Heart disease is a silent killer. It kills more people in India than any other disease. The incidence of heart disease has reached alarming proportions. The sad part is that there is still a lot that we need to know about the causal factors, and how we can treat it or prevent it.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death of men and women and each year more than a million individuals experience a heart attack. Traditional risk factors for Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) include hypertension, obesity, cigarette smoking, diabetes, physical inactivity, family history of premature CAD, age (men >44 yrs; women >54 yrs), and abnormal serum lipids – but this only accounts for 1/2 of the CAD risk.
Cholesterol & Heart Disease
Over 50% of heart attack victims and 80% of patients with CAD have normal cholesterol levels. As little as 25% of premature CAD is attributable to elevated LDL-C.
Insulin insensitivity and the ensuing metabolic syndrome is recognized as a major contributing factor to the development and progression of Cardiovascular Diseases.
Many of the multiple metabolic risk factors for cardiovascular disease can be reduced or eliminated with innovative testing and individualized integrative therapies.While an investigation into the physiology is necessary, cardio-metabolic treatments deliver the best results when a person is treated.
Specialized testing in Functional Medicine
ADVANCED MARKERS FOR CVD ( GENOVA DIAGNOSTICS)
For the past 25 years, the emphasis on Cardiovascular (CV) Risk stratification and treatment has focused on the Total Cholesterol and LDL-Cholesterol values. Recent data indicates that measurement of LDL-particle number (LDL-P) turns out to be a more accurate assessment of LDL-related risk than LDL-C concentration. In other words, knowing the KIND of cholesterol is more important than just knowing the overall cholesterol levels.
The CV Health Profile from Genova Diagnostics analyzes blood for state-of-the-art lipid markers and independent risk factors that illuminate the clinical complexity of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Together, these markers provide a thorough assessment of cardiovascular health status, revealing the biochemical environment associated with inflammation, lipid deposits, endothelial dysfunction, and clotting factors underlying cardiovascular disease.
The CV Health Profile is a comprehensive evaluation featuring an advanced lipid profile that utilizes NMR fractionation technology, independent risk markers (including lipoprotein-associated phospholipase or Lp-PLA2), and a novel Insulin Resistance Score. All of these advanced markers play a critical role in a person’s cardiovascular health. The insight they provide allows the clinician to more accurately address abnormalities relating to cardiac and vascular diseases. With its unique combination of standard lipid markers, lipid fractionation analysis, and novel independent risk factors, the CV Health Profile assists physicians in identifying nearly 85% of individuals with cardiovascular disease.
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Lipids – Know Your (Particle) Number. While the focus has been on the amount of cholesterol a person has and their risk of heart attack, we now know that the KIND of cholesterol is actually more important than overall levels.
LDL-Particle Number (LDL-P) includes small and large LDL particles, and is independent of the cholesterol concentration within the particles. An individual with low/normal LDL-C concentration, but high LDL-P, is still at high-risk for plaque build-up. Increased LDL-P is associated with increased risk of carotid atherosclerosis, angina, myocardial infarction and future coronary events.
LDL-Size is highly associated with triglycerides and insulin resistance. Individuals with a preponderance of LDL particles of smaller size are at increased risk for coronary artery disease (CAD) and increased CAD severity.
HDL-Particle Number (HDL-P) indicates increased risk of coronary events for individuals with a low HDL-P number, and is independent of major lipid and non-lipid CVD risk factors. HDL-P is an important secondary risk factor, as it strongly relates to atherosclerosis in those individuals with optimal levels of LDL-P. Increasing HDL-C without increasing HDL-P offers little clinical benefit.
The CV Health profile provides a combination of standard lipid measures and particle numbers, independent risk factors focused on inflammation, and lipid fractionation to identify insulin resistance risk. This profile can be used to help optimize a patient’s cardiovascular health, to reduce heart attack and stroke risk, and to reduce inflammation in the cardiovascular system.
The CV Health plus Genomics is a profile that measures a variety of lipids and inflammatory markers as well as genetic markers that can predispose a person to developing cardiovascular disease. Together, these markers provide a thorough assessment of cardiovascular health status, revealing the biochemical environment and cardiogenomic risk associated with inflammation, lipid deposits, endothelial dysfunction, and clotting factors underlying cardiovascular disease.
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The CardioION is a comprehensive nutritional and metabolic profile measuring amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, metabolic markers, and cardiovascular health markers.
The Cardio/ION identifies key nutritionally modifiable risk factors for CVD, including:
- Fatty acid imbalances which can lead to chronic inflammation. Current research finds levels of specific fatty acids to be strongly correlated to CVD.
- High fibrinogen is associated with increased risk of clots and CVD.
- Homocysteine is an important risk factor for not only CVD, but stroke and dementia as well.
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is essential for proper mitochondrial function and energy use. It also acts as an antioxidant. Cardiac cells have high mitochondrial demand. Statins can decrease CoQ10 levels.
- Fasting insulin is an indicator of insulin resistance. Hyperinsulinaemia has been associated with a cluster of CVD risk factors.
- Insufficient antioxidant status is associated with increased oxidation. Oxidative damage is believed to play a role in heart and vascular disease by promoting inflammation.
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Functional & Integrative Medicine really helps
Functional medicine aims to investigate and modify the underlying causes of disease. It stresses preventing disease and optimizing health. A core value is improving the body’s physiological functioning. It recognizes that no two persons are the same and therefore treatment also differs.
We perform comprehensive tests to determine the cause of your disease, whether it is due to metabolic, nutritional, toxic, microbial, or oxidative challenges. Depending on the results, a holistic treatment plan is then designed and administered to you.
A patient-centric approach rather than a disease-centric approach will allow for true healing. And this is what functional and integrative medicine does. Rather than treating an individual risk factor such as blood cholesterol or blood pressure, the aim is to evaluate a patient’s inner biochemistry to address the underlying causes of those risk factors and develop a treatment plan to restore balance and health to the system.
Example Treatments Used in Metabolic Syndrome and Cardiovascular Disease
- Low-glycemic diets are used when patients have high insulin resistance. Remove grains, flours, sweets, chips, cookies, white rice, soda, and fruit juices. Try to eat more meats, veggies, nuts and seeds. Eat whole fruit only in moderation.
- Regular exercise is very important to help usher sugar efficiently into the cell.
- Anti-inflammatory herbs may be used to lower inflammation
- B-complex, especially B12, B6, and folate
- Fish oil
- Consider other testing (stool testing, for example) if there is a chronic elevation of inflammatory markers
- Remove allergenic foods