Cardiovascular disease is number one killer disease across the world.
Statistics show that 40-50 million people suffer from Cardiovascular Health (CVD) in India, out of which urban population constitutes about 30% and rural about 15%. 1/5th of the deaths in happening in India are from Cardiovascular (CV) diseases.
There are lots of Myths when it comes to CVD, such as:
– The primary cause of heart disease is Cholesterol
– High cholesterol diet or eating eggs might increase the risk of heart disease
– LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) is bad cholesterol
– HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) is good cholesterol
– Fasting blood sugar of 100mg /dl is safe or normal
– Normal body weight reduces the chances of heart diseases
None of the above factors are solely responsible for heart disease. Cardio vascular diseases are usually mediated through different pathways either singularly or in conjunction with one another.
The Different factors and conditions responsible for CV health are:
>Obesity/increased body fat
What is Inflammation?
The common and popular perception about heart disease is that it is the hardening of arteries (atherosclerosis). We used to believe that the more saturated fat or cholesterol rich diet we eat, the more it is going to get deposited as fat in the lumen of arteries, thereby hardening or narrowing the arteries. Further we also used to think that narrowing of arteries can lead to high blood pressure and this blockage then leads to heart attack.
But what most of us is not aware about is that inflammation can do more harm than high cholesterol counts. Inflammation is a natural process that occurs in the body, which provides protection against any infection or damage. When there is an infection by bacteria or pathogen or injury, body’s immune system tries to inhibit that infection or injury further by producing redness, swelling and increasing the number of lymphocytes and plasma at the site of infection. Inflammation is vital against acute infections, injuries and is important for survival. But problems arise when this process becomes chronic, and sometimes the immune system starts becoming active against infections or injuries by damaging or killing its own cells. From here degeneration starts and this results in degenerative diseases like arthritis, diabetes and heart diseases.
What is Oxidative Stress and how is it connected to Heart disease?
Oxygen is needed by every cell of our body to produce energy. It is a controlled process but unfortunately it also generates dangerous byproducts. These include free radicals – electronically unstable atoms or molecules capable of stripping electrons from other molecules in an effort to achieve stability. In this process they create even more unstable molecules. Our body has a defense system called Antioxidants to neutralize these molecules. The body manufactures primary antioxidants indigenously such as Glutathione Peroxidase (GP) and Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), while few like vitamins (C & E), carotenoids (beta carotene & lycopene), flavonoids (fruits) and polyphenols (green tea & herbs are obtained from diet.
When there is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the supply of antioxidants needed to neutralize them effectively, then a phenomenon known as Oxidative stress arises. This Oxidative stress (excess free radical production) can damage the LDL particles by oxidizing them. Oxidized LDL can be one of the accurate predictor of heart diseases as it might do microscopic damage to the arterial wall. This can further lead to the building up of plaque and other toxic substances.
Endothelium (or tunica intima) is the smooth inner lining of a blood vessel or artery. It is just one cell deep and serves various functions, such as
Act as a barrier by allowing specific substances to pass from blood to the artery
Control inflammation and oxidative stress
Maintain viscosity of blood for easy flow
Regulate blood clotting factors
Regulate blood pressure and maintain arterial integrity and elasticity
Regulate immune system by controlling the production of certain protein,interleukin and kappa B factors
Any damage to the endothelium will prevent its ability to serve important functions mentioned above, and this condition is known as Endothelium dysfunction. It leads to several issues like thickening of arteries and endothelium, inflammation, increased oxidative stress, autoimmune dysfunction of vascular system and increased protein, fat and inflammatory cells deposition into arterial wall.
Causes of endothelium dysfunction or damage may be:
. High Sugar
. Heavy metals or toxins
. Cigarette smoke
. High blood pressure
. High homo-cysteine levels
. Chronic infections like autoimmune disease
. Oxidised LDL Cholesterol
. High Saturated fat intake
. High intake of trans fatty acids
From above you can infer that there are a plethora of factors, which lead to heart disease and merely an increase in the blood cholesterol count need not be the actual causative. Measuring cholesterol is one factor but having them in the normal range doesn’t mean that you are safe.
Few other parameters which can predict the chances of heart disease in advance, like:
LDL particle size and number
Sodium to potassium ratio
CoQ enzyme levels
Iron and ferritin levels
B12 and folic acid
Fasting glucose and insulin
Apolipoproteins A1 and B
What is RH+’s approach towards CVD?
As it is evident dietary habits, lifestyle factors and nutritional status play a major role in the regulation of inflammatory processes and in the check of oxidative stresses of the body. CV disease is not just a play of cholesterol numbers and blood pressure, rather it is a complex process regulated by an altogether different mechanism.
We at RH+ help you restore your cardio vascular system by treating the root cause of the cardiovascular disease. We use a functional medicine approach to restore all the vital functions by modifying lifestyle factors, meeting all nutritional insufficiencies and providing the right kind of individualized nutritional programs to support your cardiovascular system in the most natural and safest way. At RH+ we will advise you the best way to assess the risk of CVD and help you unfold any risk associated with future chances of CVD by intensive analysis of your blood reports, which normally physicians give a miss. We believe Food is Medicine. Poor quality, unhealthy food can give rise to diseases and healthy food at the right time and in the right amount can maximize the possibilities of contracting an illness to zero.