#203 - AMA #34: What Causes Heart Disease?

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In this “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) episode, Peter dives deep into the topic of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD)—the number one killer in the developed world. Peter argues for the importance of paying attention to and understanding ASCVD given its ubiquity and inevitability. He goes into great detail about the development of atherosclerosis and how it can take hold at a very early age, the role of cholesterol, and the causal factors of ASCVD that determine prevention strategies. Additionally, he discusses the important metrics and biomarkers found in blood work, as well as diagnostic tests such as coronary artery calcium scores (CAC) and CT angiograms which help to determine the level of arterial damage present. Finally, Peter lays out the keys to understanding and interpreting calcium scores before wrapping up the conversation with his key takeaways regarding prevention.

If you’re not a subscriber and listening on a podcast player, you’ll only be able to hear a preview of the AMA. If you’re a subscriber, you can now listen to this full episode on your private RSS feed or on our website at the AMA #34 show notes page. If you are not a subscriber, you can learn more about the subscriber benefits here.

We discuss:

  • The importance of understanding atherosclerosis early in life [2:15];
  • Defining atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), its causes, and the role of cholesterol [9:00];
  • The process of developing ASCVD, part 1 [15:00];
  • The process of developing ASCVD, part 2 [24:00];
  • The process of developing ASCVD, part 3 [32:45];
  • How early in life ASCVD can start to develop [40:30];
  • Case studies of atherosclerosis and figures showing real pathology [43:00];
  • Coronary artery lesions present in autopsies of different age groups [49:15];
  • The causal factors of ASCVD that determine prevention strategies [52:15];
  • Labs to identify biomarkers of ASCVD ]59:00];
  • Diagnostic tests to determine the level of arterial damage present—CAC, CTA, CIMT, and more [1:00:30]
  • Keys to understanding and interpreting a CAC score and/or CTA results [1:05:15];
  • Is there a risk from cholesterol levels being too low? [1:13:00];
  • Key takeaways regarding prevention [1:15:45];
  • More.

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