The Natural Way: Get your heart in check

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Although regular cholesterol tests have helped doctors to check for heart attack risk in many patients, we all know of people with normal levels who have had a heart attack. I know of people with very high levels that have lived long lives, untreated. Conventional cholesterol testing provides some help. Iíve read these tests identify only 40 percent of those at risk for heart attack and coronary artery disease.

There is a lab test called VAP, which stands for vertical auto profile, which more accurately measures risk of cholesterol and heart attack. In the conventional lab test the total bad cholesterol (LDL) is reported but there are different types of LDL. The size and nature is different between the types: Some types are large and fluffy (and not so bad) while others are small and dense and not too good for heart health. The VAP test measures all of these types plus the usual ones. You get a far better understanding of what is happening in your body. This test is easily obtained.

It works both ways, as patients who test OK in a regular cholesterol panel sometimes are found to be at risk for heart disease after taking the VAP test. This is important, not only to choose proper medications, but also for tracking improvement when people are working to be healthier, whether with drugs or natural supplements. Some people have resistance to natural statins like red yeast rice or even the prescribed ones, like Vytorin or Lipitor. The prescribed are much more powerful but also have many more long-term effects. There is some emerging data supporting a link to diabetes and use of prescribed statins. To me, more information is always better so improved choices can be made.

Suppose reducing cholesterol with statins isnít the best way? Research is underway, in people, that could change the way doctors use statin drugs and cholesterol lowering. Suppose raising to optimal (not normal) levels of hormones would reduce cholesterol (lipid) levels, naturally? In most test subjects cholesterol dropped without statin drugs just by optimizing certain hormones. Seems the body needs cholesterol to produce hormones and if hormones are low the body naturally produces more soup stock of cholesterol. The expense of the statin drugs as well as all of the long-term side effects would not exist for most people. Statin side effects are medically managed often with more drugs prescribed. While this new approach is complicated, Iím excited with what this could mean to the quality OF life for an aging nation.