Hello. This is Heart Health Tuesdays! Today, we’ll talk about advances in treating cholesterol to manage heart disease. Even though our bodies need cholesterol, too much of the ‘bad’ kind of cholesterol, called low-density lipoprotein (LDL), can cause serious health issues. These include plaque deposits that increase your risk of heart disease, heart attacks, or stroke.
Just as there have been many advancements in heart disease treatments, so too have there been advancements in how we treat high cholesterol as our knowledge of the condition improves. The more we learn about the relationship between high cholesterol and heart disease, the more effective modern heart disease treatment methods become.
Cholesterol and Heart Disease
As a significant contributor to heart disease, it’s important that cholesterol levels are kept under control. Otherwise, plaque continues to build up in the arteries, which raises your blood pressure and puts more strain on your heart. These plaque deposits can become blockages, making them especially dangerous.
That said, not all cholesterol is bad for you. Some can actually improve your health, despite our initial understanding of how it interacts with our bodies.
LDL and HDL
Previously, it was believed that all cholesterol was bad, and this is still a popular belief outside of the medical community. However, we now know that there are both good and bad types of cholesterol and that the good kind can be used to reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in our bodies.
LDL is considered bad cholesterol because it directly contributes to the arterial buildup of plaque. It comes from saturated and trans fats, which usually come from animal products and heavily processed foods, respectively.
High-density lipoproteins (HDLs) are considered good cholesterol. They’re responsible for bringing LDL to your liver, where it can then be broken down and discarded. Eating foods high in HDL like olive oil and certain fish can help you counteract the negative effects of a diet high in LDL.
Of course, even our knowledge of the distinction between LDL and HDL is continually evolving, allowing us to develop more effective treatment methods.
Advancements in Cholesterol and Heart Disease Treatment Methods
Modern methods for treating high cholesterol primarily involve the use of medications and changes to your diet and exercise habits.
Some medications are designed to reduce cholesterol production in your liver. These are known as ‘statins,’ and they include medications such as Simvastatin, Rosuvastatin, and the most common, Atorvastatin. While statins can reduce the overall level of cholesterol coming from your liver, they do not have any effect on dietary cholesterol, so they must be combined with healthy eating habits.
There are also many statin alternatives. These include fibrates, niacin or vitamin B3, and omega-3 supplements, which all lower triglycerides.
Reverse Cholesterol Transport
Not all methods used for treating high cholesterol and heart disease have to involve medications. You can significantly improve your heart health by using reverse cholesterol transport, which occurs when HDL transports cholesterol out of the arteries and back to the liver. This helps decrease the accumulation of LDLs in the arteries, meaning less opportunity for plaque formation.
While excessive amounts of LDL are known to clog arteries, just eliminating bad cholesterol from your diet isn’t enough. You also need to increase your HDL levels to combat the bad effects of overall high cholesterol efficiently. Studies show that people with higher than average HDL levels have the lowest risk of developing heart disease, especially if they’ve been including HDLs in their diet from a young age.
To take advantage of reverse cholesterol transport, you can use good nutrition in conjunction with the previously mentioned medications. Changing your diet is especially important, as it can prevent the development of heart disease altogether if you are committed to eating healthier. You can get HDLs from various foods, including beans, olive oil, fatty fish, fruit with high fiber content, nuts, and whole grains.
Food For Thought
Moderating your cholesterol is a key part of keeping your heart healthy and reducing your risk of developing heart disease. The sooner you can improve your cholesterol, either through medications or lifestyle changes, the less risk you have of damaging your arteries and harming your heart, and the better your overall health will be.
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I’m excited to talk about this topic today because not only do I truly believe that you have the power to reverse heart disease and lower high blood pressure to improve your health, but the science also agrees! You can adopt healthy lifestyle practices that improve your health and enrich your life, which can in turn improve the lives of those close to you. You have the power to break the cycle of these chronic diseases so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
As you may already know, I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you improve blood pressure and reverse heart disease. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.
Is Dietary Supplementation Right For You?
