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Cardiovascular risk factors

The main Cardiovascular risk factors are outlined below:
  • High blood pressureHigh blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the most important risk factors for CVD. …
  • Smoking.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Diabetes.
  • Inactivity. …
  • Being overweight or obese. …
  • Family history of CVD. …
  • Ethnic background.
what is metabolic syndrome

WHAT IS METABOLIC SYNDROME?

Metabolic syndrome is an unhealthy metabolism that leads to fatal diseases such as heart attacks, diabetes, and cancer. Moreover, this condition affects more than a fifth of the US population and about a quarter of the European population. Even though its prevalence in South-east Asia is lower, it is still rapidly moving towards the rates of the western world even there. It should be understood that metabolic syndrome is a problem for not only overweight people. So, in 40 out of 70 percent of people with normal weight, doctors diagnose metabolic disorders. This is at least related to an increase in waist circumference or visceral obesity. So what is metabolic syndrome? How do you know if you are at risk? How can lifestyle help prevent this condition and what is the treatment aimed at?

This article was last reviewed by Svetlana Baloban, Healsens, on January 24, 2020. This article was last modified on 4 September 2021.

What is Metabolic Syndrome?

Essentially, metabolic syndrome is the simultaneous presence of several conditions, such as obesity, hyperlipidemia (abnormal levels of cholesterol and / or lipoproteins), diabetes and / or hypertension. This combination was first described back in the late 1960s. Nowadays, medical organizations say that even a few of the risk factors are sufficient. Let’s take a look at which conditions are referred to as metabolic syndrome and which of the factors are more influential.

Metabolic Syndrome Criteria

The NCEP ATP III1 panel identified 3 of 5 risks of the next metabolic syndrome criteria:

  1. increased waist circumference. In this case, the following values are named:
  • ≥40 inches [≥102 cm] for men;
  • ≥35 inches [≥88 cm] for women.

At the same time, the International Diabetes Federation names narrower ranges2:

  • ≥37 inches [≥94 cm] for men;
  • ≥30 inches [≥80cm] for women.

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These are recommendations for the European race. For Chinese, Japanese and South Asians, a waist circumference of ≥90 cm for men is at risk. Note that weight is not taken into account, just the waist circumference. This is no accident. In the next chapter, we will review in detail why so much attention is paid to waist circumference.

Other risk factors include the following indicators:

2) elevated triglycerides (≥150 mg/dl); 

3) low HDL cholesterol (<40 mg/dl in men, <50 mg/dl in women); 

4) hypertension (≥130/≥85 mmHg); and 

5) impaired fasting glucose (≥110 mg/dl). The American Heart Association reports a level of risk fasting glucose levels at ≥100 mg / dL.

At the same time, the pathophysiology of this syndrome remains a subject of continuing controversy. However, despite the lack of knowledge, researchers have identified visceral obesity and insulin resistance as the most important causative factors. Central obesity or visceral obesity is readily assessed at waist circumference and is independently associated with each of the other components of metabolic syndrome. The second significant factor in the development of this disease is an increase in glucose levels (hyperglycemia). However, even a small increase, both on an empty stomach and after a meal, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality.

In addition, a prospective Quebec study has found that even with no increase in blood sugar, elevated insulin levels (i.e., insulin resistance) are associated with a risk of coronary heart disease. In addition, insulin resistance also contributes to the development of hypertension due to the loss of the vasodilator effect of insulin and vasoconstriction3.

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What causes metabolic syndrome?

The pathogenic mechanisms of MetS are complex and yet to be fully elucidated. However, the wide variation in geographic distribution of MetS emphasizes that the consumption of excess calories and lack of physical activity are the major contributors to the development of the disease. Moreover, visceral obesity is the key trigger for most pathways involved in metabolic syndrome.

It is worth saying here that visceral fat may not be visible to the naked eye, but it is the fat that envelops the heart, liver and other organs, representing a real threat. By itself, visceral fat behaves very differently from subcutaneous fat. For example, visceral fat deposits contribute to insulin resistance4. This is due to the fact that the visceral process of lipolysis leads to an increased supply of free fatty acids (FFAs) to the liver. This, in turn, increases synthesis of triglycerides and production of apolipoprotein B, the carrier of “bad cholesterol”. Ultimately, the “bad” particles become smaller, denser and much more numerous and easily penetrate the vascular endothelium, where they cause irreparable damage.

