It’s not surprising that February is National Heart Disease Month. This month… the month of love, hearts and relationship…is a good time to check in with the relationship you have with your heart…it’s a good time to show your heart some love. After all, your heart is an amazing organ. It continuously pumps oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout your body to sustain life. This fist-sized powerhouse beats 100,000 times per day, pumping five or six quarts of blood each minute, or about 2,000 gallons per day.
Most people have been touched either personally or within close relationships by heart disease. We have all known people (or known of people) who have been seemingly fit but collapsed “suddenly” with a heart issue. My maternal grandfather died in a movie theater at the age of 59 of a sudden heart attack. He literally laughed himself to death. How is it possible for someone who was as healthy, hearty, and hale as my grandfather to die so suddenly without warning? Because the technology for monitoring heart health wasn’t available in 1965 when he died. But it is now!
Old fashioned yearly lab tests that measure total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglycerides are outdated and, in my opinion, dangerous because they give people a false sense of health if they all fall within normal limits. We now have the ability to check for genetic snps (single nucleotide polymorphisms) that point to heart disease risk, for inflammatory markers that indicate increased cardiac risk, for cholesterol particle sizes, for detailed hormone and blood sugar markers, and for advanced imaging testing.
In addition, we now know that autoimmune disease increases the risk for cardiovascular events and death. So if you are one of the 24 million Americans who have been diagnosed with autoimmune disease, or are one of the millions of Americans who are unwittingly working on developing an autoimmune disease (it can take 10-30 years to get to an actual autoimmune diagnosis), here’s what would be good for you to know to take care of your heart.
The impact of autoimmunity on your heart depends on the autoimmune disease you have. Remember though, when you have one autoimmune disease, you have a 75% chance of developing more if you don’t take care of the root causes and reverse the one you started with. Studies have shown that those with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren’s syndrome can be more than 50 times more at risk for a heart attack than people without these diseases. Those with Crohn’s disease are at the least risk for heart disease, but their chances of developing type 2 diabetes (also considered an autoimmune disease now) increase by 6% over an eleven-year time frame. Overall, people with any autoimmune disease are generally at a 20% higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease than their counterparts without autoimmunity. Cardiovascular disease is not just an old person’s illness. Psoriasis in young people causes a 2.5 times higher risk of fatal myocardial infarctions or strokes that people of the same age without the disease. Research indicates that people with severe psoriasis are at a higher risk of having a cardiovascular event before the age of 40.
Why are people with autoimmune disease at more risk for potentially fatal sudden cardiac events? In a word…inflammation. Regardless of the target tissue the immune system goes after, all autoimmunity involves inflammation. Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have also found that immune cells that arise during autoimmunity cause cholesterol to be trapped inside of the blood vessels…leading to more potentially harmful buildup of plaque that can break off and cause stroke or myocardial infarction.
The good news is heart disease is preventable. With early detection of genetic markers and close monitoring of inflammation, pancreatic health, hormone ratios and cholesterol particles, you can avoid cardiovascular disease. It’s important to reverse autoimmune disease and maintain immune resilience in order to achieve this tall order.
Please join me on February 11, 2021 at 6:00 PM Pacific for the The Autoimmune-Heart Connection- Reducing the Risk of Cardiac Death in Autoimmune Patients webinar.
What you can expect from this webinar:
1. Understand how the heart works and what goes wrong when it’s not working.
2. Know the genetic snps that increase your risk for heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and diabetes.
3. Understand how inflammation potentiates your genetics to create a time bomb.
4. Discover the role stress plays in your heart health.
5. Learn ways to decrease the risk your genetics, inflammatory state, and stress play in the development of heart disease in you and your children.
6. Be able to identify the proper kind of testing that will actually help you track your own heart health.
Click here to register for free!