You Don’t Need Drugs To Prevent Or Treat Heart Disease
Heart disease and natural treatment. We are constantly reminded that high levels of cholesterol in the blood serum increase the chances of atherosclerotic disease and the likelihood of getting a stroke or heart attack. But is having a high bad cholesterol level the main issue here involving heart and circulatory disease? I believe that it is much more important to assess a patient’s full risk profile in the clinic, and not just focus on high cholesterol levels, or an imbalanced ratio between good and bad cholesterol. The presence of several inflammatory risk factors in particular which escalate in your body may well go unnoticed until it is often too late, because most of the attention is diverted to “lowering” cholesterol or blood pressure at all costs.
Main Heart Disease Risk Factors
- Hereditary. For example, have several close male relatives all succumbed to a heart disease before the age of 50? A British male patient mentioned that his brother, 2 uncles and father all died of heart attacks aged between 40 to 50. This patient’s blood pressure was normal and his cholesterol levels were fine too. What I did find was surprising, his homocysteine level was an incredible 18 (should be under 10 ideally) and his Vitamin B12 hit rock bottom at 90 (should have been a more healthy 350 plus). His Vitamin B12 level was never checked. It is known that vitamin B12 (400 – 1,000 micrograms per day) may help to prevent many types of cardiovascular diseases by lowering elevated homocysteine levels. Excessive levels of the naturally occurring amino acid homocysteine are a strong risk factor for many cardiovascular diseases. These are the cases were the patient dies and the practitioner may be “at a loss as to explain why”, after all, “his cholesterol and blood pressure were fine”.
- Personality/Behaviour. Is the person relaxed, easy going and patient, or are we dealing with a “Type A” behaviour individual? Several studies have revealed that impatient, demanding, competitive and stressed individuals are at a higher risk of heart disease. Are you feeling tense, stressed or angry at times?
- Are you overweight? I have always believed that it is much more important to address a patient’s weight issues, than it is to lower their cholesterol levels, correct their blood sugar & insulin problems and try to deal with the several other metabolic dysfunctions like back and knee problems which occur as a result of their weight problem. People who are obese are two to three times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than those who are not obese. Mortality from cardiovascular disease begins to increase with a BMI above 25. I wonder how many overweight or obese people take pills for blood pressure and cholesterol. Are you overweight and have high cholesterol? Forget the pills; try losing weight before you even think about drug based solutions.
- Ear Lobe Creases -Diagonal earlobe creases, appearing at a 45° downward angle toward the shoulder, are a better predictor of sudden death from a heart attack or stroke than age, smoking, obesity, elevated cholesterol levels, or a sedentary lifestyle, particularly before the age of 80. About 1973, the association between diagonal earlobe creases and the threat of an eventual heart attack was made. Chronic circulatory problems allow the vascular bed in the earlobe to collapse and the telltale earlobe crease to appear. More than 30 studies have been recorded in medical literature, with one involving 264 patients from a university-based coronary care unit who were followed for 10 years. Researchers concluded that after adjusting for other risk factors, the presence of an earlobe crease on one side was associated with a 33% increase in the risk of a heart attack; the risk increased to 77% when the earlobe crease appeared on both sides. Go and look in the mirror now, do you notice deep crease lines in your ear lobes? You need to look seriously at your risk factors such as smoking, being overweight, no exercise, anger issues, etc.
- Do you ever “push play”? Physical activity can reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack. The New Zealand Nutrition survey identified amazingly that over one third of New Zealanders (40 percent) are physically inactive. Scientists believe that a properly planned exercise program may be the single greatest preventive measure against cardiovascular disease. In the past, it was thought that an individual using exercise as a cardiovascular protective should select an activity that produced a state of breathlessness and participate in the action several times a week, but it has now been determined that cardiovascular strengthening can be obtained from low intensity activity such as walking for 30 minutes a day.
Concerned about strokes, heart attacks or heart disease in general?
Main rules for heart disease prevention:
- Watch out for the bad fats As I have mentioned previously, according to cholesterol expert Uffe Ravnskov, MD PhD, your actual diet in reality has little to do with your actual blood cholesterol level. We are all told that a reduction of animal fat in the diet is said to lower the blood cholesterol. Keep away more so from the real villains, the hydrogenated fats such as vegetable shortenings and margarine and the deep fried foods.
- Decrease alcohol intake. Alcohol may cause the production of cholesterol within the cell membranes. This additional cholesterol ends up in the bloodstream thereby elevating total serum cholesterol levels. Keep your alcohol intake down.
- Keep the blood pressure down. Blood pressure is more important than cholesterol. Fact: Even though you may have a high cholesterol level, if your ratio of HDL (“good” cholesterol) to LDL (“bad” cholesterol) is good, you don’t have a high risk of stroke. However, high blood pressure continuously stresses your circulatory system. High blood pressure (over 160/90 – ideal is less then 140/80) combined with other risk factors increases the chance of a stroke or heart attack by a massive 300%.
