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The pump that matters


The Pump that matters

This month, hearts are on the minds of most people. However, more importantly, the human heart, as opposed to candy and chocolate hearts, is the focus of what February is about. It is the cardiovascular month.

When it comes to the human body and health care, usually, each system is looked at individually, and “abnormal symptoms” are treated. However, if optimal health is the goal, then the body MUST be viewed with each system doing its job and working in harmony with each other in a homeostatic state. The heart is an important organ of the human body; its function is impossible without it. However, cardiovascular diseases (CV) are seen as systemic or a state of homeostasis when it comes to functional medicine.

For optimal health, waiting for symptoms related to issues within the heart or cardiovascular system usually means it is too late. Approximately every 33 seconds, a person in the U.S. dies of cardiovascular disease, and every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a heart attack, with 50% of people who have had a heart attack or myocardial infarct being unaware of any prior symptoms (CDC, 2023). These numbers are a bit scary; however, options exist to improve heart health and prevent cardiovascular disease.


There is more to looking at the LDL, or the “bad cholesterol.” According to the Journal of Advanced Research (2023) as known higher than normal levels of LDL can put a person at risk for cardiovascular disease; however, having a low LDL level does not warrant safety against Atherosclerotic Vascular Disease (ASCVD), and medical attention is still needed to address risk, especially if the individual exhibits other aspects that can contribute to CV disease.


What puts the heart at risk?

There is more to heart disease than one laboratory number of LDL. Though it can play a role, other modifiable risk factors include high blood pressure, triglycerides, tobacco smoking, weight or obesity, movement or physical activity, diet, and stress (Hajar, 2017). Let's explore some of these modifiable areas and their effect on the heart.


High blood pressure

Homeostasis involves the heart pumping oxygen and nutrients throughout the body through the vascular system, or the arteries, and back to the heart through the veins. High blood pressure occurs when there is resistance in the arteries. Inflammation in the vessels causes narrowing, making the heart pump harder.


Triglycerides

Triglycerides (TG) are lipids or fats comprising three fatty acid chains and one glycerol molecule (Rygiel, 2018). It has been established through epidemiologic and genetic studies that triglyceride-rich lipoproteins (TRL) and the remnants they leave behind contribute to ASCVD (Laufa et al., 2020), putting an individual at risk for further cardiovascular disease and heart attack. The importance of monitoring for high triglycerides relates to just the heart; if triglycerides continue to run a muck, there can also be implications for the pancreas.


Tobacco smoking

Tobacco smoking is a prevalent activity throughout the world; however, despite the data showing the negative effects on the human body, the trend persists. There have been many studies that have shown how impactful tobacco smoking is on overall health. It contributes to inflammation in the body, which hurts all systems that make up the body. Salehi et al. (2021) point out that under the influence of nicotine, the coronary vascular epithelium can become damaged, and smoking tobacco increases sympathetic tone and causes vasospasm. Further, the studies show that smoking plays a role in premature coronary atherosclerosis by increasing the oxidization of lipoproteins.


Diet

When it comes to heart and functional medicine, the aim is to prevent health issues but, at the very least, to help an individual maintain a measure of health and then improve upon it. Prevention is key to optimal health. Diet is one of the most important aspects of a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. Lifestyle and diet are the foundations of good preventative CV disease and have been proven through studies (Diab et al., 2023). Knowing what to eat to maintain and improve health is not always easy. However, healthy eating is achievable.  A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and minimized processed food, trans-fats, and sugar is recommended to contribute to a healthy cardiovascular system (Diab et al., 2023). Focusing on decreasing processed sugar or carbohydrates and increasing nature's rainbow is a good start. Improving the heart through diet does not happen overnight, but starting the journey to wellness today is a good place to start.

 

Functional Medicine

It is time to take your health back! Functional medicine has emerged as a groundbreaking approach to healthcare, aiming to address the root causes of illness and promote overall well-being. Unlike traditional medicine, which often focuses on managing symptoms, functional medicine seeks to understand the interconnectedness of the body's systems and treat the underlying imbalances. By considering factors such as genetics, environment, lifestyle, and nutrition, functional medicine practitioners create personalized and comprehensive treatment plans tailored to each individual. This holistic approach empowers patients to actively participate in their health journey, improving outcomes and a higher quality of life. Functional medicine emphasizes the importance of prevention and lifestyle modifications, encouraging patients to make informed choices that support long-term health. As a result, many individuals have experienced significant improvements in their health, finding relief from chronic conditions and achieving a renewed sense of vitality through the principles of functional medicine.


Heart Health Supplements

Nutridyn is promoting heart health this month with its products. Check them out by logging in through the link on the page below.

 

 Kiara Poloney FNP-C, AFMCP, LMT


 

 


 References

CDC (2023, May 15). Heart Disease Facts. Center for Control and Prevention. Retrieved February 16, 2024, from https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm

Diab, A., Dastmalchi, L. N., Gulati, M., & Michos, E. D. (2023). A Heart-Healthy Diet for


Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: Where Are We Now?. Vascular health and risk management19, 237–253. https://doi.org/10.2147/VHRM.S379874


Hajar R. (2017). Risk Factors for Coronary Artery Disease: Historical Perspectives. Heart views : the official journal of the Gulf Heart Association18(3), 109–114. https://doi.org/10.4103/HEARTVIEWS.HEARTVIEWS_106_17


Journal of Advanced Research (2023, May 22). J-shaped association between LDL cholesterol and cardiovascular events: A longitudinal primary prevention cohort of over 2.4 million people nationwide. Science Direct. Retrieved February 16, 2024, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2090123223001418


Laufs, U., Parhofer, K. G., Ginsberg, H. N., & Hegele, R. A. (2020). Clinical review on triglycerides. European heart journal41(1), 99–109c. https://doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehz785


Rygiel K. (2018). Hypertriglyceridemia - Common Causes, Prevention and Treatment Strategies. Current cardiology reviews14(1), 67–76. https://doi.org/10.2174/1573403X14666180123165542


Salehi, N., Janjani, P., Tadbiri, H., Rozbahani, M., & Jalilian, M. (2021). Effect of cigarette smoking on coronary arteries and pattern and severity of coronary artery disease: a review. The Journal of international medical research49(12), 3000605211059893. https://doi.org/10.1177/03000605211059893


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