The Most Important Indicators for Predicting Heart Disease.

Highlights:

  • The importance of cholesterol in the body
  • What indicators put you at risk for Coronary Vascular Disease (CVD)
  • Ratios are more important than individual cholesterol numbers when determining risk for CVD
  • The real cause of Coronary Heart Disease

 

 

Cardiovascular disease affects about 70 Million Americans and is responsible for 610,000 deaths per year. Thatis 1 in 4 people. That makesheart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. In 2009, more than half of the deaths due to heart disease were men.

 

  • The total cost of cardiovascular disease in 2008 was estimated at $300 billion.
  • 1 in 3 Americans have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of major cardiovascular risk factors related to overweight/obesity and insulin resistance.
  • Close to one million Americans have heart attacks each year.
  • Every year nearly 735,000 Americans have a heart attack, of those, 525,000 are a first heart attack; and 210,000 people have already had a heart attack.
  • About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.

 

In this article,you will learn what indicators are the best to use for determining your risk for CVD(cardio vascular disease). I’ll show you several studies to help you understand why “total cholesterol”or even LDL and HDL, are not the best indicators.

What Cholesterol is and Why You Need It

 

Cholesterol is found in your bloodstream and in every cell in your body. It helps to build cell membranes, utilize Vitamin D, create hormones, is used to create bile and is essential for memory. Synapse formation in the brain are reliant on cholesterol. The brain consists of 25% of the body’s cholesterol; the liver is responsible for creating 75% of the body’scholesterol. Even our sex hormones come from cholesterol. Vitamin D is dependent on cholesterol. The nerves in your body require cholesterol. This is due to the Myelin, which lines the central nervous system (CNS) and is made from cholesterol. Some of the more severe modern diseases, namely autoimmunediseases, such as: Multiple Sclerosis and Guillain–Barré syndrome are caused by a breakdown of the Myelin sheath surrounding every nerve.

 

So, you can see and understand that cholesterol, a foundational building block for the body, is essential for health; without it, the body wouldnot survive. Let’s look at some of the components of cholesterol from anallopathic perspective, since there are several different types of cholesterol particles.

 

 

Types of Cholesterol and What They Mean About Your Health

 

  1. HDL

  2. LDL

  3. Triglycerides

  4. Lipoprotein (a) or LP(a)

  5. Ratio of HDL/LDL

 

We want to look at cholesterol and its protein carriers, not just total cholesterol, because the total cholesterol count is a poor indicator of CVD. I need to clear up a very important point in relation to these markers. Most are not cholesterol, but lipoproteins that carry cholesterol to the cells that need it. Cholesterol is a sterol.

So, let’s go through them here.

HDL cholesterol particles are considered beneficial. They keep the arteries clear of debris and help clean up the oxidized and unstable LDL particles. The HDL also helps with repair of the arterial walls.

LDL is considered a ‘bad’type of cholesterol. It causes damage of the arterial walls and can assist in the formation of plaque. Although it can predict CVD, it still hasn’t been proven that it causes CVD. This particle has more density than the HDL.

LDL-P is the measurement of the quantity of these particles circulating in the blood. These particles are denser and tend to be small.

 

Elevated triglycerides have been linked to diabetes,heart disease and indicate that inflammation is present in the vascular system. Causes of elevated levels are; excess consumption of sugar and carbohydrates, inactivity and smoking.

 

Lipoprotein or LP(a) are the carriers for these types of cholesterol. Cells have LP(a) receptors to receive the cholesterol. Elevated LP(a) are a strong risk factor for heart disease. Two factors determine the function of these receptors:

  1. How much cholesterol is needed by the cells in the body.
  2. Thyroid hormone affects the proper circulation of these carrier proteins.

 

VLDL/Very low-density lipoprotein is another type of cholesterol carrying protein formed in the liver and providing information about the health of the metabolism.

 

HDL/Cholesterol Ratio is used to determine the non-HDL or “bad”cholesterol. This is an important predictor of heart disease. Simply divide your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol number by your total cholesterol number. A good ratio will be above 24. An optimal level of non-HDL cholesterol is less than 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 3.37 millimoles per liter (mmol/L) but ultimately the ratio is most important.

 

Triglycerides/HDL ratio is a significant risk factor in the development of heart disease. Your triglyceride to HDL ratio (triglycerides divided by HDL ratio) should ideally be below 2 percent. In fact, one study found that people with the highest ratio of triglycerides to HDL had 16 times the risk of heart attack as those with the lowest ratio of triglycerides to HDL. You calculate your triglyceride/HDL cholesterol ratio by dividing your triglyceride level by your HDL level. This ratio should ideally be below 2.

