Heart screenings for the super healthy

Can being a couch potato lead to heart disease? It may. Many healthcare professionals may say it is a variable contributor. Of course there are those who aspire for athletics and the highest levels of competition. These seem very healthy but research from a relatively new cardiology specialty group are indicating that these athlete wannabe’s may also be heart attack candidates. Do you think athletes need heart screenings?

Concerns about ergonomics contribute to advances in keeping professional athletes safer from repetitive sports injuries. With more critical performance standards toward achieving fame and victory, some pre-Olympic athletes are placed under severe stress during training and pre-trials. Among elite performances, heart issues may develop. Should athletes be subject to routine heart screenings?

Heart screenings are usually recommended as routine care for older people with potential risks for possible heart attacks. According to Dr. Paolo Adami of the Italian Olympic committee, heart screenings should be routinely prescribed for elite athletes.

Adami, of the Institute of Sport Medicine and Science of the Italian Olympic Committee has studied 2,354 elite athletes shortlisted for the Olympic Games. Results of his study at a European Society of Cardiology meeting (Sports Cardiology Section), Dr. Adami noted that over 300 athletes had life-threatening conditions that could still be managed with medical expertise. Six athletes had to be disqualified from taking part in the competitions when it became apparent they faced risks of death at the races or games.

The data was taken from 2002 to 2014 screenings that includes a physical examination, echocardiography, 12-lead and exercise ECG and to further confirm some diagnoses, a 24-hour ECG monitoring was administered.

Of course, there are dissenters. Dr. Michael Knapton from the British Heart Foundation says that the screening is not too reliable enough for all athletes and some possible Olympic stars may not reach the Olympics, based on stringent testing.

Getting a correct diagnosis or prediction of a possible health condition may be a life altering experience for better or worse. With new research and testing, what was once considered a fatal risk is no longer a threat. Consequently, what was once unknown, may now show signs of imminent danger.

For those who are potential risks for heart disease (i.e. elevated cholesterol, obesity), frequent heart screenings may be good indicators and paths to longevity. The fears may be justified even among those who may not seem likely heart problem candidates.

Much emphasis is placed on potential athletes. Rigorous training and financial successes are often positively correlated. Sadly, the results of succeeding through often insurmountable obstacles may take a toll on young adolescents driven to compete. Stress or something else? Heart screenings are one way to help prevent an unimaginable accident.

The shock is that superheroes among the athletic elite, whether a consequence of stress or some genetic fluke, may benefit from routine heart screenings as they train to reach new goals. Dr. Adami’s research cites a little but just enough evidence that even the most athletic individuals and their families must also confront possibly early mortality.

Heart Health relies on sugar intake

The winter holidays are upon us. There are family gatherings and all kinds of festive sugary snacks to help us brave the cold. Why consider hear health? It seems that a research study last year cited evidence that foods and drinks with added sugar may be heart health threatening. Who knows what the future brings? Eat, drink, be merry, and sit. In this gambling game of life, enjoy a happy holiday season and a very happy new year.

Mary Poppins believes that “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Do you regularly add spoons of sugar to your morning tea or coffee? While those spoonful or packets may help those beverages go down, they may also be hurting your hear health. According to an article in the Journal of American Medical Association or JAMA, getting too much added sugar in your diet might significantly increase your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, according to a study published in January 2014.

The study concluded that. “Most US adults consume more added sugar than is recommended for a healthy diet. We observed a significant relationship between added sugar consumption and increased risk for CVD mortality.”

While there are many risk factors that may lead to an eclipse of the heart or some form of heart failure, the results point that added sugar rather than salt may probably influence cardiovascular health and possible mortality (or life reduction).

The American Heart Association recently updated a section devoted to heart health issues and added sugar. They indicated that sugar-sweetened beverages are the largest source of added sugars in the American diet, often as many as 9 teaspoons of sugar as carbohydrate calories. Those excess carbohydrates may also lead to weight gain and diabetes – other potential risk factors against heart health. The problem is many people consume not one 12-ounce can but as much as 2 liters or nearly a half-gallon of these beverages daily.

That prompted a Congress representative, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), to propose an excise tax on sugared soft drinks, much like those already imposed on cigarettes and alcohol. While there are many supporters of The SWEET Act, there are many that oppose the act from passing.

