Cholesterol particle size matters

As per 2013, more than 1 in 3 adults (81.1 million) live with 1 or more types of cardiovascular disease. According to a government agency, there were 126.0 coronary heart disease deaths per 100,000 population in 2007. In addition to being the first and third leading causes of death, heart disease and stroke result in serious illness and disability, decreased quality of life, and hundreds of billions of dollars in economic loss every year. The statistics are similar for both women and men. A form of cardiac disease may occur at any age, with higher percentages at age 40 than at age 70. It can be a silent killer. Making sure you have cholesterol panel blood tests may help you measure possible ways of reducing your risk. How reliable are the standard lipid panel blood tests? They may not be.

One of the problems associated with the development and study of heart disease and its risk potential in the United States is that there is no national system to collect data on how often cardiovascular events occur or recur, or how often they result in death. Based on smaller studies, many outside the United States, vascular, cardiovascular, and heart disease statistics are astounding. Is the risk of developing heart disease 33%? Are doctors proactive in employing better testing?

A while back, a gastrointestinal specialist told me I had GERD, acid reflux disease. I didn’t seem to be getting upset by the associated risk factors. On a second opinion with a chief physician, she asked me whether I knew the type of GERD. I didn’t know. Obviously there are many types. When it comes to cholesterol and possible heart disease risks, cholesterol has many different subtypes. Some of these go beyond mere lipoprotein levels. Many subtypes and particle sizes come into play when trying to determine risk factors. Many cardiologists proceed with treatments, based on traditional blood test panels, prior to using studies that analyze cholesterol at deeper levels. For some, cholesterol particle size matters and can make a vast difference in a prognosis.

With all the chatter about cholesterol levels, when you check cholesterol particle size, size matters. Some particles of this blood fat are large and buoyant and breeze easily through your circulatory system. But other particles are small and dense — and four times as likely to cause heart disease as they are more likely to gather on your artery walls. So even if you have a low total cholesterol value, you may be at greater risk than you or your doctor might think.

When you are at a risk for cardiovascular diseases, with high LDL, you shouldn’t rely on the results found from a traditional blood test. There are other blood tests that help you get closer to the heart of the problem. Don’t get stressed till you ask your doctor to address this further. The tests are:

One test focuses on cholesterol particle size as well as subclasses or subtypes of LDL (the bad type) and HDL (the good type) levels that aren’t seen in a traditional blood test. The Vertical Auto Profile (VAP) test will analyze your LDL cholesterol and determine if it is made up of predominantly the small, dangerous particles or larger, more benign particles. It will also tell you how much lipoprotein is circulating in your blood. In addition, the VAP test breaks out your HDL cholesterol subtypes, letting you know if you have more of the HDL2 subtype, which is most beneficial. Basically, when it comes to HDL protective qualities, there are black sheep among the different possible HDL. HDL Cholesterol (good guy) is comprised of
different subtypes. HDL2 is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease even in patients whose Total and LDL cholesterol are within the desirable limits established by
the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP).

A Lipoprotein Particle Profile (LPP) test also breaks down cholesterol into fractions smaller than LDL and HDL and analyzes the particles comprising each of them, just like the VAP test. It measures the lipoprotein particles directly giving a more precise evaluation of their size. High numbers of small, dense LDL particles can ultimately cause cardiovascular disease. The LPP test has an advantage over the VAP test, because its methodology allows for more precise measurements and because it can also measure remnant lipoprotein (RLP), which is a more threatening type of cholesterol that isn’t singled out by most other cholesterol tests. Elevated remnant cholesterol may cause more artery inflammation that can lead to a heart attack, using a non-fasting test. This leads to a more accurate view than the fasting traditional test. LPP measurements track particles as you live with them.

Another advanced test is the NMR Lipoprotein Test that uses nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to deliver a more precise profile of LDL levels in your bloodstream. Test results will outline risk factors. The test from Liposcience was recently approved by the FDA. It only tracks LDL cholesterol particles.

