Cardiovascular/Cholesterol

Cardiovascular

Do you have concerns about your cardiovascular health or have a family history of heart disease?  Is your cholesterol elevated, but you do not like the idea of taking medication for the rest of your life?  Are your labs normal now, but you are interested in preventing heart disease later in life?

Let our doctors help you.  We can discuss personal and family history risk factors with you, as well as helping to lower your risks and improve your cardiovascular health through lifestyle changes and natural supplements.  In addition, we can perform EKG exams, carotid and vascular ultrasounds and advanced blood testing to evaluate your cardiac risks in office.

Do you think you are a candidate for having a heart attack?



Heart disease remains the number 1 killer in America.  Some of the Heart Disease and Stroke statistics from the American Heart Association for 2016 were reported in January as follows:

  • “Based on 2009 to 2012 data, 32.6% of US adults >/= 20 years of age have hypertension, which represents approximately 80 million US adults.”
  • “From 2003 to 2013, the death rate attributable to high blood pressure increased 8.2%, and the actual number of deaths rose 34.7%.”
  • “Yet in 2013, CVD still accounted for 30.8% (800937) of all 2596993 deaths, or approximately 1 of every 3 deaths in the United States.”
  • “In 2013, 35% of deaths attributable to CVD occurred before the age of 75 years, which is younger than the current average life expectancy of 78.8 years.”
  • “For the first time since 1983, more males (402,851) died of CVD than females (398,086).”

If you answer yes to one of the following, you could have cardiovascular issue that needs to be investigated. Do you have a personal history of heart attack, coronary artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, or stroke?

      1. Do you have a family history of heart disease?
      2. Are you overweight?
      3. Do you smoke, drink or use drugs?
      4. Do you suffer from kidney disease?
      5. Do you have diabetes?
      6. Is your blood pressure high?
      7. Do you feel chronic fatigue?
      8. Do you often feel anxious or depressed?
      9. Do you seldom exercise vigorously?
      10. Are you experiencing stress?
      11. Is your diet high in saturated or partially hydrogenated fats?
      12. Do you use or have you used oral contraceptives?
      13. Are you a post-menopausal woman?
      14. Do you have a thyroid disorder?
      15. Have you experienced chronic illness?
      16. Have you been diagnosed with a hormonal imbalance (estradiol, cortisol, insulin, melatonin)?

There’s more to cardiovascular health than meets the eye. You may look and feel great, and your cholesterol levels may even be low – but you could still be in danger of heart disease. There are many tests available to help shift through all the seemingly complicated numbers.

Why is it important to get tested?

Almost half of all heart attacks strike people who don’t know they’re at risk – people without well-known risk factors such as fatty diets, hypertension, smoking, or high cholesterol. That’s one reason cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in America today, claiming more lives than cancer, accidents, and AIDS combined. However, with our comprehensive cardiovascular assessment, you can find out if other hidden factors may be affecting your heart’s health and take steps to protect yourself.

What are important factors for heart health?

One important factor is the amount of lipid particles in the blood. Lipid particle testing is not often run in traditional medicine.  You will commonly see what is referred to as a ‘lipid panel.’  This will give you very little value in determining your cardiovascular risk because according to the Framingham study nearly half the people that experienced a heart attack or stroke had normal or even low cholesterol values!

Scientists have identified new warning markers, related to nutrition, blood clotting, and inflammation that can play a major role in determining whether an individual will suffer a heart attack. Using these latest advancements in cardiovascular research, we now have a unique comprehensive cardiovascular assessment that measures important markers, such as but not limited to:

Homocysteine LDL cholesterol
C-reactive protein HDL cholesterol
Fibrinogen Apo B
Lipoprotein(a) Apo A-1
Triglycerides Total cholesterol

 

What does these markers mean?