We are not only talking about sodas and iced-teas/fruit drinks but also sweetened energy and sports drinks. I might accept electrolyte enhancing sport drinks if you exercised intensely but many are consumed while sitting in front of a TV or at a desk.

Can you have your cake and eat it too? I was sitting at Starbucks and noticed someone ordering coffee and a cupcake. A typical cupcake weighs about 3 ounces. It is about 235 calories, mostly from fat and sugars, based on 1 ounce. That’s 700 calories. Keeping in the Christmas spirit, the person ordered an Espresso with steamed milk and caramel brulée flavored sauce. The 16-ounce beverage contains 52 grams of sugar. Then the customer went to the convenience stand and added 3 more packets of sugar. I was drinking an espresso straight with 5 calories.

So, here we are, armed with a study that heart health may be compromised by adding sugars and beverages aren’t the only culprit. Then there are foods that add high fructose corn syrup that say “no added sugar.” Sugar is deemed as sucrose. The problem lies in economics and taking sides with the investment quotient.

Mary Poppins may have been correct about adding sugar to medicine. You’re only sick for a brief time. Not adding sugar is an acquired taste and often requires lots of adaptation.

Few people below the age of 30 would never consider heart health issues as threatening. Most of them continue their dietary habits and, with age, start noticing the consequences. Is it likely that added sugar will shorten your life with deteriorating heat health? Who knows? There are many habits and diseases that make up the ingredients.

This JAMA study on added sugars from last year has stirred new debate amidst health concerns, tastes, and economics.

Whether added sugar will result in diseased heart health over time may still be an open case. One can always say that life is a gamble. Any threatening research may lead with “not me” responses. So smoke, drink booze, and have sugar-rich foods. If you encounter diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular issues along the way, there are always treatments (or not).

Happy holidays! May this be a year that leads to many others with increasing happiness. We hope this won’t be your last.

Artery Stents and Side Effects

Diet fads come and go. Indiscretions and choices of lifestyles may come to haunt you through normal aging, genetics, and effects from certain illnesses. Over time your arteries may become narrowed and blocked because of build-up of a fatty material called plaque, which is made up of cholesterol and other substances. Like the crusty plaque that forms around teeth, arterial and vascular plaque silently obstructs the passage of blood and nutrients throughout your body. Artery stents are light little inserts that are surgically implanted to help open obstructed arteries. Artery stents are minimally invasive life savers that may prevent heart attacks and strokes. It’s good to check your vital statistics often. Irregularities may indicate arterial blockages.

Artery and vascular obstructions are known as atherosclerosis and the American Heart Association compiles statistics annually. In 2009, there were 644,240 hospital stays that included the implantation of a cardiac artery stent.
The rate of any cardiac stent procedure rose steadily from 1999 to 2006 by 61 percent and
then declined sharply between 2006 and 2009 by 27 percent. Sclerosis, a stiffening of a structure, has been associated with many diseases, particularly multiple sclerosis and ALS (which interfere with nervous system functions). Atherosclerosis is silent. Arteries have no pain sensors to alert of plaque build-up. It is the silent killer that leads to heart attacks and brain strokes.

The use of artery stents have greatly help reduce the incidence of heart disease and brain infarctions but implantation of artery stents isn’t a miraculous cure-all. Diet and exercise routines are fundamental. They are more minimally invasive approaches of more complex surgeries that are alerts that death was nearer than you thought.

Stents reduce the incidence of heart attacks and strokes but not necessarily lives, according to Duke University research. The artery stent was first introduced in 1994 and various technological innovations have improved their overall effectiveness. Prior to stents, the severity of atherosclerosis usually required more invasive procedures, such as arterial or coronary bypasses. President Clinton and TV host David Letterman are popular recipients of those surgeries. You will note that these are very conscious of lifestyle changes to maintain weight for health.

Surgically implanting artery stents leaves no superficial scars. A catheter enters your groin area or your wrist to physically explore your arteries. Where significant blockage is visible, a stent is implanted via the catheter. For most of the procedure, you are under mild sedation – relaxed but conscious. A stent is like a spring of mesh that is inserted to support the artery wall. With time, the mesh and the artery wall unify. Heart artery stents wer approved by the FDA in 1994. Newer stents add a drug to the metallic material. This helps reduce Restenosis, a condition where the stent may collapse. Using these drug induced stents and certain prescribed oral medications help stabilize stent implantation.