Very high levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and low levels of “good” cholesterol are indirect effects of insulin resistance. If you add to this an increase in triglycerides (atherogenic dyslipidemia), then even at a normal weight, you will get central obesity with the same high risk of death as obesity5.

Thus, as you can see, visceral fat, elevated insulin levels, and an unhealthy lipid profile (unhealthy cholesterol levels) are linked to each other. And all this leads to problems with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension. It is not a surprise why in Healsens, in addition to monitoring weight, we recommend monitoring waist circumference.

Metabolic Syndrome treatment

Exercise

As previously described, MetS results from increased caloric intake out of proportion to metabolic requirements. That is why lifestyle changes are imperative to manage the main risk factors. The first step in reducing risk factors is maintaining ideal body weight. Accordingly, if BMI is increased, then weight loss is an important preventive and therapeutic strategy.

However, weight loss doesn’t have to be a goal by itself. As we wrote above, people whose weight within the normal range may have visceral obesity, which can be measured by checking the circumference of the waist. In this case disease prevention will imply reducing visceral fat without losing weight. The good news is that numerous studies show that it suffice to add physical activity to help the problem. In fact, physical exercise can reduce visceral adipose tissue by 6.1%. Moreover, exercise itself is effective in maintaining muscle mass and facilitating mobility.

As for exercise, if there is nAs for exercise, if there is no personal trainer to consult, 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week will bring good results. These activities include jogging, brisk walking, cycling, or swimming. Medium intensity refers to exercise where your heart rate rises up to 80% of your maximum heart rate. We wrote separately how to calculate your maximum heart rate. Such conscious efforts to make lifestyle changes will be highly beneficial in reducing the risk and treating metabolic syndrome.

Finally, research also shows that judicious use of bariatric surgery has benefits for treating obesity and MetS. This is due to the fact that weight loss helps improve all components of exercise. In turn, exercise increases your calorie intake, promotes weight loss, and reduces your overall risk of cardiovascular disease.

Clinical Note

Bariatric surgery is a branch of surgery that deals with the treatment of obesity. Depending on the surgery, people often lose 30% to 50% of their excess weight within 6 months.

Diet

The second important step in the prevention and treatment of MetS is diet modification. For example, avoiding or significantly reducing the intake of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and simple sugars helps with dyslipidemia, hyperglycemia and hypertension. We talked about this in detail when we looked at ways to lower cholesterol. In addition, we just note that diets with high or very low fat content exacerbate the problem, since 25-35% of our daily calories should come to us in the form of fat. By the way, a meta-analysis of studies showed that only with a diet, visceral adipose tissue decreases by 1.1%. Note that exercise reduced this rate by 6.1%.

So, central obesity is a serious risk factor, and the central factor is the increased sugar content in foods. In addition to home-made sugar, 66% of packaged foods and beverages contain added sugar. This triggers the release of insulin, which causes circulating lipids to be deposited as fat. And the increase in fat, in turn, causes insulin resistance. As these deposits become excessive, fat begins to be deposited in internal organs, appearing in the liver, omentum, skeletal muscles and peripheral organs. Therefore, limiting or avoiding foods containing added sugars is the mainstay of metabolic syndrome prevention.

Pharmacotherapy

What about medications? There is currently no single medicine therapy for metabolic syndrome. Accordingly, pharmaceutical therapy is aimed at treating its individual components. For example, your doctor may prescribe medications to treat dyslipidemia (unhealthy cholesterol levels) if tests results indicate this problem. If hypertension has been diagnosed, appropriate medications will be prescribed to control blood pressure. In addition, your doctor may prescribe antiplatelet medications to reduce your prothrombotic risk. The same principle will be used to reduce the risk of diabetes. So, medical intervention is aimed at stopping or treating certain components of metabolic syndrome.

Supplements or Nutraceuticals for Metabolic Syndrome

Before talking about additives, we should note that they are not recommended as replacement for pharmacotherapies. This is because the benefits of these nutraceuticals are still being researched. However, since they have shown some benefits, they can be used to supplement or reduce the risk of developing MetS.

Curcumin

The active ingredient in this spice has anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties. Curcumin has been shown to suppress inflammation by a reduction in the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Thus, studies of the effect of curcumin on the components of metabolic syndrome in humans have shown positive effects. For example, a significant improvement in fasting glucose, triglycerides, “good” HDL cholesterol. In addition, a decrease in diastolic blood pressure was observed. However, curcumin did not have any significant effect on waist circumference and systolic blood pressure levels6.