In calculating possible cardiovascular risks, guidelines may differ among those organization that set up risk criteria. Among the oldest is the Framingham Heart Study that was established by the National Heart Association in 1948. The American Heart Association has a heart risk assessment calculator based on the 2010 Framingham study.

A set of statistics indicate that about 50% of people who have suffered heart attacks have “normal” cholesterol numbers according to NHLBI The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institute of Health. In many cases the cholesterol particle size mattered upon further investigation. Using cholesterol particle size as part of routine measurement may reduce cholesterol level risk or increase it. According to the NHLBI calculator, my risk potential is 10% over the next 10 year period. The calculator factors age, gender, traditional total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, whether I smoke, and my systolic blood pressure reading. A 10% risk sounds pretty good, although I’d sit more comfortably with 5% or less as a probability.

Being statin treatment intolerant, that 10% number is kind of okay. I do take other cholesterol reducing drugs and supplements, follow a strict diet, and exercise regularly. Also having Myotonic dystrophy (a degenerative muscle disease) may mean more frequent cardiograms and cardiac muscle tests to keep my risk factor as low as possible.

According to a large 1999 life risk study of developing heart disease experiment in the United Kingdom, the findings were alarming. The 7733 patients were followed up for a total of 109,948 person-years. Overall, 1157 participants developed coronary heart disease. 1312 died from non-coronary heart disease causes. Lifetime risk of coronary heart disease at age 40 years was 48.6% (95% CI 45.8-51.3) for men and 31.7% (29.2-34.2) for women. At age 70 years, lifetime risk was 34.9% (31.2-38.7) for men and 24.2% (21.4-27.0) for women. After researchers excluded isolated angina pectoris as an initial event, the lifetime risk of coronary artery disease events at age 40 years was 42.4% for men and 24.9% for women.

Hypertension and high triglycerides factor greatly in the mortality rates of heart disease risks.

The lifetime risk of developing or dying From Cancer is 43% for males and 38% for females, all inclusive cancers according to the American Cancer Society. The National Safety Council releases a book on risk statistics in virtually every aspect of life.

Fortunately, we don’t live trying to assess our risks of dying inside or outside our home. Yet nearly everyone knows or has known someone living with the threat of heart disease or cancer. It’s very disconcerting. Cardiovascular risks, one or more, are like driving a car. You need to know more about the road ahead and around you. Use your mind and be proactive about risks. While there’s no guarantee against accidents, be diligent in aiming for safety.

Knowing your serum cholesterol levels, your cholesterol particle size and constituency of the subclasses help you assess and act toward reducing your risks of athesclerosis and heart disease. The media surrounds us with what steps to take. You should know them. Pursue your doctor for more thorough testing. Become proactive at being your personal wellness advocate. Live better, hearty, and prosper towards longer, healthier living.

Is salmon cholesterol heart healthy?

In following a heart healthy lifestyle, there are 5 numbers to key in on:

Diastolic Blood Pressure
Systolic Blood Pressure
LDL Blood Level
HDL Blood Level
Triglycerides Blood Level

People say that dietary intake of fish, particularly Salmon, help keep these numbers in check. Many don’t really know what these numbers mean. It’s actually a little complex and ironically simple. Many don’t really know what these numbers mean. People line up to eat salmon because it’s heart healthy. Is it?

When it comes to rising value, Salmon prices are skyrocketing around the world. Farmed salmon sold at Costco for about $5.00 per pound in 2012. In 2014, the price is hovering at $12 per pound. Wild salmon is now between $17 and $25.00 per pound. Touted a heart healthy foods, salmon and tuna has moved from the common into the rare and people are lining up to buy it. Is salmon as heart healthy as many people think?