Commonly, artery stents are used in surgical procedures called percutaneous trans-luminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA), also known as balloon angioplasty. These procedures are intended to reduce the risk of heart attacks or other complications stemming from coronary heart disease that involves the blockage of the arteries.

Virtually non-invasive radiological detection of atherosclerosis has emerged in the 21st century and CAT or MRI scans and Ultrasound may be used as part of routine searches for atherosclerosis in specific arteries. This may account for the rise of artery stent intervention from 1999 to 2006. Angioplasty will be necessary if plaque accumulation is noted and is a way that artery stents are implanted. If no stent is implanted, it is an ambulatory procedure with no hospital stay. An implant requires at least 24-hour stay.

An artery stent was implanted. For around 2 years following an implant procedure, you will be prescribed a blood thinner drug (i.e Plavix, Warfarin, Xarelto) and low dose aspirin as an anti-coagulant. You are advised to reduce exercise and increase proper diet for a few weeks after surgery.

Common side effects of blood thinners are:

◾Heavy menstrual flows
◾Bloody or discolored urine or feces.
◾Somewhat frequent nosebleeds.
◾Bleeding gums.
◾Prolonged bleeding from a cut and possible bruising.

Less reported side effects may include:

•Difficulty with breathing or swallowing
•Dizziness
•Headache
•Leg weakness and Numbness
•Paralysis (partial area restricted)

While not all blood thinners are affected by the same substances, a number of foods, herbs, and medications can interact with blood-thinning medications. This can render the drug more or less effective than your dosage would suggest.

Many physicians, in an effort to reduce cholesterol levels as a possible cause of atherosclerosis, also add statins (Lipitor) may lead to increased toxicity such as myopathy (inflammation of the muscles). Clinical trials commonly define statin toxicity as myalgia or muscle weakness with creatine kinase (CK) levels greater than 10 times the normal upper limit. The most frequrntly reported statin side effects are:

Headache
Nausea
Vomiting
Constipation
Diarrhea
Rashes
Weakness and muscle pain

People who smoke have an additional concern over Nicotine. The nicotine in cigarettes directly affects the inflammatory response, causing the release of more cytokines.Cytokines serve as molecular messengers between cells and regulate various inflammatory responses. There are many types of cytokines in the bloodstream and some are researched as possible sources of arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other pain or numbing diseases.

There is often a great emphasis in controlling plaque and vulnerable plaque in the arteries leading to the heart and brain. Less emphasis is focused on other narrower blood vessels that extend to the periphery of the body, such as hands and feet. The possible side effects of blood thinners, statins, and nicotine, plus vulnerable plaque, may be restricting blood flow and cytokines to various point s in legs and arms.

The effects of drugs, diet, lifestyle, and undetected vascular disintegrity may be associated with a less common side effect of artery stents. They are peripheral neuropathies, a numbness or tingling of hands and feet.

I had numbness in the feet. I have since found several cases that have complained about some form of peripheral neuropathy that require assisted walking devices. Nearly all reported having at least one implanted stent. A few had as many as four stents. Medications can manage neuropathy symptoms but none claim to cure it. I have found long-term acupuncture to be effective. Acupuncturists offer differing techniques. I found New York’s East Wind Healing Arts to be the best.

Stents are used to help support decayed arteries and collapsing organs. They are used after coronary episodes and to prevent first episodes. As a wise approach in exploring annual routine health care, a comprehensive center of cardiologists, who also specialize as internists, may be sensitive enough to help ward off any problems.

Diet and exercise help. Unfortunately, people of all shapes and sizes may be susceptible to atherosclerosis by virtue of genetics. Following responsible diets and physical activities are good avenues to support heat health within the generally healthy population.

It is likely that where atherosclerosis is present in arteries, there may be peripheral vascular disease found in the blood vessels feeding and protecting other areas of your body.

Your body likes balance and works hard towards maintaining a stable balance. It has complex mechanisms that control internal fight/flight stress at microcellular levels. Sometimes it’s imperceptible while other times pain and inflammation may occur. While implanting artery stents may breed a host of annoying side effects, maintain an active relationship with your physicians and work hard toward living happily ever after.