Garlic

Garlic is known for its medicinal value due to its antioxidant and antithrombotic properties. Reinhart and colleagues, in a meta-analysis of 29 randomized placebo-controlled trials, showed that the garlic intake lowers total cholesterol and triglyceride levels7. Another study demonstrated the effects of aged garlic extract in people with metabolic syndrome8. In the study, patients took 1.2 grams of garlic supplements per day for 24 weeks. The anti-inflammatory effect of garlic is due to organosulfur compounds in their derivatives. These compounds have antioxidant effects that help fight inflammation. As a result, garlic is proven en to be a promising natural treatment for metabolic syndrome.

Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a natural polyphenol found in edible plants. Clinical studies in patients with insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease have shown promising results. In fact, the use of resveratrol has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, and overall weight and body mass index. In the study, patients took 2 150mg resveratrol capsules twice a day for three months9.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon extracts have antithrombotic, insulin-sensitizing, lipid-lowering, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties that are beneficial in MetS. In a randomized placebo-controlled trial, Ziegenfuss and colleagues demonstrated that the use of an aqueous extract of cinnamon was associated with improvement in fasting blood glucose, blood pressure, and body composition in people with MetS10.

Berberine

Berberine is used in China for its antimicrobial properties and is known to have antidiabetic properties. Studies in humans with MetS have reported a reduction in waist circumference, triglyceride levels, and systolic blood pressure, especially in women11.

Furthermore, nutraceuticals such as omega fatty acids, quercetin, bergamot essential oil, neem extracts, and sulforaphane (extracted from Brassica vegetables such as broccoli) may be helpful in managing MetS. We will keep an eye on new research in this area. In the meantime, let’s summarize all of the above.

First, metabolic syndrome is a global epidemic. It is a chronic disease that is a risk factor for atherosclerotic and non-atherosclerotic CVD. Secondly, existing treatments target different components of metabolic syndrome. In addition, the choice of therapy is quite limited, as there are only a few drugs that have a convincing effect on long-term results. Third, the chronic nature of the components of the metabolic syndrome requires long-term and often indefinite use of various medicines. All this suggests that early diagnosis and preventive treatment of the disease aimed at changing the way of life play an important role.

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thyroid gland hormones

THYROID GLAND HORMONES

All hormones in our body must work in concert to maintain optimal health. Thyroid gland hormones play a major role in regulating this work. In today’s article, we will discuss which symptoms can tell us that not everything is in order with our thyroid hormones. We will also take a closer look at the three ways to check the functioning of the thyroid gland.

This article was last reviewed by Svetlana Baloban, Healsens, on January 24, 2020. This article was last modified on 17 February 2020.

If we look into history, we will see that thyroidology itself (the study of the thyroid gland) is a relatively new field of endocrinology. In spite of this fact, however, as early as in 1600 BC Chinese writers described the treatment of thyroid goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland) with burnt seaweed1. However, the goiter itself was not specifically associated with the thyroid gland. It was only in 1656 that Thomas Wharton first gave the thyroid the name that is still in use today.

How thyroid gland hormones affect health

Thyroid hormone is the main regulator of hormonal levels. Many people do not realize that they have a dysfunction of the thyroid gland even though it is a disorder, every tenth2 of which, leads to many adverse health changes.

In this case we are talking about already diagnosed problems. However, according to the American Thyroid Association, up to 60 percent of people with thyroid disease go undiagnosed3. And an undiagnosed illness can put patients at risk of getting some serious illnesses. How do thyroid hormones affect our body?

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Heart

Thyroid gland hormones have a permissive effect on catecholamines. Catecholamines are a group of similar hormones produced by the adrenal medulla. Those, in turn, increase the expression of beta-receptors to increase heart rate, stroke volume, cardiac output, and contractility4. Often, people with hypothyroidism have very high cholesterol levels (350 and higher), and a bunch of other risk factors leading to a cardiovascular disease5.

Thermoregulation

Thyroid hormones are responsible for thermoregulation, which is why people with reduced thyroid function (hypothyroidism) often complain that they are constantly cold. This happens due to increased available energy in the body, as well as increased appetite, heart rate, and the amount of oxygen delivered to various parts of the body.

