Why Heart Disease Screening Is Flawed
Why Heart Disease Screening Is Flawed (And What You Can Do About It)
What would you say if I told you most tests to assess your risk of cardiovascular disease are wrong half the time? That 50% of men who suffer heart attacks have normal cholesterol levels? Wouldn’t you want to make sure you were getting the right test?
Many practitioners rely on outdated methods for determining your risk of developing heart disease. The standard test, the one that’s been in use for decades, only measures your cholesterol levels. Both the “good” (HDL) and the “bad” (LDL). It’s the test they’re familiar with, so they accept it with an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality.
But while traditional cholesterol testing may not exactly be broken, it only tells half the story. There’s a lot more going on when it comes to accurately assessing your risk of heart disease.
In cardiovascular disease, plaque builds up in the blood vessels leading to the heart. But what is plaque, and why does it clog your arteries in the first place?
You can think of plaque as the blood vessels’ equivalent to a scab on your skin. Just as the scab forms on injured skin to help prevent further injury, plaque builds up in blood vessels that are already injured or inflamed. Lipoproteins carrying cholesterol and other lipids penetrate the arterial lining, forming a protective barrier. The problem is it also limits blood flow.
And that’s why the standard cholesterol test gets it wrong. It sees plaque as the cause of heart disease and not as the body’s natural response to it.
The test that changes everything
A better way of assessing your risk is looking at the lipoproteins that contain the cholesterol. Bigger particles have a harder time penetrating the arterial lining and forming plaque. It’s the small ones you have to look out for. That’s why you need a test that literally takes everything into account.
That test is called Lipoprotein Particle Testing™ (LPP™) Plus. LPP Plus gives you the most complete snapshot of your cardiovascular risk. By breaking the data into lipoprotein subgroups, LLP Plus gives you a better understanding of your own personal risk of heart disease.
Among the lipoprotein subgroups that LLP Plus screens for are:
Testing with LLP Plus gives you a thorough assessment of your heart health. It lets you know your actual risk of cardiovascular disease. It also lets you know what specifically needs to change to reduce your risk going forward.
Lifestyle changes to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease
Once we’ve inspected your lipoprotein and homocysteine levels, we can better understand and address your specific heart disease risk factors.
Lifestyle choices play a significant role in the development of heart disease. A 2016 study showed that good lifestyle choices in people genetically predisposed to heart disease cut their risk in half. Conversely, people with good genetics who made bad lifestyle choices ended up doubling their risk.
A balanced diet and exercise both play an important part in the prevention of heart disease and hypertension. But we take a personalized approach that also includes herbal and nutrient supplementation as needed.
To maximize your odds of preventing cardiovascular disease, you can:
Dietary practices to avoid a heart attack
Making improvements to your diet will help reduce inflammation, lower your blood pressure, and rebalance your cholesterol. To make the most of a heart-healthy diet:
If you’re looking for specific foods that promote good heart health, try:
Botanicals for good heart health
There are several herbal remedies available to help battle heart disease. Some of the more effective ones are:
Supplements for your heart
There are also some great dietary supplements available. Five great ones are:
Don’t settle for second best for your heart
The best plan of attack is always the one with the best intelligence behind it. And the battle against heart disease could very well be the definitive struggle of your life. You wouldn’t want to go into it with bad information, would you?
Make sure your cardiovascular assessment gives you a full breakdown of all lipoprotein subgroups so you can make the best-informed decision possible. If all you have are cholesterol levels, you’re only getting half the story. And that just won’t cut it when your heart health is on the line.
An active, healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet will go a long way toward keeping you healthy. But knowing your real cardiovascular risk? That’s priceless information that could help you live healthier for longer.
Insist on the best cardiovascular disease screening possible
If you have any concerns about your cardiovascular health or your risk of heart disease, book an appointment for an LLP Plus test with Dr. Tara Andresen today.