What Predictors Should You Look at to Prevent CVD?

 

If total cholesterol isn’t a good indicator than what is? The following study looks at LDL-C and LDL-P and their correlation to heart attacks. The LDL-C looks at the kind of cholesterol present,while the LDL-P looks are the amount of the particle concentration in the blood. The study found that even though the LDL-C is high, if the LDL-P is low, then the risk for CVD is significantly less than if your LDL-P are high and the LDL-C are low. In fact, about 30 – 40% of those with low LDL-C,have high LDL-P.

 

Note: This is important because these people have a higher risk for CVD and might not know it if the LDL-P is not included.

 

Studies indicate that the risk for atherosclerosis is more related to the number of LDL particles (LDL-P), than the total amount of cholesterol within these particles.

LDL particles tend to circulate longer in the blood and are thus, susceptible to oxidization, becoming unstable and damaging the epithelial lining of the vessels.

The total HDL isn’t as important as the ratio of HDL/Total Cholesterol. It should be 3.5-1, the lower it is, the lower your risk of heart disease. You get this number by dividing your HDL level/total cholesterol .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Identify Heart Disease with a Low-Tech Test You Can Do at Home

 

This is one more indicator to look at,to give you even more of a complete picture of your cardio vascular heath. One of the most low-tech and effective ways to determine risk for CVD, is measuring your waist to hip ratio. This is done by measuring the circumference of your hips at the widest part, across your buttocks. Then measure your waist, right above the belly button, at the smallest circumference of your natural waist.

 

The senior author Francisco Lopez-Jimenez said that people who are of normal weight, but who have a high waist-to-hip ratio (which means belly fat) have an even higher risk of death than people who are considered obese, based on BMI alone.

 

According to Lopez-Jimenez, the risk of cardiovascular death was 2.75 times higher, and the risk of death from all causes was 2.08 times higher, in people of normal weight with central obesity, compared with those with a normal body mass index and waist-to-hip ratio, European Society of Cardiology

The True Cause of Coronary Heart Disease

 

Cholesterol has gotten a bad rap and has been demonized for easily the last 40 years. Eggs and saturated fats have been blamed for heart disease,when in fact,they are not the leading cause of heart disease. This statement is so important,because to ignore it,could put you at risk for CVD.

 

The true culprit is inflammation. We have seen above that certain particles can cause more damage than others in the vessels. Let’s look at how that process happens.

 

The vascular system is made up of vessels which are hollow tubes that our blood cells move through. The inner most layer is made of epithelium cells,then,the next layer is lined with smooth muscle. The Epithelium tissue is extremely thin, and forms a delicate lining that is also porous by design, so it can exchange molecules easily. Smaller, denser lipoprotein particles can slip into the arterial lining, become stuck and start to oxidize or turn rancid,which in turn, causes inflammation and arterial plaque as seen in this study.

 

So, the smaller the particle and the denserit is,the more likely it is prone to slip into the cracks. Logically,this makes sense if we think about it in terms of physics. Heavy particles sink in the vessel and light particles are more buoyant in the vessels.  Another study looked at the role of triglyceride levels, HDL and LDL particles, and found that people that have more,small LDL particles,are at greater risk for CVD. The conclusion of the study said:

” Increased triglyceride level, small LDL particle diameter, and decreased HDL-C levels appear to reflect underlying metabolic perturbations with adverse consequences for risk of MI; elevated triglyceride levels may help identify high-risk individuals.”

 

Atherosclerosis, the underlying cause of CVD, is characterized by an accumulation of lipids, white blood cells and cell debris in the inner layers of the arterial wall. So, we can see from the studies above, which kind of particles to look for and which are early indicators for CVD.

 

It’s important to point out that even though there is a correlation between CVD and cholesterol, that doesn’t mean cholesterol is the cause.

 

Ironically, western medicine has blamed a diet rich in saturated fat/cholesterol for heart disease. This claim is based on science that is 50 years old.

 

Would You Trust Your Health to Science That is Over 50 Years Old, Outdated and Wrong?

 

 

 

New studies and science show that cholesterol rich foods are not the underlying cause of Cardio Vascular Disease. It’s something completely different. According to this study, the main cause of CVD, is inflammation. There are several factors which can contribute to this inflammation in the body including: thyroid health, diet, poor metabolic function and unhealthy blood sugar levels.

 

In my next article, I will look at the main causes of inflammation that underlies CVD, and how to reverse it. We will look at how everything you have been told about cholesterol is wrong, as well as cover how a diet rich in safe saturated fat/cholesterol, can actually reverse heart disease and CVD.