Do you have concerns about your cardiovascular health or have a family history of heart disease?  Is your cholesterol elevated, but you do not like the idea of taking medication for the rest of your life?  Are your labs normal now, but you are interested in preventing heart disease later in life?
Let our doctors help you.  We can discuss personal and family history risk factors with you, as well as helping to lower your risks and improve your cardiovascular health through lifestyle changes and natural supplements.  In addition, we can perform EKG exams and advanced blood testing to evaluate your cardiac risks and cholesterol and lipid levels.

Do you think you are a candidate for having a heart attack?

Information courtesy of Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratory
It is currently estimated that 57 million Americans – over one-fifth of the entire U.S. population – have some form of cardiovascular disease.  Ask yourself the following questions.  If you answer yes to one of them, you could have cardiovascular issue.Do you have a personal history of heart attack, coronary artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, or stroke?
1.Do you have a family history of heart disease?
2.Are you overweight?
3.Do you smoke, drink or use drugs?
4.Do you suffer from kidney disease?
5.Do you have diabetes?
6.Is your blood pressure high?
7.Do you feel chronic fatigue?
8.Do you often feel anxious or depressed?
9.Do you seldom exercise vigorously?
10.Are you experiencing stress?
11.Is your diet high in saturated or partially hydrogenated fats?
12.Do you use or have you used oral contraceptives?
13.Are you a post-menopausal woman?
14.Do you have a thyroid disorder?
15.Have you experienced chronic illness?
16.Have you been diagnosed with a hormonal imbalance (estradiol, cortisol, insulin, melatonin)? There’s more to cardiovascular health than meets the eye. You may look and feel great, and your cholesterol levels may even be low – but you could still be in danger of heart disease. A new test can help protect you.

Almost half of all heart attacks strike people who don’t know they’re at risk – people without well-known risk factors such as fatty diets, hypertension, smoking, or high cholesterol. That’s one reason cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in America today, claiming more lives than cancer, accidents, and AIDS combined. However, with our comprehensive cardiovascular assessment, you can find out if other hidden factors may be affecting your heart’s health and take steps to protect yourself.

What are important factors for heart health?

One important factor is the amount of lipids – fats – in the body. Simply speaking, heart disease develops when your blood lipids – i.e. your total cholesterol level – get too high. But researchers have recently found that the complete picture involves many other important factors.
Scientists have identified new warning markers, related to nutrition, blood clotting, and inflammation that can play a major role in determining whether an individual will suffer a heart attack. Using these latest advancements in cardiovascular research, we now have a unique comprehensive cardiovascular assessment that measures 10 important markers and their ratios:

Homocysteine LDL cholesterol
C-reactive protein HDL cholesterol
Fibrinogen Apo B
Lipoprotein(a) Apo A-1
Triglycerides Total cholesterol

What does these markers mean?

You may already be familiar with some of lipid markers such as LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, which are increased by a diet high in saturated fats or carbohydrates and often lead to heart disease.  HDL cholesterol, commonly called the “good cholesterol,” is bolstered by exercise and fish oils, and actually protects your heart.  Apo A-1 and Apo B are important protein components of these two cholesterols that influence their movement in the bloodstream and determine their impact on your cardiovascular system.
But besides these important standard markers, there are new independent factors that can double or even triple the likelihood of heart attack and stroke.
Researchers at Harvard recently discovered that C-reactive protein, a protein that indicates inflammation in the body, serves as a strong predictor of future heart attack and stroke.  Levels of this important protein are increased by past or current infections, such as Chlamydia pneumoniae.
Another new marker, homocysteine, is an amino acid that can scrape the lining of blood vessel walls, triggering fatty deposits and atherosclerosis.  One study found that men with high homocysteine had 3 times greater incidence of heart attack, even when adjustment for other factors was considered!
Lipids and proteins are transported through your bloodstream together in packages called lipoproteins.  Lipoprotein(a) has been cited by many researches as the most important marker for predicting the severity of future heart disease. Like homocysteine, it is strongly influenced by heredity.

And finally, fibrinogen is an important agent in the blood clotting process, with high levels linked to both heart disease and stroke.  Like the blood lipids, fibrinogen is affected by factors such as smoking, stress, obesity, and aging.

How will I understand the overall test results?

Having a combination of cardiac factors greatly increases your overall chance of heart disease. That’s why your test results will also include a Cardiovascular Index, determined by a multivariate analysis of all of your individual markers, for a general indication of overall cardiac health.

What kinds of treatment can improve these markers?

The good news is that almost all these hidden factors that affect cardiovascular disease are modifiable. Cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglyceride levels can often be managed through an active treatment program that addresses diet, exercise, and stress reduction. C-reactive protein can be reduced using anti-inflammatory agents. And despite being strongly influenced by genetics, homocysteine and Lp(a) can be modified with nutritional therapy. In fact, research evidence confirms that comprehensive lifestyle changes may be able to reduce the effects of even severe heart disease after only one year, without the use of drugs.
Call our office today to schedule your comprehensive cardiovascular assessment and let us provide you with the crucial information you need to improve your heart health.

Have you been diagnosed with high cholesterol?

Information courtesy of Quest Diagnostics
Cholesterol measurement and management is key in identifying and treating your risk for heart disease. The routine cholesterol test provides your physician with limited information and misses people at risk for heart disease. Now available is a better, more efficient cholesterol test – the new VAP® Cholesterol Test.

You should have a VAP® test if your:

  • Triglycerides are greater than 150
  • HDL is lower than 40
  • LDL is greater than 130
  • Total cholesterol is greater than 200

Additionally, hereditary factors and existing conditions greatly affect your risk for heart disease. So, even if your routine cholesterol test results are within the normal range, you should have a VAP® test if you have:

  • A family history of heart disease or cardiac events
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Thyroid problems
  • Obstructive liver disease
  • Kidney failure
  • Abdominal obesity

Or if you are currently:

  • Taking cholesterol lowering medications
  • Using drugs that increase LDL Cholesterol or decrease HDL cholesterol

The new VAP® Cholesterol Test provides our doctors with more comprehensive, accurate cholesterol measurements to better assess and manage your risk for heart disease.