There is a common saying, “You can’t outrun a bad diet.” This is especially true when it comes to heart health. Diet is sooooo very important… Did you know that your diet could be the key to a healthy heart? It’s true – what you eat (and don’t eat) can have a big impact on your cardiovascular health. So, if you’re looking to keep your heart in tip-top shape, make sure you pay attention to what you put on your plate.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to eat a healthy diet in this day and age. It is very important to note that we are not eating the same foods we ate years ago because the soils have been depleted of critical nutrients through current industrial farming practices. And because the soil is not as good as it used to be, the food supply (grown from the depleted soil) is not as good as it used to be. For example, you are not getting the same levels of magnesium as you would have gotten 30 or even 50 years ago.
Second, much of the food has been genetically altered, which can impact the inherent and unique nutritional composition that each food possess. For example, ancient einkorn wheat has less gluten, more protein, more Vitamin A, and more beta carotene, than modern genetically modified wheat.
Third, the toxic load in the environment today is much higher than 100 years ago. We can see this with global warming, toxic landfills, polluted oceans and waterways, etc. Toxicity levels interfere with nutrient assimilation and absorption not just into the foods, but into our bodies as well.
For some people, vitamin and mineral supplements offer important health benefits. Supplements are designed to fight deficiencies found in our diet and complement the food we eat regularly. Supplements are basically “helping hands” to our daily food.
If you need extra help in getting the nutrients you need, and/or are unable to eat better, the supplements in my Healthy Heart Bundle may provide the extra boost you need.
These are my favorite Heart Health Supplements to use! This Healthy Heart Bundle will ensure you have the intake of the important vitamins, minerals, and probiotics to decrease inflammation and boost your innate wellness day and night. Taken together, it’s a solid plan for increasing your body’s natural resiliency while you lose weight and improve your heart health, naturally.
For best results make sure you use my heart health supplements with dietary changes including a whole food plant-based diet, regular exercise (at least 2-3x per week), regular sleep (8 hours per night), and intermittent fasting (at least 1-3x per week).
Tools to Improve Heart Health
Blood Pressure Monitoring
Since weight management is very important in blood pressure control, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor.
Taking Charge Of Your Heart Health
Heart health is a big topic. It’s in the news, on our minds, and for good reason; heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S. But what if there was something you could do proactively to help protect your heart from future problems? Enter the CardiaX test—a revolutionary new way to take charge of your heart health!
What is CardiaX?
CardiaX is a comprehensive genetic testing panel that looks at mutations associated with common cardiovascular risks. It can be used to determine if there are any genetic factors at play in your heart health, and it can also identify potential areas of risk that may require further action. With this knowledge, you can make informed choices about your health today with the aim of improving long-term heart health outcomes.
Who Might Benefit from CardiaX?
If you have been diagnosed with or are at risk for atherosclerosis, abnormal cholesterol production, hypertension, stroke risk, and risk for heart attack then you may benefit from this test. Additionally, anyone who wants to know more about their genetic predispositions for common cardiovascular risks may also want to consider taking this test as well.
What Can I Do With My Results?
Your results will give you an indication of whether or not there are any potential genetic markers playing a role in your risk for developing certain conditions related to heart health. From there, you can work with your healthcare provider to develop a plan that takes into account these findings and helps you develop strategies for managing them going forward. In addition to lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise modification, selecting medications that are tailored specifically to your genetics could be beneficial as well.
In A Nutshell…
The CardiaX test is an exciting new way to take charge of your heart health by learning more about how genetics might be playing a role in certain cardiovascular risks. With this knowledge in hand, patients can make decisions informed by their own unique genetic profile that will help reduce their overall risk for developing certain conditions associated with heart disease. This type of proactive approach is key when it comes to protecting ourselves against this all-too-common affliction—so don’t wait another minute! Take control of your future and get started with the CardiaX test today!
Remember, healthy lifestyle behaviors–like eating a whole-foods plant-based diet that is low in sodium, being physically active, and stress management are the best ways to prevent and control high blood pressure. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use.
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Last updated on January 28th, 2022 at 05:18 am
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