Welcome back! Apologies for not staying on my one-post-a-week track.
In review, I’m training for my 4th Iron-distance race. This time I’m doing it fat-fueled. I eat what is known as the keto diet, a low-carb/moderate-protein/high-fat diet. I incorporate Intermittent Fasting (IF), in the form of Alternate Day Fasting (ADF), Time-Restricted Eating (TRE), and Extended Fasting (EF).
Because this is an experimental, n=1 adventure, I spend a lot of time reading, listening to podcasts, attending conferences, etc. In and amongst that learning, I’ve been hearing a lot of encouragement to have a Coronary Artery Calcium test performed. CAC. I hadn’t heard of this test before now, but I set about researching it.
The test is known as the coronary artery calcium (CAC) test. It is performed by taking an ultrafast computerized tomogram (CT) scan of your chest. … The CAC test measures the amount of calcium that has built up along the inner wall of the coronary arteries in your heart.
Have I learned a truckload! There is an entire documentary about this diagnostic test. I’m not one for conspiracy theory, but if I ever were to lean into one, this might be it. This test reveals the single most relevant factor in your likelihood for a heart attack. (Here. Here. And here.) It’s cheap, non-invasive, painless, and quick. Most insurance doesn’t cover it. Mine didn’t. Eliott’s didn’t – and his is Medicare. Eyeroll level infinity.
This test reveals whether you have blockages in your coronary arteries: both plaque – soft and squishy, and calcium – older and harder deposits. The vessels that are scanned in this test are the vessels that supply the heart, which means if you are to have a heart attack due to insufficiency here, the heart itself begins to collapse, earning this type of heart attack the nickname Widowmaker.
The higher your calcium score, thus the more your arteries are blocked, the greater risk you are at of having a cardiac event.
I found a facility in my town who will perform the test without a referral. Very cheaply. Make an appointment, pay your $50, lie in the CT tube 5 minutes, come back in 2 days for your results.
I am proud and delighted to report our scores.
None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
Keep in mind my diet is loaded with saturated fats – butter, fatty meats, full-fat dairy, and coconut oil. Eliott’s score was a 15, and he’ll be 69 next Friday. Here’s the interpretation:
I think what this means is that we are much more likely to be hit by a dump truck while we’re out on the rural roads riding our bikes than we are to have heart attacks. Wahwah.
Next tests we want to do are a series of blood work – cholesterol, triglycerides, etc. We’ll post here as we journey through our experiment.
Thanks for reading!