Cardiovascular health – How Lowering your Risk of CVD is not Rocket Science (just regular science)

In my previous blog I explored the risk factors involved in Cardiovascular Disease and how they may affect you. If you missed it, please find it at the link below:


Click Here: Cardiovascular Disease - An explanation of risk factors (purpletreetherapies.com.au)


How at risk are you?

This can be determined through a detailed risk assessment which can be completed by a Naturopath (a.k.a. me) in association with your primary health provider (i.e. your GP). This risk assessment will cover everything from family history to sleep habits to gut health to blood markers because they all play a part in CV health.


You can lower your risk whether you have had a risk assessment completed or not – these actions are valuable regardless.


Actions for Lowering Risk

1. Know your family history.

While you can’t change this, being aware is essential. If determined to be applicable to you, testing can be completed to see how relevant this genetic link may be.


2. Know your Medication.

Be aware of the CV risks and side effects of your medications. Read the online pamphlet that comes with your tablets or ask your prescribing Doctor.


3. Traditional Testing

CV risk markers such as blood pressure and cholesterol should be monitored and managed. There are also inflammatory blood markers and genetic testing that may be relevant. Explore these with your health provider.


4. Nutrient assessment

Your dietary intake can impact CV health where deficiencies exist. Sufficient intake of nutrients such as Magnesium and Omega 3 fatty acids are both linked to a lowered risk of developing CVD, while consuming trans fatty acids may increase risk of inflammation and vascular damage. Getting a dietary analysis can confirm if your intake is adequate.


5. Hair Testing & Mineral Analysis (HTMA)

The presence of heavy metals in the body is a lesser known risk factor for CVD and can also be responsible for many other unexplainable health conditions such as nutritional deficiencies.


What is involved in HTMA?

1. Give a small sample of hair

2. Send it to a lab

3. Get a detailed report.


You’ll get advice on how to remove these substances from your body. It’s important to know that non-nutritional substances can be a significant health hazard, but this issue can be addressed with opposing nutrients.


You can avoid some exposure by investing in a water filter or jug that removes heavy metals:

https://www.alkaway.com.au/shop/ultrastream/

https://www.ecobud.com.au/

(not a paid promotion – these are filtering systems I have used or my family use).

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6. Important Weights and Measures Calculate Waist to hip ratio:https://www.healthline.com/health/waist-to-hip-ratio#calculate – this is the strongest indicator of CVD in terms of physical measurement


Calculate your BMI - BMI Calculator | Healthy Weight Guide – this is a less accurate indicator of CV risk but will reveal which weight group you fall into. Use in accordance with Waist to Hip Ratio.


7. Address the lifestyle risk factors head on


- Smoking

The best advice here is not to start smoking at all. If you’ve gone past that point, there are so many resources and techniques to help you to quit. I’m not a specialist in this area but I understand how addiction works and how removing a vice must be approached from multiple angles. There are social, chemical and psychological factors that play a part. Doing some research and getting professional help is a good start.


- Normalize good nutritional choices and exercise

Eating healthily and regular exercise needs to be integrated into your regular routine. These two factors are a package deal and both require attention - you can’t do one and not the other and is still required even when you are a healthy weight to prevent Cardiovascular disease.

Getting to the point where you don’t even need to think about when to exercise and how to eat well is ideal, but before you get there you need to get the right information.

If you don’t know – get help. One of the biggest wrong turns with making lifestyle changes is relying on the media or your peer group for accurate information and trying to make huge adjustments too fast.


- Sitting is the new smoking

Exercise can be a very individualized activity because it is important to do something you enjoy and that is right for your body. If in doubt, start walking every day or going to exercise classes that you might want to try. More intense exercise is essential but getting guided by teachers or musculoskeletal professionals may be required.

Don’t rely on others, the weather, having time, feeling energetic, having clean gym gear, waiting for a phone call or getting a bee out of the house. Just do it regardless. As humans, we can use every excuse in the book – trust me, I’ve heard some interesting ones and some of those are from my own inner monologue.


