Your Guide To Doctors, Health Information, and Better Health!
Your Health Magazine Logo
The following article was published in Your Health Magazine. Our mission is to empower people to live healthier.
Alan S. Weiss, MD
Cardiovascular Disease: Natural Approaches To Reduce Your Risk
Annapolis Integrative Medicine
. http://www.annapolisintegrativemedicine.com/

Cardiovascular Disease: Natural Approaches To Reduce Your Risk

Cardiovascular Disease:  Natural Approaches To Reduce Your Risk

Nearly one million Americans will die of heart disease this year; 2,400 will die each day of cardiovascular disease, an average of one death every 36 seconds.

Amazingly the human body contains 60, 000 miles of blood vessels!

Risk factors for heart and vascular disease include a family history of premature coronary artery disease, tobacco smoking, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and most famously, elevated cholesterol levels.

What is not generally known is that as many as 50% of first heart attack victims have a normal level of cholesterol. So it is clear that there are factors other than total cholesterol involved.

Important but lesser known risk factors are inflammation, infections, diet, and lifestyle.

An easily obtained blood test called C reactive protein (CRP) is a marker for inflammation in a person’s body and is an important risk factor for heart disease. Inflammation can come from infections, diets rich in saturated fats and sugar, toxins such as lead and mercury, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. The degree of inflammation in your body is at least as important as your cholesterol level.

A typical American diet rich in saturated fats and high sugar foods, as well as tobacco use, obesity, and insulin resistance, can cause the CRP to be elevated.

Chronic hidden infections in the body can also raise the CRP level. Infections which have been linked to cardiovascular disease include periodontal gum disease, respiratory infections, stomach infections (H Pylori) and even urinary tract infections.

Important lab tests can help assess cardiovascular risk. These include insulin levels, both fasting and in response to glucose challenge, expanded lipid panels beyond the standard ones typically used which look more closely at the various types of proteins that carry cholesterol (HDL, LDL) as well as a lesser known but more important protein called Apolipoprotein B.

I very often offer a test called a coronary artery calcium score as well as carotid artery ultrasonography which help us know if there is any damage and plaque on these important arteries.

Once a person’s current state of vascular/cardiac health and their risk of developing it in the future is calculated, a treatment plan can be formulated.

For many people, lifestyle and nutritional interventions can substantially reduce cardiovascular risk even without the use of more aggressive pharmacological treatments. Though cholesterol lowering drugs can be life saving there are other safe and effective ways to reduce the risk of heart disease for people who either cannot tolerate statins or would prefer other modalities.

Recent evidence suggests using hormone replacement around onset of menopause may reduce development of coronary artery disease in women. This is important given that heart attack risk for women begins to rise after menopause to meet that of men. Testosterone replacement in men may help reduce cardiovascular risk.

There are many tools we have to assess a person’s risk of heart disease, and an integrative physician has many options available to treat each person appropriately and safely. But the first step is to realized that heart disease is very common, and to have a clear eyed view of the current state of affairs and future risk, and then embark on a treatment plan that works.

MD (301) 805-6805 | VA (703) 288-3130