Cardiovasular Disease & Diabetes: What is the connection?

The primary health concerns of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were infections diseases.  A shift in adverse health came about after the fortification and enrichment of foods.  Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and stroke became the prevailing ailments.  These diseases continue to rise, some at alarming rates.  Let’s take a quick look between two prevalent diseases today: Heart Disease and Diabetes. I am going to especially look at the incidents in Nacogdoches County in the State of Texas.  [PDF of this post here]

Some quick stats:

nacogdoches-statistics-cvd-and-diabetes

Is this a sign of malfunction in the bodies of the population?

Maintaining a healthy status requires a homeostasis of the bodily systems. Having healthy levels of glucose in our blood is vital for proper balance. When we eat, signals are sent in our body to aid in the metabolizing of the food we just ate.  Insulin is secreted as a result of some of those signals.  It is the “key” which allows glucose to enter the cells.  Without proper signaling of insulin, glucose cannot enter the cells.  This results in glucose going to other parts of the body.  For our body to function properly it is important to keep glucose levels stable.

When our glucose levels are outside a healthy range it attaches to proteins resulting in diabetes-1724617_1920Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs).  Excessive AGEs leads to plaque forming in the blood vessels.  One consequence is an impairment of the endothelium which lines the blood vessels.  It is hindered in releasing nitric oxide into the blood stream.  With this compromised cardiovascular system, the body has a difficult time repairing daily wear and tear.  Thus an increase in inflammation.  Heart disease often ensues.

In fact…. Studies have shown an increased incidence of heart disease in the presence of diabetes! 

With a high prevalence of heart disease and diabetes there is a need to understand the role of a proper functioning body. In regards to diabetes and cardiovascular disease the role of glucose balance is of marked importance.  Maintaining proper levels eliminates an exacerbating risk factor for both diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  A body which is in homeostasis is free of disease contrasted with a body where malfunction is present, disease emanates.

What can you do today to ensure a proper functioning body?

Begin practicing the 5 Pillars to Healthy Function!!!

Eat Quality Foods

Get Adequate Sleep

Be Active

Promote Healthy Digestion

Embrace Peace & a Spiritual Connection (Eliminate Stress)

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Related Research:

A.G.E. Foundation. What are AGEs http://agefoundation.com/age/

CDC Interactive Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke TablesGeographic Area 2010-2012.

Davis, C., and E. Saltos. (May 1999) “Dietary Recommendations and How They Have Changed Over Time,” America’s Eating Habits: Changes and Consequences, Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 750, USDA, ERS. Chapter 2.

Texas Department of State Health Services. (2012). 2012 Texas Heart Disease and Stroke

Fact Sheets, (2013). Diabetes Prevalence Among Adults BRFSS data Tables

Yamagishi, S-i., Nakamura, N., and Matsui, T. (2016) Glycation and cardiovascular disease in diabetes: A perspective on the concept of metabolic memory. J Diabetes, doi: 10.1111/1753-0407.12475.

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9 Tests for Cardiovascular Risk Assessment

If you are reading this chances are you are looking for something more than the standard tests for diagnosing heart disease.  My guess would be you have a desire to get to the underlying causes and factors of your state of health.  I would further venture to say you are also looking at ways to prevent adverse health. I am going to quickly touch on Cardiovascular Assessment in this post.

Heart disease is at the top of the list of health issues in the United States and a growing concern for younger adults. There are several tests available that will dig deeper into the function inside your body and provide us with warnings adverse health is on its way.  These tests are indicators of potential malfunction and impending consequences of the disruption of proper balance.  To get a better look at what is going on ask your healthcare provider for the following tests:

  • Total Cholesterolbody-116585_1280

  • LDL Cholesterol

  • HDL Cholesterol

  • Triglycerides

  • LDL Density Patterns

  • C-Reactive Protein

  • Homocysteine

  • Lp (a)

  • Fibrinogen

Some of these you are probably already familiar with such as the Cholesterol and Triglycerides.  You may be wondering – Why the other tests?  What makes them significant?

