The Heart of the Matter
Talk about an important topic! Heart health is one subject that all Canadians need to consider this year. If not for the simple fact that cardiovascular disease kills more Canadians than any other illness. How about the fact that heart disease is one of the most predictable and preventable forms of disease. Conventional and alternative medicine alike share the belief that heart disease can be significantly reduced in the population with relatively simple changes in a persons daily routine. Although genetic factors and age can play their part in the process of heart disease, more often than not the major cause of cardiovascular illness is the result of poor lifestyle choices.
Assessment is a major key.
In most cases, heart disease presents with no physical symptoms until it’s too late. There are however many early detection signs that can be assessed at home or at your doctors office. One of the best self assessment techniques is your hip to waist ratio. Simply measure around your hip bones and divide this number by the measurement of your waist. If the hip to waist ratio is greater than 1.2 then you need to shed some unnecessary pounds. Another self assessment tip for heart health is to watch out for a diagonal crease in the lobes of your ears. That’s right, a diagonal ear lobe crease has been found in multiple studies to be a positive marker for heart disease. A couple more clues, would be any loss of hair around the ankles, which may indicate troubled circulation or ringing in the ears which is often a tell tale sign of elevated bad cholesterol.
What to ask your doctor.
It is well known that cholesterol is a good predictor of heart health, however high cholesterol is only a marker, and not the cause of heart disease. The most important part of a cholesterol test is the amount of “good cholesterol” (HDL) you have. Ideally the ratio of the good cholesterol to the total cholesterol should be higher than 25%. Another good conventional measurement is the total cholesterol over the good cholesterol, which should be ideally less than three. If you know that your cholesterol is high, you may want to check your genetic risk factors by evaluating Lipoprotein (a) in a blood test. Other blood tests that may help in the evaluation of heart health are homocysteine levels, C-reactive protein, fasting blood glucose and fasting insulin levels. For more tips on testing or to have a thurrough cardiovascular evaluation contact our clinic to set you with the cardio-ion profile from metametrix. This test does it all!
Lowering the risk.
Heart health is a function of lifestyle. Period, end of story. The avoidance of excessive alcohol, tobacco, and trans-fatty acid consumption is hard to argue against when it comes to heart disease. You may also consider the avoidance of dietary sources of chemicals, pesticides, additives and preservatives. Aside from those obvious risk factors, one of the keys in protecting your heart is getting your blood sugar under control. If you feel tired after eating, or even worse, your blood sugar is too high on a blood test it is essential to reduce or eliminate all unnecessary sources of refined carbohydrates and sugars. I know its not easy but it is likely the single most important thing you can do for your health. The other essential lifestyle modifications are lowering your levels of stress and engaging in moderate physical activity. Practising deep breathing absolutely works to lower high blood pressure and reduce stress. Go for a walk, cycle, hit the gym or go for a yoga class. Its really that easy.
Wrap it up.
When you are thinking about heart health, people should not wait for symptoms to occur. Heart health is a function of lifestyle, so get out there and have some fun. A glass of wine wont kill you, but excessive amounts just might. Everything in moderation, including moderation. With these few simple tips you can be your own best health advocate and help take control of your health.
For specific strategies and treatment of heart disease please contact us today!