QUESTION: What should I be aware of when it comes to blood work and other tests to assess my risks for heart disease?
ANSWER: As you work to create the greatest health and wellness possible, it is vitally important to know your health numbers before you begin. In this way your efforts can be measured against how you feel and how your body is shifting both biochemically and structurally.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in this country, and is caused by many things including obesity, inactivity, poor diet, smoking, stress, and genetic inefficiencies. Risk factors go well beyond cholesterol. In order for cholesterol to effectively enter arteries, those arteries need to be irritated or inflamed. Then once cholesterol has entered a damaged artery and formed a plaque, that plaque must be further damaged for platelets to adhere and for a clot to form in the artery. An exception to this occurs when stress causes an artery to squeeze down and shut off. If a clot forms and a heart attack occurs, the heart’s resiliency determines the likelihood of going into a fatal heart rhythm abnormality.
Our view of heart health at the Center for Integrative Medicine is comprehensive and vast, incorporating evaluation of toxic metal effects, nutrition, inflammation, hormone balance, stress, neurotransmitter balance, and lifestyle. This broad view allows us to help you find a path of exceptional health. Before you begin:
VAP (Vertical Auto Profile) Cholesterol Panel – Find out not only the amounts of the different types of cholesterol but also their sizes.
Cardio C Reactive Protein – Find out the level of inflammation in the arteries around the heart.
Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate – Find out the level of overall inflammation in the body.
Homocysteine – Find out if this measure of nutritional or genetic inadequacy contributes to inflammation.
Insulin – Find out if diabetes or insulin resistance is contributing to the inflammation.
MTHFR enzyme – Find out if this enzyme is not working efficiently.
Fibrinogen – Find out how sticky your platelets tend to be.
Complete Blood Count – Find out if you have too many platelets or too many red blood cells.
Biofeedback – find out your stress tone and its affect on your heart’s resiliency.
Blood Pressure – Find out if your system is under stress.
Each value that is out of range triggers creation of a personalized protocol to address that issue. Often people need to balance several factors. Knowledge is power. If you are ready to work toward greater health, know your number and focus your efforts.