Why Our Hearts are Failing Us

By on July 25, 2016

It should be no surprise heart disease is the number one killer of North Americans, but did you know it kills more people than all forms of cancer combined? Despite the billions spent on research, medical breakthroughs and the development of advanced testing methods our situation is not getting better. 

What’s even more surprising is that many general practitioners are simply not aware of some of the new test methods available and still rely on the basic cholesterol test when 75% of heart attack patients have normal cholesterol levels and new studies show that those with high LDL (non-oxidized) actually live longer than those with low LDL.  What the outdated cholesterol test does do is provide a basis for recommending statin drugs, which could in fact be harmful.

Dr. H. Okuyama, of Nagoya City University reports, “We have collected a wealth of information on cholesterol and statins from many published papers and find overwhelming evidence that these drugs accelerate hardening of the arteries and can cause, or worsen, heart failure. I cannot find any evidence to support people taking statins.”

Dr. Peter Langsjoen, a heart specialist in Texas warns, “Statins are being used so aggressively and in such large numbers of people that the adverse effects are now becoming obvious. These drugs should never have been approved for use. The long-term effects are devastating.” 

Dr. Langsjoen conducted research on 50 patients who discontinued taking statin drugs. Instead they supplemented with CoEnzyme Q10 and the research team saw no adverse consequences. 

Prevention is the best medicine for a nation whose people are dying prematurely in huge numbers and unfortunately many of us are not being recommended or covered for an echocardiogram, coronary calcium scan or carotid artery scan. Yet the results could be the wake-up call we need to make some important lifestyle changes before it’s too late. More shocking research proves we are now showing signs of plaque build up in our 20’s. 

Women are now highly cautioned because they are at the highest risk with 51% of cardiovascular related deaths and the research budget does not favour them as the majority of research is on men’s heart attacks. For many women the first sign of heart disease is a fatal event and many of their symptoms are not the same as men’s (light-headedness, nausea, upper back pressure, anxiety, unexplained fatigue).   
There are additional options, new advanced blood tests available from Canadian labs (LifeLabs) that along with general testing can help provide a clearer picture of your cardiovascular status. You may be able to get these lower cost tests through your general practitioner (don’t be surprised if they aren’t familiar with it) or through a naturopath physician or metabolic coach.

PLAC® Test (Lp-PLA2) – Lp-PLA2 is a biological marker for vascular inflammation, a condition associated with the buildup of plaque in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. The greater the Lp-PLA2 activity, the greater the risk for fatal and nonfatal CHD events. Myeloperoxidase (MPO) is a biomarker of oxidative stress that can identify the presence of oxidized LDL and vulnerable arterial plaques that increase a person's risk for heart attack. 

The majority of adults will likely not score well but there are alternatives to drugs and surgery for some. Reducing fast food, hydrogenated fat and sugar intake plays a big role in prevention when supported with a well balanced and proportioned whole food diet. Practicing moderate exercise, forgiveness, and living a low stress lifestyle are not to be underestimated.  Herbal and nutritional support hold the keys to winning the battle. It’s a matter of long-life or early death. 

Stephen Case is a natural health researcher and expert in culinary medicine. He is a classically trained French chef with advanced knowledge in the areas of herbology, nutrition, supplements and superfoods. Stephen has participated in the formulation of numerous natural health products sold internationally. 

References:
1) Ravnskov, Uffe, Malcom Kendrick, and Sherif Sultan, e. Lack of an Association or an Inverse Association between Low-density-lipoprotein Cholesterol and Mortality in the Elderly: A Systematic Review. BMJ Open, 21 Apr. 2016. Web. 15 June 2016.
2) Okuyama H, e. (2016). Statins stimulate atherosclerosis and heart failure: pharmacological mechanisms. – PubMed – NCBI. 
3) Langsjoen PH, e. (2016). Treatment of statin adverse effects with supplemental Coenzyme Q10 and statin drug discontinuation. – PubMed – NCBI.

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