Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Resolve to Take Charge of Your Health This Year

Chronic inflammation ages you inside and out

The same anti-inflammatory diet habits that clear your skin & prevent wrinkles will also prevent, reduce and even reverse diabetes, cardiovascular disease.  Monitor what you can yourself and for the rest, see your doctor. But ask for copies of test results, review them yourself, and keep them to compare with the next tests.  And let food be your medicine. Along with sleep, exercise and other healthy lifestyle habits.

I began making this list of things to monitor for Vascular Disease after my mother has had 3 strokes in a little over a year despite not having any of the usual risk factors and seeming to be perfectly healthy and planning to live a long and active life. And while you younger people might not be concerned, be aware that these things are occurring in younger and younger people. Look at all the teenagers with type 2 diabetes now. That should be an old person's disease. 

Blood Pressure

Check blood pressure frequently. Get your own machine or do it at the drugstore.  Hypertension damages arteries. Test in both arms. A difference in the systolic of @15 or more points can be an indicator of increased risk for vascular disease. http://www.webmd.com...taken-both-arms

Blood Sugar/Insulin Metabolism 

Sugar floating around in the bloodstream pro-inflammatory, pro-oxidant and along with high blood pressure  causes the damage to arteries that are repaired by cholesterol. And when you consume more sugar than your cells can take in, your body will keep releasing more insulin desperate to get that sugar out of your bloodstream. Insulin

A1C hemoglobin test  looks for signs of frequently elevated blood sugar/insulin (which promotes chronic inflammation)

Serum Uric Acid
-Elevated serum uric acid is a consistent feature of the insulin resistance syndromes,
-Elevated levels associated with increased cardiovascular events/disease risk, increases LDL.
-Elevated by excessive fructose intake.

Markers of Chronic Inflammation

Inflammation and oxidation are the causes of heart disease, not cholesterol. It's also a major factor in aging and most non-infectious disease.

-C-reactive Protein
-Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase Lp-PLA2 - an inflammatory enzyme implicated in the formation of rupture-prone plaque associated with stroke. elevated levels associated with stroke risk.
-Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
-interleukin (IL)-6 - an inflammatory cykoteine
-serum amyloid A protein
-total homocysteine

Clogged Arteries

Plaque forms where arteries are damaged by high blood pressure and elevated blood sugar and is caused by LDL oxidized due to chronic inflammation.

Ultrasound scan of carotid arteries to look for plaque, one of the main causes of stroke. There's also an artery coming out of the heart that's a common culprit, but it has to be scanned with one of the various machines involving radiation so much more invasive. Plaque forms where arteries are damaged by high blood pressure and elevated blood sugar and is caused by LDL oxidized due to chronic inflammation.

-ApoB levels - Apolipoprotein B is a protein which can lead to plaques that cause vascular disease.  This keeps LDL circulating rather than binding to receptors. The longer it circulates the more likely it is to oxidize and form plaques in your arteries.

ApoB levels, along with it's ratio to apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) which is protective, is probably a much better indicator for cardivascular disease than the lipoproteins/cholesterol.

Diets high in fructose lead to elevated apoB levels.   Just 2 weeks of consuming 25% of calories from drinks sweetened with high fructose corn syrup dangerously elevates levels.

flow-mediated dilation - FMD is the gold-standard technique to measure endothelial function.  The endothelium is the lining of the blood vessels.  FMD is considered a good predictor of cardiovascular disease risk.

Coagulation of the blood
PTT - partial thromboplastin time - Tests the time it takes blood to clot
Patients with a normal PTT test result will take 25 to 35 seconds for their blood to clot.
Platelet Count AKA: Thrombocyte count; PLT http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/aptt/tab/test

About Cholesterol

A total cholesterol test is of little value unless it tells you your levels are over 300. In which case, you need more tests. Regardless, you really need to know your HDL, LDL & Triglyceride levels because its a ratio of those that provide useful information.  And you need to test regularly as they fluctuate.

These are the the useful things the tests can tell you:
  • Trends – Are your triglycerides going down over time? That’s great. Is your HDL trending up? Also good.
  • Normal fluctuations – Your numbers can jump around 20-30 points in either direction between readings without it necessarily meaning anything.
  • TC:HDL-C ratioLower is better and indicates fewer LDL particles.
  • Triglyceride:HDL-C ratioLower is better and indicates larger LDL (and, usually, fewer) particles. Ideally, this will be close to 1 or lower; one study (PDF) found that 1.33 was the cut off.


Chronic inflammation is caused by stress, environmental toxins (pollution), lack of sleep, lack of exercise, prolonged intensive activity like body building, running 10 miles,etc.  And by Diet i.e. spiking insulin/blood sugar and too many inflammatory foods (hydrogenated/trans fats, Omega 6 fats (grain/grain oils) and foods to which you are intolerant/can't digest) in relation to anti-inflammatory foods (omega 3 fats, anti-oxidant rich plant foods, herbs, spices, teas).

Manage stress with yoga, meditation, walking or other relaxing activity; move around a lot every day; consume an anti-inflammatory diet high in fresh whole fruits, vegetables, spices & teas; sleep well at night and keep as natural as possible circadian cycle of exposure to bright outdoor light in the daytime and darkness at night.

No comments:

Post a Comment