EVERY 40 SECONDS…someone in the US dies from a stroke or heart attack.

EVERY 65 SECONDS…someone develops dementia.

The culprits of cardiovascular disease also known as Diabetes Type 2, Kidney failure, Diabetes Type 3 (Alzheimer’s), atherosclerosis, Peripheral Artery Disease and arteriosclerosis are due to lifestyle choices, lack of movement, stress, poor dietary choices and genetic variants on our genes. The worrisome news is that it now affects younger adults (under 55 yo) with a combination of CVD and metabolic disorders such as diabetes, obesity, insulin resistance (the root of 70 percent of heart attacks, nearly all cases of DM Type 2) or metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of 5 symptoms. They consist of waist girth greater than hip girth, high fasting blood sugar, high lipids, high blood pressure and high fasting insulin. Let’s add bleeding gums to that list since periodontal disease like gingivitis is a huge contributor to CVD. Don’t underestimate the importance of teeth cleaning at least twice a year as well as flossing and using a water pik daily.

The question is, if we are getting routinely tested for blood lipids at an arbitrary age of maybe 40, why is CVD still the NUMBER ONE KILLER of our population? What are we missing in terms of testing, education, strategies and follow up to prevent these statistics from getting worse?

It’s been standard of care for physicians to run lipid panels, your standard total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides and perhaps the Chol:HDLC ratio. Ok, that gives the tip of the iceberg. But what is missing is the breakdown of small and medium particles, HDL-large, Apolipoprotein B, Lp(a), LDL pattern, LDL peak size, HS-CRP, homocysteine, MPO and LP PIA2. WOW!

Why aren’t we seeing these run especially if there is a family history or CVD, stroke, diabetes, etc? Perhaps, insurance companies won’t pay for these tests unless there has already been an event or you have the diseases I mentioned earlier. How about the 55 yo male who has a history of CVD in his family but lives a good lifestyle, exercises, eats pretty healthy, has moderate stress, has family support and drops dead from sudden death?

Was anyone looking at his extensive blood work, running a CIMT (U/S that measures soft plaque in the carotid artery), a calcium score test or a CT of his heart? Obviously not.

Heart disease can be PREVENTED earlier than later. Yet, even if you do have elevated cholesterol and blood sugars and are carrying visceral (abdominal) weight, there are many steps you can take toward reversing the aging process and the road to heart disease.

Stay tuned for more about prevention and treatment!
Next blog will be on lab testing to screen for your risks of CVD.

Have a heart healthy day!
Dr. Maria

Boost your Cardiovascular Health and Mental Strength

by Dr. Maria Belluccio time to read: 2 min

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