For Beyond 50's "Medical Care" talks, listen to an interview with Dr. Mark Houston. He is the nation's leading expert on hypertension and the director of the Hypertension Institute at Saint Thomas Hospital
in Nashville. He'll talk about how most doctors are only concentrating
on the top few risk factors for heart disease when he recognizes about
395 other coronary risk factors contributing to it.
What's obsolete is the idea that "hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) comes from excess cholesterol and fat in the bloodstream that somehow attaches to the inner lining of an artery like a barnacle on the ship.
Houston warns of various pathways that are a fast track to getting
heart disease. They include the following seven of greatest concern for
all: Inflammation Pathway, Oxidative Stress Pathway, Vascular
Autoimmune Pathway, Dyslipidemia Pathway, Blood Pressure Pathway,
Obesity and Increased Body Fat Pathway.
Within the blood vessel, the endothelium is "the tissue in which coronary heart disease originates," he explained. It is only one cell thin. Once injured, it loses its ability to form an intelligent barrier between the blood and the arteries, allowing for blood to become thick, sluggish and clot. This is called Endothelial Dysfunction, which can cascade to other problems like triggering the inflammation process and other damaging effects.
To detect Endothelial Dysfunction, Dr. Houston recommends the following tests:
You'll learn about the core issue, which is inflammation, as the underlying cause of arterial disease that can be from small particle LDL cholesterol, homocysteine, C-reactive protein, Lp(a), fibrinogen, heavy metals and environmental toxins, abdominal fat, and excess blood viscosity, just to name a few.
"The key point to remember is that
inflammation is present at the beginning, middle, and end of the
coronary heart disease process...Chronic inflammation within the
cardiovascular system is hidden inside the body; you can't see any overt
signs of it." stressed Dr. Houston.
He suggests taking a blood exam for HS-CRP (high-sensitivity C-Reactive Protein) - the most predictive of all inflammation indicators, and of all the inflammatory risk factors and mediators. HS-CRP by itself promotes inflammation, oxidative stress and autoimmune dysfunction to harm the lining of the blood vessel.
Taking Preventative Measures
Find out about proper integrative prevention, from a healthy diet to taking scientifically-proven nutraceuticals and anti-immunologic approaches for addressing the underlying inflammation.