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Routine breast cancer testing may do more than show a woman's tumor risk. A new study from Emory University researchers has shown that a mammogram may also reveal potentially dangerous calcium buildups in a woman's arteries, which may indicate a risk of heart disease.
The researchers said that their study showed mammograms can detect calcification in more than two-thirds of all women. In addition to being a risk factor for heart disease, this may also be an indicator of end-stage kidney disease.
Together, these conditions are among the leading causes of death in the U.S. In particular, rates of heart disease, which was traditionally thought of as a man's disease, are rising in women. Since breast cancer testing is already a regular part of many women's regular healthcare routine, the findings could give doctors a powerful weapon against these conditions.
"Breast arterial calcification is a specific and useful marker of medial vascular calcification in chronic kidney disease (CKD), and its prevalence is markedly increased in end stage renal disease and advanced CKD," the researchers wrote in their report.
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