February is Heart Month

woman jogging at sunrise

Dear Readers,
Tomorrow, February 1, marks the start of yet another Heart Month. For some reason, heart disease and stroke don’t seem to invoke the same attention and concern as other far less common and threatening disorders. Perhaps it is its dramatically high prevalence that is the culprit, desensitizing us to the gargantuan toll cardiovascular disease (CVD) takes on Americans of all ages. Whatever the reason, we must wake up and attack the underlying causes of CVD head on. Now possessing effective preventive and therapeutic strategies to drop CVD from its long held spot as the top-killer in our Western World, we must band together in an effort to educate health care practitioners and laypeople alike and concomitantly implement such stratagems. For my part, I have decided to focus attention on Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH) a common and typically unrecognized genetic cholesterol disorder that kills young men, women, and even children in the prime of their life.

Here are some sobering statistics about FH: one in about 300 Americans has it; yet less than 1% have been diagnosed. 20% of all heart attacks in people under the age of 45 are a consequence of FH. 5% of all heart attacks in people under the age of 60 are from FH. FH increases the risk of CVD 20 fold. Most important of all, when FH is diagnosed and treated early in life, patients can live normal life spans. That is correct – they can live out their lives freely without fear of dying young and without the even more terrible fear that their children will die young. The problem of course lies in the fact that most healthcare practitioners and laypeople remain unaware of the disorder. Being unaware renders us impotent, incapable of rendering appropriate preventive therapies. It is only through the elevation of awareness that we will lower the threat of FH. My plea to you therefore is to help spread the word. You can easily let people know about FH through the FH Foundation, http://thefhfoundation.org  A grassroots effort is required here. Please participate. When I say the life you may be saving could be your own or that of someone you love, I am not being melodramatic. During many of my talks on FH, members of the audience (even healthcare practitioners) have discovered that they carry the genetic disease. Spread the word and see for yourself. Thank you in advance for your support.

Learn more about preventive cardiology at www.preventivecardiologyinc.com.

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Beware the Pervasive Reach of Bias – Fish Oil Study Questioned

“Striking a Nerve: Bad Odor to This Fish Oil Study” was the catchy and misleading title for a MedPage headline last week. The “fishy study” to which the cynic refers was published in The American Academy of Neurology. Not exactly a shabby journal. The authors – William Harris, PhD and James Pottala, PhD – erudite and prolific contributors to omega-3 fatty acid research examined the brains of aging women from the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study and noted a statistically significant association between hippocampal size and omega-3 RBC (Red Blood Cell) levels. In other words, women with low levels of the omega-3s DHA and EPA had more hippocampal atrophy than those with high levels. The importance here is that dementia is frighteningly prevalent (affecting 20% of women) and the hippocampus is likely playing a causal role in its development. Therefore, if we can identify factors – whatever they may be – that prevent hippocampal atrophy, we must pay close attention and examine them further. This is precisely what the authors stated; their findings were encouraging and hypothesis generating. In fact, their final statement, “This study thus adds to the growing literature suggesting that higher omega-3 FA tissue levels, which can be achieved by dietary changes, may hold promise for delaying cognitive aging and/or dementia” does not declare certainty, simply solid hope.

Why then would this study be unfairly condemned? This is a somewhat rhetorical question as I don’t have a clear answer. What I can say with certainty though is that no one should read or listen to an opinion and accept it as fact without first going to the primary source. Everyone would agree this to be true in politics. We must now sadly acknowledge its validity in the world of science as well.

Find more info on the world’s most potent omega-3 fish oil supplement at vitalremedymd.com

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Look Beyond The Affordable Care Act… It’s Time to Become Proactive About Your Personal Health!

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Many of us have misgivings about the Affordable Care Act. Although voicing one’s opinion is always a good thing, in this case it should not be a distraction from that which is most important, your own personal health. So, while the politicians continue to battle this out, be sure not to neglect yourself. Instead of ruminating over who’s paying for what, be proactive and do what you can to maximize your health. Here are a few strategies to employ.

First, as hackneyed as this may sound, it is essential to eat a healthful diet and maintain (or achieve and then maintain) an optimal weight. You may believe this to be inconsequential, but having looked at patients’ blood biomarkers for many years I can unequivocally state that losing weight when necessary dramatically improves one’s signs of metabolic disease. In fact, the changes I have seen are nothing short of remarkable. Inflammatory tests, tests demonstrating oxidation of fats, and blood sugar analyses ALL improve with proper eating and appropriate weight.

Then there’s the other commonplace admonition – exercise frequently, optimally on a daily basis. As with diet and weight management, exercise is an essential element in maintaining health and combating disease. Exercise can also take one’s abnormal blood tests and convert them to normal. The good news is that exercise does not demand visits to the gym. Gardening, walking, biking, hiking, and swimming all represent excellent forms of exercise.

Perhaps most important of all is the engagement of patients and their doctors. Patients and doctors need to work in concert in order to achieve the goals we all desire. By examining novel blood tests, appropriately utilizing the best of modern medical technology, and prescribing suitable medications when necessary, your doctor can help you achieve your optimal health. After teaching you the basics of physiology your physician can show you how your body responds to healthful adjustments. You can literally see yourself get healthier over time. From personal experience treating thousands of patients I can assure you that watching your own numbers improve will be incomparably motivating. So speak to your doctor; ask for his or her help; learn as much as you can about your own body; and get healthy in 2014!

Learn more about preventive cardiology at www.preventivecardiologyinc.com.

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