Let’s talk pandemic. There is a lot of talk about the pandemic right now, but I want to talk to you about what’s on my heart regarding another pandemic we are facing. The definition of the word pandemic is “a disease that’s prevalent across an entire country or the world.” Based on that, I think the real pandemic we are facing is cardiovascular disease. Continue reading for some statistics that I believe are important to know and share.
The Number One Killer
If you look at the numbers from the World Health Organization, cardiovascular deaths are at 17.9 million annually across the entire world. Of those 17.9 million, 80 percent of those are from heart attacks and strokes, and of those 80 percent, 30 percent of those are what’s termed premature. Premature means below the age of 70. The 17.9 million cardiovascular deaths across the world account for 31 percent of total deaths worldwide. When you compare that to what’s been happening with COVID since January 17th, 2020 we have had almost 513,000 deaths worldwide from COVID.
The number one killer in the world is heart disease and that’s why I think it’s an important pandemic to focus on and learn more about. I love to tell people “no heart attacks or strokes on my watch, if that’s what you want.” There are many different things that we can do to prevent cardiovascular disease. One of those things is focusing on the food that we eat, because food is medicine and medicine is food. We can do a lot to heal our bodies with food!
Cholesterol Particle Size
I want to talk about cholesterol particle size. When you get your lipid panel and your cholesterol panel, it tells you all about your particle number. So, it tells you your total cholesterol, it tells you LDL, HDL, your triglycerides, and then some ratios. That shows you how many marbles of cholesterol you actually have.
The important part is to know what those marbles look like. There are blood tests that we can do that will tell us how many hard, small, sticky LDL cholesterol particles you have. If you have a high number of those then that puts you at risk for atherosclerosis, which is the plaque buildup that gets inside the arteries and clogs off heart arteries and brain arteries causing heart attacks and strokes. There are things that we can do to bring that number down!
It will also tell about different particles, such as Apolipoprotein A and Apolipoprotein B. And it tells us more about the particle sizes related to those cholesterol marbles. Again, there are many things that we can do to bring those back into normal to decrease people’s heart attack risk. I think I’ve said before that half of the people who have a heart attack have a normal cholesterol level.
If all that you’re monitoring is your cholesterol and it is normal, and that’s making you feel really good, I would say to you that I don’t think I’d feel really good unless I knew what those particles looked like. The big deal that causes a lot of heart attacks and strokes is inflammation. There are many lab tests that we can do to look at inflammation markers too. I would really suggest tracking inflammation levels as well as cholesterol particles.
Don’t Ignore This Pandemic
This is an ongoing pandemic that needs to be addressed. There are many things that we can begin doing today to prevent cardiovascular disease. Prevention is key and it’s important to start as soon as possible! If you want me to help you not have a heart attack or stroke on my watch I’d like you to get ahold of Julian Healthcare because I would love to help you reach your health goals!
Susan Julian, NP, IFMCP