IS INCREASED CHOLESTEROL LEVEL RESPONSIBLE FOR HEART DISEASES?

Insurances Accepted For Evaluation

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Heart disease is the number 1 killer in the US.  So you have a high chance of being affected--unless you prevent it. But how?  Healthy lifestyle? Maybe. Drugs like aspirin? Could be. Want to be sure?  Then you need to know the root cause of the problem you might have.  Otherwise, how do you know what to do:  take aspirin or eat apples? Take metoprolol or carrot juice?  Exercise more or get more sleep?

Where to look for answers?not where you think!

To get medical answers, patients usually search Google. And Google gives articles with answers. You can ask Google any question you need and get the answer.  Looks like any medical problem could be solved with Google. Really? Then why hasn?t Google reduced obesity or cancer rates, depression or digestive problems. 

The problem is that there are a lot of facts, but very few conclusions in what you  read on the internet. In other words, facts themselves are useless unless they are interpreted correctly.

Example: recently I learned about a study that states that low vitamin D is linked to increased longevity (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121105130355.htm).  That?s right?low vitamin D, not high. The same article states that the previous study showed the opposite:  low levels of vitamin D were associated with increased mortality rates.  It means that studies may contradict each other. But how could it be?

As I said, numbers themselves do not mean anything, the conclusions do.  For instance, many patients believe that the test result is the diagnosis. That?s not true:  what matters is how the physician interprets the results of the test and physical exam and the history. You have to diagnose the patient, not just the lab results.

Interpreting?and misinterpreting

I knew that something should be very wrong with the interpretation of the study results, not the numbers, that lead to the conclusion that low vitamin D level leads to increased longevity.  So I read the study.  What I found stunned me.  They found the low levels of vitamin D not in the octogenarians but in their offspring. But what do offspring have to do with their parents? longevity? They may not live long! Think about it:  it?s like saying that if child is poor, the parents are poor too. Obviously this may not be the case. And what about the other studies that showed vitamin D benefits?  Should we throw them away?

Another example:  they compared the synthetic thyroid hormone Synthroid with natural Armour Thyroid. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  The results showed that patients were doing better with natural Armour Thryoid than with synthetic Synthroid (http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199902113400603). Guess what they concluded? Use synthetic Synthroid, not natural Armour Thryoid (http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199902113400611). What? It looks like patients? satisfaction does not mean anything. Could it be true?

One more example. A recent study showed that early menopause is linked to increased risk for heart disease and stroke (http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2012/09/study-ties-early-menopause-to-heart-attack-stroke/ ). This isn?t new.  But what conclusion did they make?  The women who have early menopause should try to prevent cardiovascular disease. But how?  Drugs?  Exercise?  Diet? Sleep?  Depends on the root cause of the cardiovascular disease.  If it is cholesterol, they should lower their cholesterol.  If it is vitamin C, they should get more vitamin C.  If it is vitamin D then they should normalize their vitamin D level.  If it is not getting enough sleep, maybe they should take sleeping pill.  So what should they do?

My interpretation

To me, if early menopause is linked to increased risk for cardiovascular disease, then early menopause is the root cause, not cholesterol level. And this does make sense:  lack of s.e.x. hormones -- menopause -- puts too much stress on women's body, which might lead to increased need for the stress hormone cortisol.  But cortisol is made from cholesterol. To make more cortisol, the body needs more cholesterol. This may lead to clogged arteries.  But what is the conclusion?  Is high cholesterol level the root cause?  Or it is the consequence of hormone imbalance secondary to menopause?  Should we balance our hormones first instead of chasing the recommended cholesterol level?

My thoughts about heart disease prevention

  1. Balance your hormones.
  2. Get enough vitamin C and vitamin D.
  3. Get enough sleep without sleeping pills.
  4. Make sure that your mineral levels are optimized.
  5. Stick with Paleolithic diet provided that it is safe and you have a healthy digestive system.
  6. Reduce your stress level by getting rid of everything that is not necessary.  Remember that humans are designed to work about 3 hours a day, not 8 -- 12.

Good luck!

 

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