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Taking advantage of incidental findings

June 24, 2016

About the Author

photo of Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Dr. Robert H. Shmerling is the former clinical chief of the division of rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and is a current member of the corresponding faculty in medicine at Harvard Medical School. … See Full Bio
View all posts by Robert H. Shmerling, MD


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ralph degregorio
June 27, 2016

I read 1-2 years ago in a good source (Harv. Med Sch. newsl.?) that calcification of the coronary arteries can be compensated by angiogenesis – new capillaries growing around the calcification.

My chest image (quit smoking 30 years ago) showed “severe” calcification of coronary artery(s), but later tests (EKG, then basic stress test, then nuclear stress test, a nite in the hospital, another EKG & exam by a hospital cardiologist) indicate I’m fine. But the anxiety & $600+ dollars were the price.

Mike A
June 25, 2016

Very Good. As Dr.Levy discusses in his book, the people with the worst osteoporosis also have the most calcium deposits in parts of the body they shouldn’t be.
But he makes a mistake in thinking that this is a calcium excess, it is not. This is a calcium deficiency and this is also backed up by research in his book that shows the people with the worst osteoporosis, and the most calcium deposits also have the highest levels of PTH. PTH is released in response to a calcium deficiency.
These people have been chronically deficient in calcium causing a continual breakdown of the bones to get the calcium stored there. But this process was only meant to be a short-term emergency fix because the body can only use so much calcium phosphate. This “excess” calcium phosphate gets deposited all over the body. The calcium deficiency also shows up because calcium is the body’s main pH buffer, and the change in pH also causes minerals to precipitate.
This can be shown by looking at kidney stones. A low Urine pH causes calcium oxalate stones to form. Bringing the pH up to about 6.5 can dissolve these stones, but going over about 7.0 puts the body at risk for other types of stones.
As more evidence, people who are kidney stone formers are at greater risk for things like atherosclerosis.
All of these things are caused by the same thing…..a calcium deficiency.

Once this is understood, then we could move on to how to supplement properly to fix these deficiencies. As the studies have shown, it’s not as easy as just taking a random calcium supplement. That can do more harm than good

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