February is Heart Health month! We want to honor that but also dispel some myths about why so many people deal with heart disease. Even though there is so much more public awareness regarding heart disease, why do the numbers of those affected continue to rise, still making heart disease the number one cause of death in this country?
Over the years, Dr. Scott and I have seen many patients who have had a heart attack or are concerned with the potential of having a heart attack. Many bring their blood work into the appointment for us to review, most having a standard cholesterol panel showing us the breakdown of LDL (bad) and HDL (good) cholesterol. While this is still what is measured in the medical community as a predictor of heart disease, the research no longer supports this being the main factor to be monitored. Research has shown that the majority of people who have a heart attack have a fairly normal cholesterol panel, especially LDL cholesterol in normal levels. There are other factors that should be measured to have a more accurate picture to demonstrate a true risk for heart disease. The factors that I would like to see included in this blood work are C-reactive protein, homocysteine, Hemoglobin A1c, fasting blood sugar, and insulin: factors that help us understand the inflammation in the vascular and cardiovascular system.
When blood vessels are inflamed or damaged, LDL and vLDL (think of these as very small, dense cholesterol particles) can lodge themselves in the lining of the blood vessels causing dangerous plaque. What research is indicating is that the inflammation in the blood vessels may be a bigger evil than having a high level of LDL cholesterol. There is good news in this: inflammation can be controlled by your lifestyle. You have a tremendous power to decrease the amount of inflammation in your body. Factors like what and when you eat, how you prevent and manage your stress level, how you move your body, the supplements you take consistently, the fresh air you breathe, and simple programs to detoxify your body all have an impact on inflammatory levels.
There are so many action steps available to us. Knowing an individual's strengths and weaknesses is absolutely key in the healing and prevention process. If you are not getting the information you need regarding how you can heal from heart disease or what you need to do to shift your risk factors, please reach out to the doctors at Body In Balance. We want the best prevention plan possible and can determine your current strengths and weaknesses in something called a Wellness Score. This information is invaluable in moving forward with your health.
Understand the science behind heart disease, how research and knowledge regarding heart disease has changed drastically over the years, how the old way of thinking did not provide the decrease in heart disease that we were hoping for, and how looking at heart disease with a new perspective is changing the lives of so many. On February 12th at 6:00pm at Body In Balance in Golden, Dr. Leah Hahn, D.C. will be teaching a class called, "The Top Secrets to Healing and Enhancing Your Cardiovascular Health." We will go through research, new perspectives on cardiovascular health, and the top action steps you can take for healing your heart and moving towards optimal health. We hope to see you there and as always, Create Health by Choice, Not by Chance.