Lipid Profile Program
High Cholesterol & Natural Solutions
It has become an accepted fact that greater than 90% of cardiovascular disease (including high cholesterol) is a result of lifestyle and environmental factors. Despite this, most treatment ignores the cause of disease and utilizes medications that can have harmful side effects.
There are times when medications like statin drugs (such as Lipitor and Zocor) are an appropriate last resort to lower cholesterol. However, the use of these medications as a first line of intervention is concerning. There are currently about 47 million people using statin drugs worldwide. These drugs seem to lower total cholesterol by about 18-35%. The majority of people that start using statin drugs are usually on the medication for life. Despite modest improvement in cholesterol levels, statin drugs have many side effects and are questionable in their effectiveness at reducing cardiovascular risk. Some of the known side effects include: shoulder pain, jaw pain, kidney disease, neuropathy, muscle damage and weakness, fatigue, memory loss, difficulty walking, shortness of breath, mood swings, and other behavioral disorders.
Elevated cholesterol levels cannot be ignored. However, it is essential to exhaust all the natural alternatives prior to using statin drugs. There are many different reasons why lipid levels can be elevated, and it is essential to determine the etiology in each individual case. There are many nutritional products that have demonstrated the ability to lower cholesterol by 12-25%. In combination, natural therapies can often match the reduction in cholesterol obtained by statin drugs, but without the side effects. Utilizing the proper combination of supplements and uncovering the cause of the problem can often restore cholesterol to normal levels. Diet and exercise habits need to be evaluated as well and modifications may be required. Genetic testing may be necessary in cases where family history is a consideration. These genetic tests can reveal polymorphisms (genetic abnormalities) and provide insight about nutritional weakness and requirements. The gastrointestinal and endocrine (hormonal) systems must be evaluated for dysfunction as well. Blood chemistry studies, EKG, and ultrasound studies are also essential to help evaluate the level of disease and to create a treatment plan. Alternative treatment of cardiovascular disease is well documented and, in many cases, can help restore health without the dangers of medication.
Lipoprotein Particle Profile
"Approximately 50% of people suffering from heart attacks have shown "normal" cholesterol numbers." - National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute (NIH), 2001
Cholesterol has historically been used as the standard indicator for cardiovascular disease, being classified as HDL (good) or LDL (bad). However, it is actually the lipoprotein particles that carry the cholesterol throughout the body--not the cholesterol within them--that are responsible for key steps in plaque production and the resulting development of cardiovascular disease.
Measuring the lipoprotein subgroups is the only way to evaluate emerging risk factors, which is crucial for accurate assessment of cardiovascular risk, according to the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP).
NCEP Emerging Risk Factors
- Small, dense LDL--these atherogenic particles easily penetrate the arterial endothelium, causing plaque
- RLP (Remnant Lipoprotein)--very atherogenic lipoprotein with similar composition and density as plaque
- Lp(a)--builds plaque and causes plaque to rupture
- HDL2b--positively correlates with heart health because it is an indicator of how well excess lipids are removed
Over 20% of the population has cholesterol-depleted LDL. This is a condition in which a patient's cholesterol may be "normal" but their lipoprotein particle number (and hence their actual risk) is much higher than conventional cholesterol tests would indicate. This is especially common in persons whose triglycerides are high or whose HDL is low. In a cholesterol-depleted patient, there can be up to a 40% error in risk assessment!