When necessary, artery stents are life savers but following more responsible lifestyles may add years of living well. As to dealing with side effects? Sometimes you have to weigh side effects or no life at all. Doctors and patients should be attentive and aware of those possible side effects and cooperate with healthcare and alternatives as successful treatments.

Heavy Metals and heart health

Do you enjoy heavy metals? Heavy Metal may be great music. Your body requires metals (minerals) in trace amounts for stable health. Too much may be hazardous to your health, even poisonous. Metal and heavy metal nutrients can bring life and death. They are vital to cellular maintenance. Too many metals may contribute to heart attacks, strokes, and cancers. Know how much metal you need to enjoy life?

Metals are very important to your body’s normal functioning. Iron, for example, is found in hemoglobin, a molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body. Iron is essential in tiny trace, An iron deficiency may lead to anemia, general fatigue, weakness. shortness of breath, and dizziness. Your body has many trace metals. Other metals your body requires are zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, chromium, and molybdenum. Many of these are included in most multiple vitamins. Some metals are often found in medicine formulas, such as aluminum, bismuth, gold, gallium, lithium, and silver. Then there are heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, and lead that are highly toxic to your body but essential for manufacturing products.

Exposure to heavy metals and their absorption into our body systems are often indirect and build-up is cumulative over time. Yet, most people don’t have an idea about the effects that even harmless metal exposure might have.

Very few realize that Calcium is a metal and also a vital nutrient for teeth and bones. It also is an active ingredient in common antacids sold in pharmacy and convenience stores. Some dairy products and dairy substitutes fortify additional calcium for marketing purposes. Accidental overdosing calcium is easy because of its availability. Calcium, over time, can contribute to the hardening of the arteries that may result in heart attacks and strokes. Even if your cholesterol is in the normal range!

Calcification can show up in breast tissue and, prior to crystallization, may not be detected by mammograms. Crystallized calcium may be the cause of many observed lumps in breasts. While most are not cancerous, calcium may (in certain conditions) be associated with forms of invasive cancer.

We have said that Iron is essential for health in trace amounts. Taking too much Iron in your diet can be lethal. Iron overdose has been one of the leading causes of death caused by toxicological agents in children younger than 6 years. While Iron in the bloodstream is vital for delivering oxygen to cells, overdose can kill cells. Large amounts of Iron is an extremely corrosive substance to the GI tract, and may induce abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Some heavy metals may be surreptitious and confusing. We are taught about how beneficial it is to eat fresh-water salmon and tuna fish. While there are many health benefits, seafood and fish store Mercury in their bodies, some more than others. In an average adult diet, Mercury levels may be harmless. Some fish and shellfish contain higher levels of mercury that may harm an unborn baby or young child’s developing nervous system. Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish, but, be advised, that eating more than 12 ounces of these low-mercury fish may be harmful in the long-run.

Mercury occurs naturally in the environment and can also be released into the air through industrial pollution. Mercury falls from the air and can accumulate in streams and oceans. Mercury transforms into methyl mercury in the water. Naturally, Fish absorb the methyl mercury as they feed in these waters and so it builds up in them. If young children are exposed to fish with high mercury levels, cerebral palsy, blindness and deafness may result. Methyl mercury damage is usually irreversible. Treatment is determined by the severity of the condition and is similar to that given for cerebral palsy.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, some forms of mercury may lead to muscle weakness, and mental disturbances. Mackerel, Shark, Swordfish, and Tilefish generally have the highest levels of mercury and are not recommended for pregnant women or young children. In its pure form, Mercury was once used in dental fillings and as an inactive base in some pills. What do they mean by inactive?

Supplements containing the metal Selenium make claims that it is beneficial at keeping thyroid levels in the normal range, among many other things. Most dietary Selenium comes from fish, grass-fed and pasture-raised meats, whole grains, and nuts.

The recommended dietary allowance of Selenium for adults is about 55 micrograms daily. It acts as a powerful antioxidant when combined with certain vitamins. Doses of over 200 micrograms daily may result in a form of diabetes. An overdose of selenium may cause bad breath, fever, nausea, and liver, kidney and heart problems. At high enough levels, selenium could possibly be a factor that results with death.