C-reactive protein is a protein which indicates inflammation in the body.  This test is a strong risk predictor of future heart attack and/or stroke. It is important to note past or current infections can increase the levels of this protein.

Homocysteine is an amino acid which can injure the lining of blood vessels, thus triggering deposits and atherosclerosis. One study found that men with high homocysteine had 3 times greater risk of heart attack!

Lipoproteins are lipids and proteins that are transported through your bloodstream in ‘packages’. One of these is Lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] Lipoprotein(a) is a marker for predicting the severity of future heart disease. This is often strongly influenced by heredity.

Fibrinogen is an important agent in the process of the formation of blood clots.  Again, elevated levels are linked to heart disease and/or stroke.

Each of these areas are affected by our diets and lifestyles.  Making changes in our habits can greatly affect the damage from elevated ‘warning lights’.  Be sure to ask your provider for ways to return a healthy homeostasis in your body!

A few quick tips are:

  • Eat Real foods, avoid packaged and processed foods
  • Get plenty of water daily!
  • Get plenty of rest and relaxation daily!
  • Exercise – the best exercise is the one you will do 🙂 Start low and go slow

As always, comments, questions welcomed and I hope this has been beneficial to you or a loved one!

 

[Relevant Research:

Cantin B, Despres JP, Lamarche B, Moorjani S, Lupien PJ, Bogaty P, Bergeron J, Dagenais GR. Association of fibrinogen and lipoprotein(a) as a coronary heart disease risk factor in men (The Quebec Cardiovascular Study). Am J Cardiol. 2002 Mar 15;89(6):662-6.

Lamarche B, St-Pierre AC, Ruel IL, Cantin B, Dagenais GR, Despres JP. A prospective, population-based study of low density lipoprotein particle size as a risk factor for ischemic heart disease in men. Can J Cardiol. 2001 Aug;17(8):859-65.

Blake GJ, Ridker PM. Novel clinical markers of vascular wall inflammation. Circ Res. 2001 Oct 26;89(9):763-71.

Clarke R, Lewington S, Donald A, Johnston C, Refsum H, Stratton I, Jacques P, Breteler MM, Holman R. Underestimation of the importance of homocysteine as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in epidemiological studies. J Cardiovasc Risk. 2001 Dec;8(6):363-9.

Matsumoto Y, Daida H, Watanabe Y, Sunayama S, Mokuno H, Yokoi H, Yamaguchi H. High level of lipoprotein(a) is a strong predictor for progression of coronary artery disease. J Atheroscler Thromb. 1998;5(2):47-53.

von Eckardstein A, Schulte H, Cullen P, Assmann G. Lipoprotein(a) further increases the risk of coronary events in men with high global cardiovascular risk. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2001 Feb;37(2):434-9.

Austin MA. Plasma triglyceride as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Can J Cardiol. 1998 May;14 Suppl B:14B-17B.

Ask Dr. Bernstein Tele-Seminar (relating to Type 1 & 2 Diabetics)

Dr. Bernstein is a Type 1 Diabetic who went against the main-stream way of thinking when it came to managing his diabetes. He is and type 1 diabetic endocrinologist with some great information!  Although those who are well versed in functional approaches may have some disagreements with some of his suggestions, overall he is still a wonderful resource especially for Type 1’s!!  I especially love his philosophy that all diabetics are entitled to the same blood sugar levels as non diabetics!

Ask Dr. Bernstein Webcast and Teleconference on, Wednesday, December 28th, you can listen to view the presentation for a limited time by going to this link :

dr.richard.k.bernstein

Watch December Seminar Here

The next webcast is January 25th at 8:00 pm EDT, 7:00 pm CDT, 5:00 pm PDT, and for our overseas guests, 12:00 am UTC (Wednesday).

Put all of the tele-seminar dates for 2017 in your calendar:   January 25th,  February 22nd, March 29th, April 26th, May 31st, June 28th, July 26th, August 30th,  September 27th, October 25th, November 29th, and December 27th, 2017.

If you have a friend who you feel would benefit from listening to the next tele-seminar, they can register here.