- Move your body. Most of us over 50 who are not very active are nearly twice as likely to die from coronary artery disease than active people, irrespective of any other factors. Aim for 30 minutes daily, go for a brisk walk, I love my morning walks.
- Do you still smoke? The toxic gasses in smoke including carbon dioxide constricts blood vessels and strain the heart and lungs leading to stroke and heart disease.
- Eat more fibre, particularly oat bran. Aim for 2/3 cup oat bran cereal per day; either 1/3 cup oat bran cereal and 2 oat bran muffins per day. Try to drink several glasses of water to keep the fiber soft and prevent constipation. If you can’t eat oat bran, don’t despair, use beans. Oat bran will help to keep your cholesterol balanced. Additionally, the Mediterranean diet is advisable.
Nutritional Supplementation For Healthy Cholesterol Levels & Heart
- Calcium Magnesium supplementation. Take a 2:1 ration product, twice as much calcium as magnesium, and take a citrate formula. You will absorb more. These two mighty minerals have many dozens of applications with the heart.
- Vitamin C daily I recommend between 2 – 4000mg daily. Vitamin C facilitates the removal of calcium from atherosclerotic plaques and prevents the deposition of cholesterol into atherosclerotic plaques. It is very under rated as far as prevention of heart disease in concerned. Have you had a stent fitted? Then take 1/2 – 1 tsp daily.
- The best herbal medicines for you circulation are: Garlic, Hawthorne berry & leaf, Cayenne, Bilberry and White Willow Bark. Try Heart Drops, we have many patients take this herbal formula.
- Omega 3 Take one capsule of 1000mg three time daily, the circulation benefits are too numerous to mention.
- Vitamin E Take 400iu daily of a “mixed tocopherol” Vitamin E. In one study, persons using Vitamin E supplements were found to have a 29% reduction in their risk of stroke and also have a reduced risk of dying from a stroke.
- COQ10. Take a look at CoEnzyme Q10, the most comprehensive cardiovascular product containing Co-Enzyme Q10, Taurine, Gingko and Hawthorne extract. Take this if you have high blood pressure AND high cholesterol. Good to take for three months and then assess.
- Red Yeast Rice Extract. Red yeast rice extract is one of the best forms of this LDL lowering natural products on the market. If you have very high levels of LDL, try this natural statin (600mg red yeast rice per cap) which includes 15mg of CoQ10 per cap to stop any possibility of a muscle cramp or fatigue.
- Liver detox supplement – take this daily (1 tablet twice daily) if you have high cholesterol and have a history of drinking wine or beer, eating chocolates, take-out foods, carry excess weight and need a little weight loss. Your liver will need “tune-up”.
- Get your blood tested to assess your risk more fully These are the main things to test for: Fasting lipids (total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, Triglycerides) Ferritin, B12, Folate, Fibrinogen, hsCRP, Lipoprotein a and Homocysteine.
- Healthcheck Scan This is what I now recommend those high at risk, who want to know what is really going on. Ascot Hospital in Auckland offers this non invasive test. Heart check is a new state-of-the-art method to non-invasively x-ray image the coronary arteries to look for signs of early Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) due to the buildup of fatty deposits or plaque. Check out www.healthcheck.co.nz
Check Out These Cardiovascular Articles:
- Heart Disease – The Best Blood Tests
- High Blood Pressure – Causes And Medical Treatment
- High Blood Pressure – Emotional Causes And Natural Treatment
- Go To Part 1 – Cholesterol, The Risks, The Facts, and The Politics
- Go To Part 2 – Statin Drug Side-Effects
- The New Zealand Health Strategy, To reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease, 2003.
- Donahue, R. P., et al. Alcohol and hemorrhagic stroke. The Honolulu Heart Program. Journal of the American Medical Association. 255(17):2311-2314, 1986.
- Ear lobe creases and heart disease. Moraes D, McCormack P, Tyrrell J, Feely J. Dept of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Trinity College Medical School, St James’s Hospital, Dublin 8.
- M Myrtek. Meta-analyses of prospective studies on coronary heart disease, type A personality, and hostility. International Journal of Cardiology 2001 79: 245-251.
- Vitamin E and other lipophilic antioxidants protect LDLagainst oxidation.Esterbauer, H.; Rotheneder, M.; Striegl, G.; Waeg, G.;Ashy, A.; Sattler, W. and Jurgens, G.Fat Sci. Technol. 91:316-24 (1989)
- Effect of oral supplementation with d-alpha-tocopherol onthe vitamin E content of human low density lipoproteins andresistance to oxidation.Dieber-Rotheneder, M.; Puhl, H.; Waeg, G.; Striegl, G.and Esterbauer, H.J. Lipid Res. 32:1325-32 (1991)