Ever since the early 1900s heart disease has been the number one cause of death in the United States. You would think with the advancements in medicine that we would have seen a decrease by now, but the statistics show otherwise. Consider these alarming findings as reported by the Center of Disease Control:
About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year – that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. (1)
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. More than half of the deaths due to heart disease in 2009 were in men. (1)
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the most common type of heart disease, killing over 370,000 people annually. (1)
Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 525,000 are a first heart attack and 210,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack. (2)
While often considered a disease in men, heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, killing 289,758 women in 2013 — that’s about 1 in every 4 female deaths. (1)
So are you at risk for heart disease? There are certain factors to consider, some are controllable, others are not.
What are the uncontrollable risk factors?
Being of an older age - your risk starts to go up at 40.
Having family history of heart disease
Race (African Americans, Native Americans, and Mexican Americans are at higher risk for heart disease)
While there's not much we can do about the above risks, there are other risks that we can control.
Obesity (more than 20% over your ideal body weight)
Uncontrolled high blood pressure
High C-reactive protein (a blood marker for inflammation)
Uncontrolled stress and anger levels
It's likely that you have some risk so the next step is to assess the health of your heart and arteries. Here are the two things that I recommend doing to assess for heart disease early.
Get a Carotid Intima Media Thickness (C-IMT) ultrasound. This is a non-invasive ultrasound of the carotid
artery in the neck. The ultrasound looks at the lining of the artery and measures its thickness. An increase in thickness is correlated with developing heart disease. In other words, changes occurring in this artery directly correlate with what's happening in the arteries of your heart. If a problem is detected, a plan can be implemented to reduce the artery's thickness which will also reduce the risk of heart disease. We offer them here at the office on a monthly basis.
Order an advanced cardiovascular panel of blood work. Typical blood work to assess for heart disease only looks at four markers - Total Cholesterol, HDL, Triglycerides, and LDL. While there is some benefit to these markers there is much more that can be explored. At Reddy Natural Medicine we look at many other blood markers to get the most complete picture of heart health as possible. Markers commonly ordered include C-reactive protein, Lp-PLA2, and ADMA.
With these two assessments in our hand we will clearly know the health of your heart and arteries, and can easily create a health plan that will benefit you and your heart. Remember, don't wait until you have symptoms of heart disease! Let's find out early and set you up for a lifetime with a healthy heart.
CDC, NCHS. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2013 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released 2015. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2013, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed Feb. 3, 2015.
Mozaffarian D, Benjamin EJ, Go AS, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2015 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2015;131:e29-322