5 Pillars to Healthy Function - Diet - Rest - Stress Management - Exercise - Proper Digestion

5 Pillars of Healthy Function

One of the challenges in functional health is figuring out where to start.  With the approach being different than the symptom management model it can be overwhelming as one attempts to uncover the root causes of the malfunctioning of our body.  Another challenge is looking at our health challenges from the perspective of a healthy body that is no longer in a state of homeostasis.  When our presupposition is our body was designed to function in that state and when it is not functioning as intended then we focus on what factors disrupt the natural balance and which factors promote balance.  So what are some of those things?  And, which of those things take priority?

The top five areas which impact our health the greatest are:

  • Diet
  • Rest
  • Stress
  • Exercise
  • Digestion

How many of us have worked really hard at one or two, maybe even three, of these and we still come up against roadblocks in our journey to good health?  In recent months our physician and I have been looking at the things which are working for my son, what’s not and where can we improve.  Out of these top five we have two of them down pat – knock out of the park grand-slams!  One of these we do ok with, better than the average American and two of them we struggle with – BIG TIME!

So what makes these five things the most important?  Well, they work in harmony. When we take one of these out of the equation things begin to malfunction.  Each of them by themselves directly impact our health. Let’s take a brief look at each one:

Diet

This one is probably the most understood and the one we embrace the most.  What we eat. In every facet of life whether food, vehicles, electronics -the quality of the building blocks have a direct impact on the final product.  When we eat things which are food-like and not real food we are providing low quality building materials for our body to work with.   At some point we will get what we pay for.  Just as we get what we put into our retirement accounts, our health in latter years will be a return on what we invested earlier in life.

Rest

There are several blogs which I follow that have some amazing posts which reflect on our childhood years.  Do you ever remember asking why you needed to take a nap? Why did you have to go to bed so early?  The answer I always received was – that was the time my body repairs, the more I rest the more I will grow.  Of course I couldn’t wait to grow up so that usually motivated me to take that nap or head to bed!

Our bodies need time to rest.  We have a lot of demands for our time and energy.  Just as we don’t leave our vehicles running all the time we shouldn’t keep our bodies running all the time.  They need time to repair from the daily toils from our day to day life.  If we continually ‘burn the candle at both ends’, the wick is going to burn out.  If we keep our engine going without down time it is going to overheat. The same with our bodies – it will start to malfunction.

Stress

This one is HUGE!  I don’t know about you, but I have heard this many times “stress affects your health”.  Yeah, yeah and I shrug it off going about my stressful life… Well, I am not sure I am able to articulate how vital eliminating and reducing stress are to a healthy functioning body.

The best illustration I have is our vehicles again -if we drove it off-road continuously putting stress on the suspension the suspension system is going to fail.   If we ran into curbs every time we park our vehicle it will cause damage.   The kicker is our body has a way to deal with these repairs on a daily basis – the problem is those ‘internal bandages’ can cause more malfunction when we have everything bandaged up!

This is one of those two areas my family, especially myself, struggles with.  The only answer I have found to effectively handle stress is a connection with our Creator.  My spiritual life has impacted my stress where nothing else would help.  Finding the peace from our Creator can do amazing things for our health!

Exercise

This is the second most accepted concept to good health.  Diet and exercise, right?  Isn’t that what everyone says?  Well – it is true!! Well, partially – its those PLUS the other ones listed.  But, lets look at exercise.

Did you know when you exercise your endothelium(lining of the blood vessels) releases nitric oxide?  In 1998 Robert F. Furchgott, Louis J. Ignarro and Ferid Murad were awarded the Nobel Peace prize “for their discoveries concerning nitric oxide as a signalling molecule in the cardiovascular system”.  What does nitric oxide do?  It helps to maintain healthy blood pressure, cholesterol levels, regulating clotting and blood flow, to name a few.  Basically it helps to promote healthy cardiovascular function.  Sort of like having a built in fuel system cleaner in a vehicle – wouldn’t that be neat!!

