Heart Disease is More Than Cholesterol

There are many factors that can cause heart disease. Today, we know it is not enough to simply evaluate cholesterol levels to adequately assess your risk for developing heart disease. Several new factors of heart disease risk have been identified.

While cholesterol informs us about the status of the fats in your blood, other indicators of heart disease risk should be determined. Homocysteine is an amino acid derivative that, when elevated, dramatically increases risk for heart disease. C-reactive protein is an indicator of inflammation in the body and helps to inform about silent causes of heart disease that can progress without symptoms. Recently, the influence of insulin and testosterone on risk for heart disease has been explored. As levels of insulin rise and/or testosterone falls, an increased risk for heart disease develops. Fibrinogen can be measured to determine how well your blood clots and is a better marker than cholesterol for heart attacks and strokes.

Nutrients that protect the heart should be checked as well. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, which has long been known to protect the heart. CoQ10 is also a potent antioxidant and is critical for the heart to produce energy to beat. A lack of magnesium has been shown to lead to high blood pressure. A lack of these nutrients can set the stage for the progression of heart disease.

Prevention is the key. Many of the risk factors for heart disease can be reduced or eliminated if discovered early, before heart disease develops and causes damage. If abnormalities are found, a treatment plan can be developed that is customized to your specific needs and risk factors. This can typically be done with lifestyle, diet, and nutritional recommendations!

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