Ten words you won’t say on your deathbed are, “I shouldn’t have paid so much attention to my health.” Most people are too busy living their life to stop and imagine the regrets they might have when they are about to die. Sadly, for many, by the time they realize that they should have taken their health more seriously, it’s too late. There is no greater gift than your health, and taking responsibility needs to start immediately.
Ask any real estate agent to state the three most important things a property should have and you’ll likely hear, “Location, location, location.” When it comes to your health, the three most important things your body should have is, “Circulation, circulation, circulation.” Circulation (heart and blood vessels) is what brings vital oxygen and nutrients to your cells and carries away waste products.
About 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes occur each year in the United States, and one in every three deaths is due to cardiovascular disease. It claims more lives than all forms of cancer combined. If you think you’re too young to die of a heart attack or stroke, think again! The face of heart disease used to be your father. It’s no longer just an “old man’s” disease. Now it’s your adult children too. A generation ago, heart disease affected mostly men in their 50s and 60s. Now it’s affecting women and men in their 20s and 30s.
Good cardiovascular health is a foundation for and a determinant of overall health. Those with a healthy heart and blood vessels are not only at lower risk for heart attacks and stroke, they are at lower risk for the other leading causes of suffering and death, namely cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. That’s because the underlying pathologies that lead to cardiovascular disease are very similar to the ones that lead to cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. In other words, if you are unlikely to suffer a heart attack or stroke, you are also unlikely to develop cancer, diabetes, or Alzheimer’s.
The obsession the medical professional has with cholesterol likely means that your own doctor looks only or mostly at your cholesterol level when assessing your risk for cardiovascular disease. Millions of Americans with normal cholesterol levels are falsely given a clean bill of health by their doctors. Protecting yourself against cardiovascular disease requires far more than just simply lowering your cholesterol.
The truth is, dangerous (rupture-prone) atherosclerotic plaques can form regardless of your cholesterol level. And while statins can produce a dramatic reduction in cholesterol, they fail to reduce mortality. According to Dr. William Castelli, a former director of the famous Framingham Heart Study, people with normal cholesterol (less than 200) suffer nearly 40% of all heart attacks. In addition, people with low cholesterol (less than 180) have three times as many strokes as the general population.
While knowing your cholesterol level isn’t a bad thing, further testing is crucial because it can reveal a completely different picture regarding your TRUE risk of cardiovascular disease. Because your health is so important, below is a list of 30 risk factors and warning signs that your doctor needs to know about to protect your cardiovascular health. They are identified by obtaining a detailed medical history, ordering comprehensive lab work, and performing a thorough physical examination. Any one of these risk factors and warning signs may indicate that you already have atherosclerotic plaques forming inside your blood vessels. Having more than one of these greatly increases the likelihood:
- Autoimmune disease
- Chronic infections (chlamydia, cytomegalovirus, herpes virus)
- Chronic inflammation (elevated hs-CRP, homocysteine, fibrinogen)
- Decreased grip strength
- Deficiency of cardioprotective nutrients (CoQ10, magnesium, vitamins D & E)
- Dyslipidemia (elevated cholesterol, oxidized LDL, small dense LDL, triglycerides, Lp(a), ApoB; low HDL, ApoA-1)
- Earlobe creases
- Erectile dysfunction
- Heavy metal toxicity (arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury)
- High ferritin (iron)
- Hot flashes (especially in younger midlife: age 40-53)
- Insulin resistance (prediabetes)
- Loss of hair on feet and lower legs
- Low heart rate variability
- Low testosterone
- Low thyroid
- Male pattern baldness
- Memory loss
- Migraine headaches
- Nightshift work
- Overweight or obesity
- Oxidative stress (elevated 8-OHdG)
- Periodontal disease
- Physical inactivity
- Smoking or vaping
- Snoring or sleep apnea
COMMENTS: Elevated cholesterol is just one piece of the cardiovascular disease puzzle. Because of the high correlation between cardiovascular health and overall health, we take a thorough approach to uncover and eliminate all of your modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease. How thorough is your doctor? In addition, we provide effective and natural solutions to help reverse existing damage to your cardiovascular system. Does your doctor do that? Do not take your health for granted! If your doctor is not doing enough to keep you alive and well, we can help. Visit HealthyAndStrong.com for more information.