Posted on: 02.01.2022 Posted by: Drlark Comments: 0

June 12, 2004


Heart Health

Assessing Your Heart Health

A heart attack can be fatal

when one or more arteries supplying blood and oxygen to the heart

narrow. This narrowing is caused by plaque—a thick, waxy, yellowish

substance. Plaque formation begins in the teens and eventually can

cause shortness of breath, pain, and finally heart attack. In addition

to plaque formation, there are other factors that can significantly

affect heart health.


Homocysteine is an ugly amino acid that weakens artery walls through

free radical damage. Increased levels of homocysteine in the blood

can deplete the body of folic acid.


Triglycerides are the form in which your body stores fat. If you

have elevated triglycerides (a level of 190 mg/dL or greater), you

run a greater risk of coronary artery disease.


The liver is the primary producer of the fatty, yellowish, waxy

substance known as cholesterol. Cholesterol also can be taken into

the body through dairy products, meat, and fish. Cholesterol is

not soluble in blood, so the body packages it with a protein that

allows it to mix with blood. The levels of these cholesterol-protein

mixtures are critical in maintaining a healthy heart. Low-density

lipoproteins (LDLs) carry cholesterol in the blood, and high levels

of them can build up, damage the inner lining of the blood vessel

wall, and form plaque. For this reason, LDLs are known as “bad”

cholesterol. High-density lipoproteins (HDL) or “good”

cholesterol help transport excess cholesterol back to the liver,

empty it into the intestinal tract, and excrete it from the body

through bowel movements. I recommend you ask your doctor to do a

blood test for HDL, LDL, and total cholesterol.

Here’s what your results should show:

Total cholesterol levels should be

less than 180 mg/dL.

LDL levels should be less than 130


HDL levels should be about 55 mg/dL;

HDL levels less than 35 mg/dL are a risk factor for women.

Also: The ratio of LDL to HDL is important and should be

no higher than 4:1. If your HDL is 30 and your LDL is 150 then your

ratio is 5:1, which puts you in the high-risk category.

REMEMBER: You want your HDL level

to be high and your LDL level to be low because they perform different

tasks in the body. HDL is responsible for getting cholesterol to

the liver where it can be broken down and excreted. High LDL levels

mean more “bad cholesterol” in the blood that can’t be

efficiently transported out.

Read More on Heart Health:

Getting Started

Assessing Your Heart Health

Different Gender, Different Symptoms

Quiz: What Is Your Risk of Heart Disease?

Keep it SIMPLE Heart tip — Fiber, Fiber, Fiber

Nutritional Therapies

Heart Healthy Nutrients

Foods That Help Your Heart, Foods That Hurt It

Mineral Deficiencies Lead to Heart Problems

Complementary Therapies

Flapping Wings Exercise

Think With Your Heart



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