With so much focus on cholesterol, it’s easy to forget that atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease, a silent killer, that strikes young and old, male, and female, fit and unfit, in the prime of life and peak of health.
To better understand your heart health, you need more than a simple stress test, EKG, or lipid profile…. it’s important to look at the inflammatory markers as well, specifically C-Rreactive Proteins (CRP’s measure inflammation).
Bad cholesterol can build up “inside” your arterial walls
When many people think of atherosclerosis, they think of bad cholesterol accumulating to form plaque on the walls of the arteries themselves. But your arteries are a porous membrane, and if there is inflammation (which can be caused by saturated fats, particularly palmitic acid, which is a favorite of the food industry because it’s inexpensive, tasty, and stable), the low-density lipoproteins (LDL or “bad” cholesterol) are able to enter inside the arterial membranes themselves, and build up inside the arterial walls.
Many people think of plaque building on walls of the arteries themselves. Yet your arteries are a porous membrane, and this video shows how Low-density lipoproteins (LDL or “bad” cholesterol) build up inside the arterial walls.
Thrombosis or “Hardening of the Arteries”
If plaque builds up long enough you start to get blockage, and then thrombosis. When a hardened artery wall ruptures, you get bleeding, resulting in blood clots, and a heart attack or stroke. Without a doubt, it’s inflammation, not just cholesterol, that is one of the major contributing factors of coronary heart disease.
“If you have the perfect storm of high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and high inflammatory markers, it should set off alarm bells.”
With all the baby boomers walking around with their ‘ticking time bombs’, unless we do something fast, it’s a very real possibility we could start to have an increasing number of strokes and heart attacks, and it could bankrupt our country, as well as deprive us of people who could otherwise lead long, healthy lives.
You need more of the good and less of the bad
Eat less fast food and more real food: fruits and vegetables, lots of them in every color. Preferably from your own garden. Avoid foods that are high in saturated fats, like red meat, and replace them with real foods that are high in monounsaturated fats, like avocados. Drink plenty of water. I for one, am a big fan of the Mediterranean diet.
It’s important that we come to an understanding about the direct link between diet and nutrition, because heart disease is the #1 killer in the US. It is also one of the biggest contributors to the meteoric rise in health care costs.