Mammograms are effective in detecting breast cancer in the early stages. It turns out mammograms may also be able to detect the early stages of heart disease as well. This could be another tool for doctors and women with heart disease risk factors to evaluate treatment needs. In addition, women with heart disease may have special needs when having a mammogram.
A mammogram is a specialized x-ray of the breast. Mammograms can show two types of changes in breast tissue: calcifications and masses. Calcifications are small deposits of minerals in the tissue that appear as white spots on the x-ray. The mammogram cannot predict whether these calcifications are cancer, only that they are present in the tissue.
Calcification in blood vessels is a significant indicator of the hardening of the arteries type of heart disease, called Atherosclerosis. This type of calcification can appear as lines on a mammogram.
First, don’t panic. Finding calcifications on a mammogram probably isn’t a sign of an impending heart attack, but it is and indication that more investigation should be done. Tests such as a treadmill stress test, which monitors your heart during exercise, and blood test should be done to determine the progression of heart disease in your body. Caught early, heart disease can be treated and well managed with lifestyle changes and medication.
If you are at high risk of heart disease ask the radiologist examining your x-rays to pay special attention to possible calcifications in the blood vessels. Having multiple years of exams to look at may be helpful in determining the progress of heart disease or the effectiveness of treatment.
Women with significant heart disease or those who have had heart surgery have special concerns when having a mammogram. Ask your doctor if you should stop blood thinning medications for several days before your exam in order to prevent bruising. Discuss the placement of any implanted devices, such as pacemakers or internal defibrillators, with the technician before you begin the mammogram. Special care should be taken to not dislodge wires or create too much pressure. Women scheduled for heart surgery should get a mammogram. Scar tissue from blood vessels being harvested in the chest for bypass or from an open heart procedure can be very tender for the first few years after surgery. Scheduling a mammogram before surgery allows the maximum amount of time for recovery between exams and allows for comparison of x-rays before and after surgery. A mammogram is an effective tool for managing your health, both breast and heart health. Make sure you share your complete medical history, including heart disease risk, when having a mammogram. Discuss any concerns with heart medications, scar tissue, or implanted devices before you begin. Schedule regular mammogram screening appointments and protect your heart.
A mammogram is an effective tool for managing your health, both breast and heart health. Make sure you share your complete medical history, including heart disease risk, when having a mammogram. Discuss any concerns with heart medications, scar tissue, or implanted devices before you begin. Schedule regular mammogram screening appointments and protect your heart.
Eliz Greene survived a heart attack at age 35 while seven months pregnant with twins. Her down-to-earth strategies to manage stress and improve heart health are used by thousands of busy women all over the world. She is a great fit as a Women’s Leadership Speaker and Women’s Wellness Speaker. Find out more at www.ElizGreene.com
A top female motivation speaker and author Eliz Greene is ridiculously excited about stress. Surviving a heart attack at age 35 while seven months pregnant with twins propelled Eliz on a mission to share her story to inspire other busy people to pay attention to their health. Eliz is dedicated to leading others on a path to lower stress and great success. Her stress management keynote is a great fit for closing a conference. Find out more at www.ElizGreene.com