Heart Health

Heart Health

heart health

Most of us spend our days sitting in an office. There’s always little time and we’re rushing to meet deadlines and maybe get a promotion. So, we rarely get any exercise and have gotten used to unhealthy habits like consuming fast food just because it’s easy. These unhealthy habits can add up and make us more vulnerable to heart conditions like atherosclerosis.

What causes atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases?

Arteries carry oxygen to every part of your body. Over time, substances like cholesterol, fat, calcium, and so on can get deposited on the walls of arteries. These substances are called plaque. One main reason that causes plaque formation is an effect known as ‘endothelial dysfunction’. Endothelial dysfunction causes damages to artery walls. Plaque forms on damaged artery walls.

When the plaque build-up hardens, arteries become narrower. As a result, carrying enough blood around gradually becomes a challenge for the arteries. This condition is called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis can be a result of many factors. Identifying these factors is essential to get treatment.

So, if you are at risk of developing heart disease, you should do regular tests to understand your body. The tests are simple blood tests that measure different factors in the body that may cause atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases. If the results are not desirable, we can develop a personalized management plan to reduce the level of risk.

These are 9 factors that may have an impact on your heart health.

9 Factors that increase the risk of atherosclerosis

  1. High levels of LDL Cholesterol
  2. LDL stands for Low-Density Lipoprotein. These are most commonly known as bad cholesterol. If there is an endothelial dysfunction in your artery walls, LDL will deposit in the arteries and plaque will start to form.

  3. Low levels of HDL Cholesterol
  4. HDL or High-Density Cholesterol is the good type of cholesterol. The body uses HDL as a mechanism to transport bad type cholesterol from artery walls to the Liver. Then, the liver gets rid of the LDL. When the HDL level is low, the transport of LDL to the liver becomes inefficient, leaving more LDL on the artery walls. Therefore, to manage atherosclerosis, you need a good amount of HDL in your body.

  5. High levels of Triglycerides
  6. Triglycerides are a type of fat in your body. When triglyceride levels increase, it interacts with LDL to make another bad cholesterol called Very Low-Density Lipoprotein or VLDL. VLDL can cause severe atherosclerosis.

  7. Oxidized LDL
  8. During metabolism, when oxygen splits to release energy, it results in some free radicals. Atoms like to be in pairs. So, these free radicals are always on the lookout for someone to pair with. When they pair with LDL, they form unstable oxidized LDL particles. Oxidized LDL causes severe damage to arteries and increases the risk of atherosclerosis.

    You can test the level of oxidized LDL in your body through a blood test. If you have a high oxidized LDL level, there are many naturopathic treatment options for you. These treatments will provide significant protection against atherosclerosis.

  9. High blood pressure
  10. If you have high blood pressure, you are highly likely to develop atherosclerosis. So, you have to be extra careful about your heart health. Constant high blood pressure against artery walls can wear down arteries with time. LDL is most likely to deposit on these damaged artery walls. Then as the plaque builds and arteries narrow down, blood pressure starts to increase more. And the vicious cycle will continue to affect your health.

  11. Overweight or abdominal obesity
  12. Obesity has a direct effect on atherosclerosis. To prevent the risk, you need to shed a few pounds. Exercising and controlling your diet to include less LDL and moderate HDL are good ways to lose weight. Schedule your appointment today discuss naturopathic approach to lose weight and prevent gaining weight back.

  13. High levels of C reactive protein
  14. High levels of C reactive protein usually indicate that you have an inflammation like tuberculosis or pneumonia in your body. Many research studies prove that people with a high level of CRP(C Reactive Protein) are also more likely to get heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral arterial disease. (Peripheral arterial disease happens when narrowed arteries don't carry enough blood to arms and legs.)

  15. Diabetes Mellitus
  16. Diabetes Mellitus or better known as Diabetes is a condition in which the sugar level of your body becomes high. When the sugar level is high, atherosclerosis in blood vessels is accelerated.

  17. High level of homocysteine
  18. If you are not taking enough folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 in your diet, you are likely to have a high level of homocysteine. Thyroid and kidney diseases can also affect your homocysteine levels. A high level of homocysteine can damage artery walls and cause atherosclerosis. Homocysteine levels can usually be brought back to normal by adjusting your diet.

Apart from the above 9 factors, these factors too can increase the risk of atherosclerosis and related heart diseases.

  • A family history of heart conditions
  • Smoking
  • Low vitamin D intake
  • Insufficient Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) – helps increase the rate of energy production in cells
  • Low testosterone and high estrogen levels in men
  • High fibrinogen levels – Fibrinogen handles blood clotting. A high level of fibrinogen means that your body is likely to form blood clots and block arteries.
  • Low nitric oxide production –Nitric oxide is produced when you exercise. So, if you don’t get much exercise or eat food low nutrients that make nitric oxide, your nitric oxide production may fall low.

For a healthier and longer life, identifying if you have a risk of heart diseases and rooting out risk factors is essential. So, getting tested is always a proactive decision to protect you and family members from heart diseases. To take control of your health, book a consultation today.

Diabetes Mellitus

heart health

The human body needs sugar to produce energy. But too much or too little sugar can raise serious health issues. Diabetes mellitus, or as commonly known, diabetes is a condition that happens when there are high sugar levels in your body. So, what causes high sugar in blood?