Think about lead poisoning, one of the more common toxic heavy metals. It was found in paint and gasoline up to the 1970’s. When homes are rented or sold, owners have to indicate a “lead notice” to prevent possible accidents from exposure to older paint layers. Sometimes toys imported from China may also have lead-based finishes. Accumulated exposure may be very harmful.

The signs and symptoms of lead poisoning in children may include: Developmental delay, Learning difficulties, Irritability, Loss of appetite, and Sluggishness and fatigue. There may also be abdominal issues.

There is one metal that your body really needs. It is called Magnesium for muscle, nerve, heart, ad bone health. Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Prenatal magnesium deficiency has been inferred with autism and other early development disorders.

Excitability, Muscle weakness, and (excessive) Sleepiness have been associated with magnesium deficiencies. Getting your magnesium quota from foods is really easy. Most dietary magnesium comes from vegetables, such as dark green, leafy vegetables, legumes, whole-grain rice, nuts, and (some) soy products.

Though rare, magnesium overdose may lead to hypertension, vomiting, unintentional weight loss, slow breathing, kidney stress, and a possible calcium deficiency. While magnesium reportedly helps fight against accumulation of heavy metals in your body, further studies are needed.

There’s something wise about the health benefits of oysters. They are one of the foods that deliver the highest natural source of Zinc, another beneficial metal. For over 20 years, doctors claimed that Zinc can reduce colds from viruses.

Zinc has also been associated as beneficial to ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder) and the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. Zinc may benefit skin and fertility. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Taking too much Zinc may result in digestive problems and may lower your immunity system. Zinc competes with copper for absorption in the human body. Having an overdose of zinc unbalances your copper levels which become deficient. Taking too much Zinc may affect a change in taste and smell. Other Zinc side-effects may contribute to dizziness, chest pain, trouble breathing, fever, chills and jaundice, when taken at higher than recommended quantities.

Sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. Too much cake may make you fat. The acids in coffee may attack tooth enamel, for example. Too much milk brings healthy bones but possible circulatory problems. Certain seafood and fish may result in nerve disorders. It really is difficult. While heavy metals have benefits they may prematurely kiss you toward a stairway to heaven and a black Sabbath. Beware! Overdosing on heavy metals can impact the qualities of your life.

Heavy metals and metals may be nutritious and healthy in tiny amounts. Before dosing up or eating certain foods, especially when pregnant, their content in docile, everyday foods and supplements may be poisonous. Check with your doctor or nutritionist. The symptoms can be confusing but harmful if a possible associative suspicion is overlooked.

Many multivitamin supplements include metals as minerals. These small amounts help prevent deficiency but many of these come from healthy diets. How many people follow healthy diet guidelines? Sticking to that source will help you reap their benefits. It’s advisable not to over-supplement or you’ll reap consequences.

Careful review of heavy metals and metals in your diet may make the music of life more appealing.

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.

New 2013 cholesterol guidelines

Sometimes it may be the binge eating you had before your medical exam. Other times it may be the dietary recommendations that eating chicken and fish are healthier than red meat. Any animal-source food has cholesterol. According to the Center of Disease Control, 71 million Americans or 1 in 3 have high LDL or bad cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol is associated with lining arteries with plaque that may lead to organ damage, particularly leading to heart attacks and strokes. For some people, it is dietary, and is easily controlled. For others, these may be familial, chronic conditions. There’s no wonder why cholesterol management is a big topic and essential indicator examined on general blood tests. When the American Heart Association announces new guidelines for cholesterol management, doctors listen. The new report promotes high statin dosage to control high LDL levels.

A group of researchers from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association put their weight on new cholesterol management guidelines. Their emphasis is to increase statin treatments to more people who might be at risk of having a heart attack. The origin of these reports were designed to effectively care for those who already had some level of a cardiovascular episode.

As with all cases, the panel took a traditional approach. As with all patients, they emphasized lifestyle guidelines (i.e., adhering to a heart healthy diet, regular exercise
habits, avoidance of tobacco products, and maintenance of a healthy weight). They cited that use of one of the 4 statin groups would help those who can’t manage to keep their LDL at a normal range. They did not discuss HDL/LDL ratios.