You may already be familiar with some of lipid markers such as LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, which are increased by a diet high in saturated fats, carbohydrates or sugar and often lead to heart disease.  HDL cholesterol, commonly called the “good cholesterol,” is bolstered by exercise and fish oils, and actually protects your heart.  Not all LDL and HDL are created equal.  You can have good LDL and you can have bad HDL.  This is why it is important for your doctor to run the RIGHT test.  Think about it, if we were running the appropriate testing then why do we continue to see heart disease kill so many people?  Apo A-1 and Apo B are important protein components of these two cholesterols that influence their movement in the bloodstream and determine their impact on your cardiovascular system, they may also be markers of infection.

Besides these important standard markers, there are new independent factors that can double or even triple the likelihood of heart attack and stroke.

C-reactive protein, a protein that indicates inflammation in the body, serves as a strong predictor of future heart attack and stroke.  Levels of this important protein are increased by past or current infections, such as Chlamydia pneumoniae.

Another marker, homocysteine, is an amino acid that can scrape the lining of blood vessel walls, triggering fatty deposits and atherosclerosis.  One study found that men with high homocysteine had 3 times greater incidence of heart attack, even when adjustment for other factors was considered!

Lipids and proteins are transported through your bloodstream together in packages called lipoproteins.  Lipoprotein(a) has been cited by many researches as the most important marker for predicting the severity of future heart disease. Like homocysteine, it is strongly influenced by heredity.

And finally, fibrinogen is an important agent in the blood clotting process, with high levels linked to both heart disease and stroke.  Like the blood lipids, fibrinogen is affected by factors such as smoking, stress, obesity, and aging.

How will I understand the overall test results?

Once all of your tests have come back we will schedule you an appointment with one of the doctors where they will review not only your current lab results but also any past ones.  It is important not only to look at your current values but also trends from the past and see what therapy is best, if any at all.

What kinds of treatment can improve these markers?

The good news is that almost all these hidden factors that affect cardiovascular disease are modifiable. Cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglyceride levels and of course inflammatory markers can often be managed through an active treatment program that addresses diet, exercise, and stress reduction. C-reactive protein can be reduced using anti-inflammatory agents. And despite being strongly influenced by genetics, homocysteine and Lp(a) can be modified with nutritional therapy. In fact, research evidence confirms that comprehensive lifestyle changes may be able to reduce the effects of even severe heart disease after only one year, without the use of drugs.

Call our office today, 970-532-2755, to schedule your comprehensive cardiovascular assessment and let us provide you with the crucial information you need to improve your heart health.

 

Have you been diagnosed with high cholesterol?

Cholesterol measurement and management is key in identifying and treating your risk for heart disease. The routine cholesterol test provides your physician with limited information and misses people at risk for heart disease. Now available is a better, more efficient cholesterol test – lipid fractionation profiles such as the NMR (LabCorp) and Cardio IQ (Quest).

You should have a NMR (LabCorp) or Cardio IQ (Quest) test if your:

    • Triglycerides are greater than 150
    • HDL is lower than 40
    • LDL is greater than 130
    • Total cholesterol is greater than 200

Additionally, hereditary factors and existing conditions greatly affect your risk for heart disease. So, even if your routine cholesterol test results are within the normal range, you should have a NMR (LabCorp) or Cardio IQ (Quest) test if you have:

  • A family history of heart disease or cardiac events
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Thyroid problems
  • Obstructive liver disease
  • Kidney failure
  • Abdominal obesity

Or if you are currently:

  • Taking cholesterol lowering medications
  • Using drugs that increase LDL Cholesterol or decrease HDL cholesterol

Carotid Artery Intimal Scan

One of the greatest predictors of heart disease is the inflammatory process in the artery walls themselves.  A carotid artery scan is a simple, non-invasive way to visualize the inflammation and plaque in your arterial walls.  The carotid artery is near the angle of your jaw making it easy to use a specialized ultrasound machine to detect inflammation.  Even though this is just one artery in your neck (there is 1 on each side), it is a good indication of what may be going on in the rest of the cardiovascular system.  This procedure is done in office.