Someone asked my opinion of blood test results. His LDL (bad cholesterol) was a little over 200. His doctor wanted to prescribe Lipitor, a common statin drug, to help reduce the LDL. LDL comprises about 70% of the natural cholesterol that circulates in the bloodstream. It is comprised mostly of fat which then tends to get deposited in the arteries creating plaques. This plaque build-up is believed to lead to to atherosclerosis, which is a hardening and narrowing of the arteries and a large risk factor for heart disease. My friend pointed out that his diet consists of salmon, tuna, and trout on salad. He thought he at heart healthy. I advised him that heart healthy fish may not be healthy at all levels. Each adds dietary cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends consuming 300 milligrams per day of dietary cholesterol or, if you have a 100-mg/dl ( milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL)) in blood serum, to 200 milligrams per day.

Salmon is heart healthy but only on certain levels. When compared to meat, a 4-ounce portion of salmon offers body-healthy omega 3 fatty acids, a huge helping of protein and a complement of crucial B vitamins. That does sound great!

The American Heart Association recommends limiting dietary cholesterol intake. Cholesterol is found in any animal source such as meat, fish, and shellfish. It is particularly high in organ meats, such as liver and tongue. Next time you spread pate on a cracker, consider how much cholesterol you’re consuming.

Your body produces cholesterol naturally. Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs. Cholesterol is a lipid and each cell of your body has a phospholipid bi-layer that offers it protection and balance. It acts as the skin of each cell. Your liver is the primary organ responsible for the production of cholesterol in your body, although very small amounts are made by the lining of the small intestine and the body’s individual cells. The livers cholesterol production is released into your bloodstream to feed all the parts of your body that need it.

Vegetables have no cholesterol so do not add dietary cholesterol. As meat and fish eaters, these foods add dietary cholesterol. A 4-ounce portion of salmon has about 68 milligrams of cholesterol. A similar size of tuna delivers about 50 milligrams of cholesterol. Surprisingly, a 4-ounce lean cut of bottom round sirloin delivers 43 milligrams of cholesterol. When it comes to adding dietary cholesterol, salmon is a big contributor. When it comes to maintaining healthy cholesterol levels naturally, salmon may not be the heart healthier choice. A 4-ounce portion of salmon has 50% more cholesterol than meat. Salmon is considered healthier.

The cholesterol portion of your blood test rates these lipids: LDL, HDL and Triglycerides. LDL is the bad cholesterol that may result in artery-clogging plaques. The American Heart Association considers LDL ay 190mg/dl extremely high. HDL is the good cholesterol. They help prevent LDL from sticking to your arteries. With HDL cholesterol, higher levels are better. Low HDL cholesterol (less than 40 mg/dL for men, less than 50 mg/dL for women) puts you at higher risk for heart disease. In the average man, HDL cholesterol levels range from 40 to 50 mg/dL. In the average woman, they range from 50 to 60 mg/dL. An HDL cholesterol of 60 mg/dL or higher gives some protection against heart disease. The mean level of HDL cholesterol for American adults age 20 and older is 54.3 mg/dL.

High levels of omega-3 fatty acids, or what researchers refer to as fish oils, make salmon a shoe-in when it comes to improving levels of HDL, or “good” cholesterol. The contributing factor may be less than a 5% gain. It may not be enough. Therapy to raise the concentration of HDL cholesterol includes weight loss, smoking cessation, aerobic exercise, and pharmacologic management with niacin and fibrates. I found 1000mg Niacin per day increased HDL by 50% but check routinely. Taking more than 1,000mg per day could be harmful to your liver. The main thing about Omega 3 is that this natural oil complex is essential for heart health in managing your diet.

High Triglycerides are another heart-unhealthy factor that few consider. Your body is capable of producing the right amount of triglycerides it needs. A triglyceride level of 150 mg/dL or higher is one of the risk factors of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome increases the risk for heart disease and other disorders, including diabetes. The term triglyceride means sugars and certain fats. The mean level of triglycerides for American adults age 20 and older is 144.2 mg/dl. That is why dietary triglycerides in reducing carbohydrates and certain fats are so important. When an average level is 144.2mg/dl, it means many are over 150mg/dl.

Triglycerides may be related to lifestyle and your diet. Many people have high triglyceride levels due to being overweight/obese, physical inactivity, and a diet very high in carbohydrates (60 percent or more of calories).

