arterial calcification will automatically mean a woman has a serious cardiovascular disease.
To learn more about the study and the findings, click HERE for the article in support of this post.