Establishing a target range under real circumstances still remains vague but they deemed that an LDL-C of 190 is considered threatening.

The new guideline recommends moderate- or high-intensity statin therapy for these four groups:

1) Patients who have cardiovascular disease;
2) Patients with an LDL, or “bad” cholesterol level of 190 mg/dL or higher;
3) Patients with Type 2 diabetes who are between 40 and 75 years of age
4)Patients with an estimated 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease of 7.5 percent or higher who are between 40 and 75 years of age (the report provides formulas for calculating 10-year risk).

Chronic use of statins may have negative effects on neuromuscular systems, particularly peripheral myopathies. While Cleveland University research cites that 72.5% of statin-intolerant patients may be treated with statins. There are those that have diseases like muscular dystrophy or multiple sclerosis for which statin use may be almost fatal. Recommendations of high stain dosages may be more dangerous holistically than cardiology specialists realize.

For example, many people suffer from rheumatism and fibromyalgia. These involve muscle pains, affecting over 10 million people, that have no succinct etiology to infer causality and results. There is little data to support that high-dose statins may induce more extreme pain or inflammation. While cholesterol management is vital, average cardiologists may not take these other common diseases into consideration when prescribing statin drugs.

Specialists that read these guidelines may take easier approaches at high-dosing statins to force cholesterol management to those that may not need it. The November 2013 guidelines of the American College of Cardiologists and the American Heart Association seems to sanction this. Most cardiologists adhere to the average and this report definitely targets the average. Patients are then forced to seek out cardiologists that see patients as individuals instead of group numbers. Groupings are attractive at writing presentations. Patients as clients require more specific attention.

Yet statins are touted well beyond cholesterol management with research demonstrating efficacy in treating cancer and other diseases. It’s as if all the leading drug companies that produce cholesterol are behind all the experiments. In some respects, companies like Merck and Pfizer are using cardiologists as drug pushers, especially when two major heart organizations sanction high dosages of statin medications to help lower LDL cholesterol.

I have genetic cholesterol and management requires an almost vegan diet along with exercise. Because of a form of muscular dystrophy, all statins have been proven toxic. I use Source Natural Cholesterol Complex on a daily basis, along with non-statin prescription Zetia and Lopid. Policosanol is a key ingredient in my supplement mix and policosanol research shows that 20mg can help reduce LDL cholesterol by nearly 30%. For people that suffer from statin intolerance, statins are not the conclusive treatment.

Cholesterol is only one of many indicators that may lead to heart disease. Relying on statins to lower LDL cholesterol levels may be great for many people. For those that exhibit statin intolerance, there are other routes and physicians should understand and study these.

Sifting through this 80 page document from November, it’s a rather unimpressive work and further extends that the two leading organizations continue to fail at examining holistic approaches to cholesterol management. Cholesterol levels correlate differently with age and this report didn’t cover that well. As people rise over 70, 190 to 200 LDL is more tolerable than that of a 25 year old.

Prescribing high intensity statins as a rule instead of an exception, may actually harm some patients in those groups due to side-effects. The fervent faith in statins for cholesterol management that seems to be shared by traditional cardiologists may be taking cardiovascular care in wrong directions. There must be more exploration into alternative approaches that place responsibilities on both doctor and patient.

Finding a reasonable target that I can maintain without statins is my goal. In the overall wellness mix, I prefer to be in control. Control requires an active goal-oriented approach. That control persists between routine visits to my practitioner.

Patients, as drug consumers, will accept statins and will likely not report intolerances. While statins for lowering cholesterol may be beneficial, the overall goal is to help patients (as clients) pursue healthy lifestyles and feel well. On the patient’s side, you must be willing to take necessary drug-free steps to improve your heart and cardiovascular health. Ultimately your health is your responsibility!

As to the new stricter standards proposed by the ACC and AHA regarding cholesterol borderlines and statin medications, everything and anything is subject to change. Each year new studies and interventions lead to new perspectives of how to approach cardiovascular conditions. The ACC and AHA are traditionalists and are likely to follow Statins as a holy sword. Statins are not exclusive. Seek out other options and, if possible, find integrative health centers that offer more holistic and educational approaches to help resolve what may be a chronic condition. There are lifestyle choices that can help you manage your LDL cholesterol levels.