- Nutrition for the Cardiovascular System

The Mediterranean way of eating has been shown to be beneficial for heart health. These food choices support the vascular system, are anti-inflammatory and best of all, are tasty and therefore easy to adapt to. Raw olive oil, lots of vegetables, low alcohol, lean protein, high fibre and low sugar is a fair summary but click below to view the Mediterranean Food Pyramid I put together: https://bit.ly/2PFD25c

While the Mediterranean "diet" supports the CV System, not every part of it will suit everyone. It’s important that dietary intakes be adjusted based on you and your requirements.


In summary – actions for CV Health


Assess – genetics, medication, physical measurements


Make Changes – nutrition, exercise, smoking, water


Testing – BP, blood fats, inflammation, heavy metals


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Would you like a detailed Cardiovascular Risk Assessment? For more targeted advice suited to you, please get in touch via my website, via phone or email at enquiries@purpletreetherapies.com.au


Purple Tree Therapies is located in New Farm but can also do video consultations via Zoom.


References


Afridi et al. (2011). Association of Environmental Toxic Elements in Biological

Samples of Myocardial Infarction Patients at Different Stages. Biol Trace Elem Res, 141:26–40. doi: 10.1007/s12011-010-8713-2


Bernasconi AA, Wiest MM, Lavie CJ, et al. (2020). Effect of Omega-3 Dosage

on Cardiovascular Outcomes: An Updated Meta-Analysis and

Meta-Regression of Interventional Trials. Mayo Clin Proc.


Downey, M. (2021). Magnesium’s Role in heart health. Life Extension. 34-40


Echeverría F, Valenzuela R, Catalina Hernandez-Rodas M, et al. (2017).

This can be determined through a detailed risk assessment which can be done by a Naturopath (a.k.a. me) in association withry health provider (GP. Eetc). This risk assessment will cover everything from family history to sleep habits to gut health to blood markers because they all have an impact on CV health.


Faloon, W. (2020). When Does Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease? Life Extension


Gallegos, D. et al. (2019), Differences in cardiometabolic risk markers among ethnic groups in Queensland, Australia. Health Soc Care Community, 27, e449–e458. doi: 10.1111/hsc.12745


Jin, Jill. (2018). Risk Assessment for Cardiovascular Disease with Non-traditional Risk Factors, JAMA, 320(3). doi.10.1001/jama.2018.8359


Kegne, A. P. et, al. (2014). Risk predictive modelling for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci, 51(1): 1–12. doi: 10.3109/10408363.2013.853025


Loprinzi, P. D. et, al. (2015). Association of Concurrent Healthy Eating and

Regular Physical Activity With Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in U.S. Youth. American Journal of Health promotion, 30 (1), 1 – 8. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.140213-QUAN-71.


Ma H, Li X, Sun D, et al. (2019). Association of habitual glucosamine use

with risk of cardiovascular disease: prospective study in UK Biobank. BMJ, 14, 365-628https://www.alkaway.com.au/shop/ultrastream/


Maksimovic, M. Z. (2017). Awareness and knowledge of cardiovascular disease risk factors among medical students. Wien Klin Wochenschr, 129:458–463. doi: 10.1007/s00508-017-1192-0


Mifsud, J. L. (2020). Motivational interviewing to support

modifiable risk factor change in individuals at increased risk of cardiovascular disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLOS One, 15(11). doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0241193


Nestel, P. (2014). Trans Fatty Acids: Are Its Cardiovascular Risks

Stevens, S. (2021). Value of fish oil with EPA and DHA. Life Extension. 70-76


Ugon, A. et al. (2018). Building a knowledge based tool for assessing cardiovascular risk.

European Federation for Medical Informatics (EFMI) and IOS Press. doi:10.3233/978-1-61499-852-5-735