Triglycerides are associated with a fatty acid called Omega 6 and, although it is a vital nutrient, it helps promote body inflammation. Dietary sources in meat are primarily in the lower, pricey cuts in the loin. Less desirable top cuts have lower levels of Omega 6
so, as triglycerides go, top sirloin is healthier than bottom sirloin. Omega 6 is a saturated fat that can inflame and clog arteries when ingested beyond recommended dietary levels. The recommended level is about 5 parts Omega 3 to 1 part Omega 6. The reality of most food consumers is closer to 1 part Omega 3 to 15 parts of Omega 6.

Salmon, Tuna, Trout, Mackerel, Cod, Tilapia, and Sardines have little Omega 6 fats and much more Omega 6 fats. Many people have high triglyceride levels due to being overweight/obese, physical inactivity, cigarette smoking, excess alcohol consumption and/or a diet very high in carbohydrates (60 percent or more of calories). High triglycerides are a lifestyle-related risk factor; however, underlying diseases or genetic disorders can be the cause. Omega 3 contributes to reducing body inflammation and, though a saturated fat, also offers polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats considered healthier. Studies of Omega 3 and Omega 6 ratios cite evidence of better health. Since salmon, mackerel, and sardines are higher in Omega 3 fats, they are very heart healthy on a triglyceride level.

Of course, you can get the benefits of Omega 3 (and Omega 6) from a non-cholesterol vegan-friendly source. It’s flaxseed oil.

If you are having difficulty maintain a cholesterol level of 100mg/dl per day, you would have to limit your salmon dietary intake to just above 8 ounces of salmon per day to help keep your LDL down. The person who showed me his high result was eating over 1 pound each day.

If you are using canned salmon, don’t be fooled by the cholesterol number. Check servings per can. A 6-ounce can may read 28mg cholesterol but if that can yields 3 servings, and you have an entire can, that’s 84mg of cholesterol. 1 can of sardines may have 90mg of cholesterol. Take care of your dietary intake!

Apart from the separate LDL and HDL readings, the LDL and HDL ratio is an important risk factor. Find your Total Cholesterol number by dividing your triglyceride count by five or multiply by 20 percent (0.20). A triglyceride level of 100 mg/dl divided by five would be 20. Add that to your total HDL and LDL. These numbers should be in mg/dl units. To find your cholesterol ratio, you divide your total cholesterol number by your HDL, or good, cholesterol number. For example, if your total cholesterol number is 200 and your good cholesterol is 50, your total cholesterol ratio is 4:1. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), you should keep your cholesterol ratio at or below 5:1. The ideal cholesterol ratio is about 3.5:1. If your ratio is ideal or a little better, you are not likely to need drugs to control cholesterol levels.

There are many popular heart healthy diets to help you maintain good cholesterol levels and heart health. Many include portions of fish. While fish is a great source of necessary protein, don’t rely on it alone. Fish, by itself in large quantities, is not heart healthy. If you want extra protein, seek out servings of nuts or soy beans. These are vegetarian sources and contain no cholesterol.

There are some people, by virtue of genetics and family lineage, who have high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, and high triglyceride levels. Sometimes eating heart healthy diets aren’t enough. For those, drug intervention might help but you’re fighting your DNA mix. The therapy may be worse than the initial problem. Seek out more thorough testing and monitor your heart health at least twice per year.

Fish is a source of cholesterol and shellfish may have huge levels of cholesterol. Each ounce of lobster can have 27 milligrams of cholesterol. If cholesterol monitoring is part of your heart health plan, know the cholesterol nutritive levels of your dietary intake. Juggling heart health often requires a mix of bad and good. Strive for better. Balance requires thought and responsibility.

For the most part, keeping those 5 numbers in check is a challenging quest, especially if you are not tolerant to statin drugs. Knowledge, insight, and fervor are necessary for a lifestyle diet. Choosing salmon over meat may have heart healthy benefits. Salmon cholesterol may not be totally heart healthy but it’s a heart healthier choice among animal sources.