To produce energy, sugar in your blood needs access to cells. Insulin is the hormone responsible for allowing sugar to enter into cells for energy production. So, most of the time diabetes is a result of a defect in insulin secretion or action.

There are two types of diabetes as Type 1 DM and Type 2 DM.

Type 1 DM

Sometimes, the immune system may see insulin as a foreign substance and go into auto-destruction mode. When this happens, the insulin produced in the body is destroyed. So, there is no insulin left to give sugar access to cells. Without permission for access, sugar can’t go into cells. So, the sugar levels in the blood increase, causing Type 1 Diabetes. This condition can happen at any age. But it is most common among children and adolescents.

Type 2 DM

Type 2 DM is the most common type of diabetes in society today. This condition happens when insulin receptors in cells stop responding to insulin. Because of this, sugar can’t go into cells and gets accumulated in the blood resulting in high blood sugar.

To make it easier for you, think of an insulin receptor as a doorman to muscle and fat cells in your body. Normally, when insulin knocks on the door, the receptor identifies insulin and opens the door. Then sugar can go in and produce energy. If you have Type 2 DM, the insulin receptors don’t identify insulin. So, the doors remain closed and sugar can’t go inside. Without sugar, the muscle and fat cells can’t produce energy. And the unused sugar level in the blood continues to increase.

This condition is common for adults over 30 years old. Type 2 DM can occur due to several reasons such as,

  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • High intake of refined carbohydrates
  • High alcohol consumption
  • A family history of diabetes

What happens to the unused sugar in the blood?

When the blood sugar level is high, the excess sugar gets excreted from the body with urine. So, increased urination and increased thirst are signs of type 2 diabetes. Excess glucose may also be converted to fat and get deposited in blood vessels and the abdominal area around the waist.

Symptoms of Diabetes

  • Feeling hungry and thirsty
  • Increased urination
  • Fatigue/ Weakness
  • Frequent infections including urinary tract infection and candida infection (When there are high sugar levels in urine, bugs can grow easily)

When there’s excess glucose in the blood, it can be damaging to multiple organ systems in the body. You might have elevated blood sugar for years before diagnosis. So, at the diagnosis, you may also show multiple symptoms related to organ damage. Some symptoms that may occur are,

Nerve damage Numbness, Tingling, Burning sensation in fingers and feet
Heart and blood vessels High blood pressure, Chest pain, Heart attack, Stroke, Poor blood flow to all organs, Erectile dysfunction in males
Kidney damage Protein in urine, Kidney failure (Diabetes is the most common cause for kidney failure)
Eye damage Cataract, Glaucoma, Blindness
Immune system Chronic infections such as urinary tract infections, chronic candida infections, or chronic wound infections

Final thoughts

Were you diagnosed with diabetes recently? Are medications inefficient to control your blood sugar levels? Or, are your blood sugar levels borderline? Then, naturopathic treatments alone could help with controlling your sugar levels. Schedule a naturopathic consultation with me to discuss how a naturopathic approach could be used to control your blood sugar level. Don’t wait until your organ systems undergo irreversible damage. Take action and schedule a naturopathic consultation today.

High Blood Pressure

heart health

When you check your blood pressure, you are measuring the force of your blood against the inner walls of the arteries. Your blood pressure is determined using the resistance of blood flow and the amount of blood being pumped from your heart. High blood pressure is medically termed as ‘Hypertension’.

Your blood can have high pressure due to a variety of reasons such as plaque formation and aging. So, what is plaque? Plaque is basically a layer of fat, cholesterol, and such other substances that get deposited on the artery walls. When this layer builds up in your arteries, the arteries narrow down. So, the heart has to pump blood with more force.

Atherosclerosis is one major reason that causes plaque formation in arteries. There are many risk factors such as genetics and everyday habits that can contribute to atherosclerosis. Before you notice any symptoms, this disease starts to damage endothelial cells in the arteries. Endothelial cells make up artery walls. When they are damaged, plaque can easily build up.

Age is another reason for the narrowing of arteries. When you get older, the elasticity and flexibility of blood vessels gradually decrease. So, the heart has to use more force to carry enough blood to every organ through narrowed arteries.

Your kidneys can also cause high blood pressure. Kidneys have special sensors that keep track of the blood flow. So, they can sense when there is a low volume of blood. These sensors naturally assume that the body is losing blood. So, kidneys try to increase blood volume by excreting less water. When the kidneys are conserving water, the volume of blood increases. As a result, a high volume of blood has to be pumped through the narrowed arteries with more force. This increases your blood pressure.

Other than that, narrow arteries could also be a result of adrenal gland tumors, having an overactive thyroid gland, or kidney diseases. Certain medications may also narrow down your arteries as a side effect.

Naturopathic treatments are an effective way to support your heart and blood vessels. I use different treatments including dietary changes, supplements, herbal medicine, and IV therapy to support heart and blood vessels. You can start naturopathic treatments even while you are on prescribed medications. Schedule your appointment for a compressive cardiovascular assessment to find out if you are a candidate for naturopathic options.

Come in for a 20 minutes free consultation to explore how Naturopathic medicine can help your health concerns.