What happens with our fuel system in our vehicles when it gets dirty?  The engine starts running rough, right?  Sometimes it causes other problems as well.  Our bodies are very similar, if our cardiovascular system is not working as designed, it starts to malfunction.  Exercise promotes a smooth running system.

Digestion

So what if we are eating great foods, amazing sleep, no stress and we exercise regularly – we should be all set to a healthy body right?  Ah there is still another piece of the puzzle which needs to be in place – digestion!  If we are not assimilating the wonderful foods our bodies are not going to have access to the building blocks needed for repairing from daily life.

Again I like the illustration of our vehicles.  If our fuel system has a clog and the gas is unable to get to the spark plugs, the engine is not going to work.  Or if the gas that is getting through but its not flowing at the proper rate, the engine is going to run rough.

Having a properly functioning digestive system is another vital part in achieving that highly sought after homeostasis, referred to as good health.  This one is perhaps one of the most difficult to correct since many processes are intertwined with others.  When our system is disrupted it often seems like trying to get untangled from a spiderweb.  Which often loops back to stress as we attempt to untangle our digestive mess.

So what do we do now? How do we return these areas to a balance which promotes healthy function?

Support.  Surround yourself with others who are supportive in your journey. It is amazing what can be accomplished when you have others to help carry your burdens.  Just remember, we have to share that we have a need for folks to have the opportunity to help  😉

Your comments and questions are always welcome! I hope this is beneficial to you or someone you love! Thanks for stopping by!

 

Common sense

I recently updated the “nuts & bolts” page where I touch on how our bodies provide ‘medicine’ to heal.  There is a LOT more to put on that page but I wanted to start sharing since there is a wealth of information that I hope to put there…

Anyway, I was reviewing a webinar regarding the cardiovascular system and one more of those ‘stop in my track’ moments occurred.  Most of us have probably heard about the “bad cholesterol” and “plaque” build up.  For those who haven’t – LDL cholesterol is termed the bad guy. Too much of it and it will start sticking to the lining of your blood vessels causing plaque.  High blood sugar and high amount of abdominal fat stimulate the body to release plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1) which promotes blood clotting and build up of plaque.

The “ah ha” moment was because I understand the wonderful function of LDL in our bodies – it is necessary for repair and damage.  For example, do you know what high blood sugar does to the body?  It is like glass or sand which makes abrasions along the cell wall. So when we see high LDL it is a sign that something is in need of repair.  In this example of high blood sugar, in essence our amazing body is protecting itself from ourselves!  The body gets a signal to go repair and protect the wall by forming the plaque.  Of course in the long run this is detrimental, but at least it provides us with the opportunity to make changes. ***

So often the focus is on lowering that LDL number rather than looking as to WHY is that number elevated?   Our bodies make most of the LDL that is measured in blood tests, it is making it for a reason! What is the reason it is making it??? Lowering the LDL doesn’t address the underlying malfunction in our body. Such as maybe its high blood sugar causing damage… Do you know how many diabetics are on statin drugs?  It’s alarming!

Do you now what statin drugs do?  Statins are prescription pills which are very effective at lowering levels of LDL.  Guess what the most common side effect is?  Muscle pain.   Is this surprising??  It shouldn’t be, after all when we take away a necessary repair mechanism from our body what is going to happen? Stuff is gonna start showing the wear and tear.  Not just in our blood vessels, but our entire body!  It is no wonder there is an increase in heart attacks despite the effectiveness of statins lowering LDL.

Common sense tells us things could go very, very wrong!  Fortunately, there are more and more who have decided to take a look at health from a different perspective, one that looks at how the body is supposed to function.  Getting clues from how the body reacts to an adverse environment, letting our body be the guide. Pinpointing the reason behind why the body took evasive action. This kind of digging gets me super excited about health!  Totally lights a fire for me to pursue healthy choices and be in harmony with what my body is telling me!  Am I the only one who feels this way?

Well, gonna get back to the webinar, maybe I’ll get me some veggies to snack on 🙂

{***I added some clarification to my original post as it may not have been clear I was referring to high blood sugar as just an example of damage to our bodies}