-When was the last time you went to the doctor's office and were told that your cholesterol is high?
-How many of you were told that having a high cholesterol and increased fat consumption causes heart disease?
-How many of you have been put on cholesterol medication because your cholesterol was above 200?
This is a common thing I hear in my office and unfortunately cholesterol is not the enemy when it comes to your health. This concept that high cholesterol is harmful to your health is out of date and no longer accurate.
There are other levels on your blood work that need to be focused on more when it comes to heart health. Listed below are some of the important levels I look at to indicate potential cardiovascular disease risks.
Apolipoprotein B (ApoB): this level is a stronger indicator for cardiovascular disease risk because it carries the substances in your blood that make plaque in your arteries. This lab test is going to be more accurate than a lipid panel.
Homocysteine: high levels of this marker can damage the inside of your arteries and actually increase your risk for developing blood clots. This can also increase your risk for blood vessel disorders, stroke, heart attack, and various heart diseases.
hs-CRP: CRP is a strong indicator for inflammation in the body and can predict a higher risk for people to suffer from a heart attack, stroke, or other vascular disorders.
Lipoprotein (a): genetic risk factor if in high levels can lead to heart disease.
Calcium score: getting a calcium score test can show how much plaque is built up in the arteries.
Cholesterol is essential to your health and is important to have this within a healthy range so that we are able to make specific nutrients and hormones in the body. Below is a list of a few things that cholesterol makes.
All of these are essential so it important that we maintain a healthy level of cholesterol in the body. Having a lower cholesterol will end up decreasing the production of the substances listed above which in turn can come with a lot of extra symptoms that you may be experiencing.
When cholesterol does become high there are other things I look at and it is NOT how much fat you are consuming. Things such as dysbiosis, chronic infections, hypothyroidism, toxin overload (environmental toxins, heavy metals, etc.), high consumption of seed oils, diet rich is processed carbohydrates and sugars, or metabolic dysfunction are a few things I look to first to get your cholesterol within a normal range.
I suggest consulting a functional medicine practitioner to help get to the root cause of your health concerns and find a more natural way for you to improve your health.