(NaturalNews) When it comes to predicting the chances of developing heart disease and other cardiovascular issues the crown jewel of late has been assessing cholesterol. Measuring cholesterol levels has been the "go to" approach for over 30 years now but is it all that it has been purported to be? That is to say is cholesterol what we should be assessing when it comes to determining heart disease risk and how to mitigate it? More and more the answer to that question is becoming a resounding no and a more holistic realization is coming to the forefront of predicting and mitigating cardiovascular issues.
The HDL/triglyceride ratio
One great way to judge your heart health is to pay close attention to the ratio between HDL cholesterol and triglycerides. The higher the ratio the greater the risk for adverse cardiovascular events such as heart attack. Triglyceride levels alone is a key indicator of heart health but when combined with HDL cholesterol levels the picture becomes more accurate. A ratio of 2 or 3 (mg/dL of triglyceride to HDL) is happiness. A ratio of 5 or higher could be problematic.
Often overlooked but vitally important is a person's level of coronary calcification occurring in the body. It is one of the greatest risk factors and predictors of heart disease. In a 1991 paper published in the International Journal of Cardiology Dr. Stephen Seely, M.D. observed that cholesterol makes up only 3 percent of arterial plaque while calcium makes up 50 percent. Excess calcium in the blood stream, due to multiple reasons such as not enough magnesium to convert it to usable forms or consuming products that causes calcium to leach from bones and other tissues, contributes to adverse coronary issues that could lead to heart attack and stroke.
C reactive protein and homocysteine
How do you predict in a highly efficient way the chances of recurring negative cardiovascular events? Check your homocysteine levels. Increased levels of homocysteine damages the lining of arterial walls and exacerbates oxidative stress and damage throughout the body. Recurring adverse cardiovascular events occurred in patients 2.5 times more often when high levels of homocysteine were detected.
C-reactive protein (CRP) is a biological marker that denotes levels of inflammation in the body. It has also been found to be a very accurate indicator of future adverse cardiovascular events. In addition, other characteristics of high C-reactive protein levels also include increased rates of infection, excess weight and "sticky blood" (also known as hypercoagulation). Testing for this specific protein is easy. Just be sure that the high-sensitivity test (hs-CRP) is utilized. A level of 0.8 mg/dL is considered optimum.
The final analysis
With cholesterol lowering medications being the $31 billion a year pharmaceutical juggernaut that it is there is no wonder the medical establishment and pharmaceutical companies are fixated on using cholesterol as a predictor of heart health. The truth is that cholesterol in and of itself is actually a poor indicator of heart health. Inflammation, sugar intake, triglyceride-to-HDL cholesterol ratios and coronary calcification are much better and a much more cost effective way of assessing health. Any risk associated with increased or disproportionate levels of the aforementioned indicators can be handled nicely by proper nutrition and supplementation in conjunction with stress reduction.
Sources for the article include:
The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won't Prevent Heart Disease. Bowden, John Ph. D. and Sinatra, Stephen M.D. Quayside Publishers 2012.
Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide Edition 2. Larry Trivieri, John W. Anderson p. 755-756
About the author: Derrell is a Holistic Health Practitioner and Nutritional Consultant. His mission is to assist as many people as possible during a time when great health is stolen instead of fostered. Follow Derrell at thoughtfulhealth.blogspot.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in toxin free nutritional and personal care products please visit thoughtfulhealth.mysiselpro.com.