On September 10th, 2018 I had a Carotid Intima Media Thickness Test (CIMT) performed. The purpose of the test is to determine the degree of plaque accumulation and stenosis occurring in the arteries leading to the brain.
This test is sometimes used as a screening tool by doctors to identify people who may be at risk of stroke or heart disease. The device uses ultrasound to get an image of the carotid arteries.
I decided to do the test hoping that it might be used as a proxy measure for the current plaque accumulation in my coronary arteries.
The image at the top of this post is the actual report given to me. The results were surprising to the ultrasound technician who said that men my age usually have some degree of plaque accumulation in their carotid arteries. However in my case, as you can see, it was reported that plaque was 'absent' in both the left and right carotid arteries.
Due to a lack of space I cannot provide the actual ultrasound images and the graph that shows plaque accumulation on a sliding scale based on age.
However, I can tell you that the Intima Media Thickness in my case is below the 25th percentile and is the equivalent of a 25-30 year old.
Obviously I was thrilled to hear this as I follow a very strict dietary and exercise regimen.
What I haven't yet determined is whether or not this implies that my coronary arteries have experienced some plaque regression over the last couple of years. In other words, has the plaque accumulation that resulted in my bypass surgery been slowly shrinking?
I sent a copy of the test result to my cardiologist today and hope that he can answer that question. I have yet to find a study that can definitively draw that conclusion although I have found some that say plaque accumulation in the carotid arteries implies the same for the coronary arteries.
In any case - my strategy of following, primarily, a plant-based diet with daily exercise along with supplements but NO pharmaceutical drugs has in the very least provided me with healthy and young carotid arteries.
I hope this offers some motivation to those that are resigned to using statins. Cholesterol and therefore cardiovascular health management is possible, and preferable, through dietary and lifestyle modification, without drugs.