Opinion

Wikenheiser: Measuring your heart disease risk

Are you worried about heart disease? We all should be concerned since heart disease is our number one risk of disability and death.

According to Statistics Canada, deaths due to heart and blood vessel diseases account for 36.2 per cent of all deaths in Canada.

By measuring your heart disease risk you will be able to take action and avoid this serious health risk.

Hard and inflexible blood vessels increase the risk of heart disease. Activities as simple as lifting a box, straining in the bathroom, or even a minor fall can break an inflexible blood vessel.

A broken blood vessel may cause a blood clot to form, blocking the delivery of oxygen.

In the brain this is known as a stroke and in the heart muscle it is a heart attack.

The flexibility of your blood vessels can be measured and is known as your arterial stiffness index (ASI).

You can lower a high ASI with the options of dietary changes, nutritional supplements, and chelation treatments.

Your heart muscle is in continual motion and it needs nutrients such as the minerals magnesium and iron, as well as the anti oxidants vitamin E and CoQ 10.

Adequate levels of these nutrients will help you to avoid premature heart failure. By measuring your heart nutrient levels you will be able to focus on taking the supplements you need.

Cholesterol is a building block for hormones and for parts of our bodies such as our brains. Many doctors focus on cholesterol as the only risk factor for heart disease, but this is incomplete.

High levels of the cholesterol known as low density lipids (LDL) in our blood can be a problem, but the condition of our LDL is far more important.

Free radicals are unbalanced chemical structures that literally burn our bodies, and can be measured as oxidative stress.

Free radicals are absorbed by LDL cholesterol, making it unusable as a building block and making it sticky. Sticky LDL will increase your risk of forming cholesterol plaques and blocking an artery. Chemicals in our blood associated with increased heart disease risk include apolipoprotein B, homocysteine, and cystatin C.

Dietary supplements, such as the B vitamins will help to lower these risk factors. The apolipoprotein A1 is associated with good heart health, and it will increase with exercise.  Inflammation is a healing response, but when out of control it may increase your risk of heart disease.

Inflammation occurs in blood vessels with poorly healed injuries, infections, and reactions to toxins. Fibrinogen is an inflammatory marker that, when elevated, increases your risk of forming blood clots. Metabolic enzymes, along with treatments to solve the cause of inflammation, will normalize fibrinogen levels.

Heart disease is the number one health risk we all face. Get started reducing your risks by getting measured. Taking action is always better than waiting for bad news.

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