People often receive medical findings that say they are healthy, the risk of experiencing a heart attack almost doesn’t exist and that they are safe because they take drugs to lower their cholesterol.
Unfortunately, these patients are often misinformed.
All heart attacks are potentially preventable. The key lies in properly identifying and treating the underlying causes of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
This includes creation of widely available, inexpensive tests that can reliably identify early signs of cardiovascular disease, before it turns into a silent killer.
Unfortunately, many people are not sure what causes heart disease. For example, contrary to popular understanding, most heart attacks are due to blocked arteries (bypasses and stents). Instead, what is crucial is the inflammation of the arterial walls.
This inflammation can destabilize the artery wall, causing it to rupture, leaking through the blood vessels and create a thrombus (blood clot). Therefore, the current standard care, which largely deals with blockages, must focus on the detection of the silent, asymptomatic inner lining and inflammation of the arteries.
Things that can signal the presence or great likelihood of heart disease, but which also often overlooked are:
1. Genetic Predisposition
More than 50% of the population has one or more gene variants, dramatically increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Moreover, family history can be an indicator of the risk of heart attack. So, talk to your specialist for genetic testing, especially for 9P21, APOE, KIF6 and IL-1 genotype tests. You can avoid heart disease, even if you have a genetic predisposition. Knowing your DNA means that you can customize your treatment plan.
2. Metabolic Syndrome
Although most people have never heard of it, metabolic syndrome is a dangerous cluster of abnormalities that greatly increases the risk of heart disease, stroke or diabetes. However, since a cluster of disorders of the syndrome often causes no obvious symptoms, it lingers undiagnosed, especially if you do regular health checkups.
The good news is that it is characterized by gaining weight, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides and high blood sugar on an empty stomach. If you have three or more of these five signs means you have metabolic syndrome.
3. Inner Layers / Deposits
The inner layer of the arteries is often called “Kryptonite”. It can even bring down Superman. One very effective test for finding Kryptonite in the arteries is “Carotid Intima-Media Thickness” (CIMT) test, which directly examines the arterial wall. Painless and noninvasive, it can be used to find out how ‘old’ are your arteries. Inside the body of a healthy 40 year old human, the arteries may be two or three decades old!
4. Insulin Resistance
This is one of the main causes of cardiovascular blockages and chronic inflammation, “ember” in the arteries that encourages cardiovascular events.
Make sure your doctor has tested oral glucose tolerance, the gold standard of testing blood sugar. It is important to know that you may have normal levels of sugar and still have insulin resistance.
5. Waist Size
This simple measuring, that is often overlooked, is a more accurate indicator of heart attack and stroke risk than measuring your weight or body mass index (BMI).
You can check your waist size by wrapping a tape measure around the top of your pelvic bones.
There are ethnic differences in the interpretation of results. Risk scale is 35 inches for women and above 39 inches for Caucasian, African Americans and Latino.
However, for Asians, risk size is 30 inches for women and 35 inches for men.
Early diagnosis is still a problem, especially when it comes to heart disease. It is advisable to go to a doctor armed with information about the tests you want and why you want them.
Awareness is the key to a healthy life. It’s never too late to optimize your care and take control of your heart health, whether there are visible symptoms or not.