Metabolism

These hormones also help control the basal metabolic rate (the rate at which calories are burned). So fatigue and excess weight are also signs of hypothyroidism. On average, an underactive thyroid gland can add 5 to 15 kg of weight. But most of that extra weight will come from water and salt. In addition, decreased thyroid function can cause constipation6, memory problems, and lethargy.

An overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) is characterized by the opposite signs: having difficulty gaining weight, feeling hot, having frequent bowel movements, feeling nervous, and having a rapid heart rate. Other functions controlled by thyroid hormones include metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates, as well as protein synthesis.

Relation to other hormones

There is also an interrealtion between thyroid function and control over other hormone levels. So, deviation of the thyroid hormone level from the norm can adversely affect the work of the adrenal glands. For instance, сertain human autoimmune conditions can destroy both the thyroid gland and adrenal cortex resulting in combined hormone deficiencies7. Moreover, dysfunction of the thyroid gland negatively affects the levels of sex hormones. Hyper- and hypothyroid men have increased rates of sexual dysfunction, including erectile dysfunction (ED). But the good news is that treatment of thyroid disorder at least partially reverses sexual dysfunction8. Thyroid hormone also affects fertility, ovulation, and menstruation9.

What hormones does the thyroid gland produce? In the following, we will discuss three tests for testing thyroid function – thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), free T3, and free T4. You will probably want to make these tests part of your early diagnosis program and get them done regularly.

Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)

Thyroid stimulating hormone is a hormone that stimulates the thyroid gland. It is also known as TSH and is a glycoprotein hormone produced by the anterior pituitary gland. It is the main stimulus for the production of thyroid hormones. The TSH screening test is the first line test for suspected thyroid disease.

According to the American Thyroid Association, TSH levels are typically between 0.4 and 4.0 milliunits per liter (mU / L). However, these ranges will vary among laboratories and the upper limit can be raised from 4 to 5. If your level is higher than this, you are most likely to have an underactive thyroid gland. However, some studies show that this range should actually lie within 0.45–2.5 mIU / L. This is because TSH below the upper limit of the normal reference range poses an additional risk of progression to overt hypothyroidism over time1011.

So, high TSH levels indicate that your thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormones. This condition is called hypothyroidism, which we wrote about above. Low TSH levels, on the other hand, may mean that your thyroid is producing too much hormone, the condition is called hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism can be caused by Graves’ disease. This is a condition when your body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland. It can also be a result of too much iodine in your body.

T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine)

T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine) are the two key thyroid hormones that are produced by the thyroid gland. The main product of thyroid secretion is T4, while T3 is secreted only in small amounts12. However, the activity of T3 is three to four times higher than that of T4. Nonetheless, both hormones play a vital role. Both T3 and T4 contain iodine. And it is iodine that is one of the main building blocks of both hormones. So let’s talk about tests that help measure the content of these hormones in the body.

Triiodothyronine (T3)

So, T3 thyroid hormone is the most active of the two main hormones. Normal levels of total T3 (free and bound) in the blood are between 75 and 195 ng / dL. The normal level of free T3 in the blood is 0.2-0.5 ng / dL.

If your results show high levels of total T3 or free T3, this could mean that you have hyperthyroidism. High T3 levels can lead to unpleasant symptoms such as rapid heart beat, insomnia and anxiety. High T3 levels also can harm the heart and the bones.

Low T3 levels may mean you have hypothyroidism. Typically, the T3 test results are often compared to the T4 and TSH test results. This helps to more accurately diagnose thyroid disease and understand whether the disease is primary or secondary. Primary hypothyroidism is most common; it is associated with thyroid disease and high thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels. Secondary hypothyroidism is less common; it is associated with a disease of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus. The TSH level will be low.

So, if we talk about the role of triiodothyronine, then it regulates the rate of oxygen consumption by tissues, and also stimulates protein synthesis, gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis (which leads to an increase in the concentration of glucose in the blood). It is also responsible for lipolysis and intestinal motor function. In addition, triiodothyronine enhances catabolism and excretion of cholesterol with bile, promotes the synthesis of vitamin A and the absorption of vitamin B12 in the intestine, bone growth, and the production of sex hormones.

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Thyroxine (T4)

A normal total T4 level in adults ranges from 5.0 to 12.0μg/dL. As for free T4, the normal range in adults is 0.8 to 1.8 nanograms per deciliter (ng / dL) or 12 to 30 pmol / L. In general, high thyroxine T4 levels (as well as total T4, free T4, or free T4 index) may indicate an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism). A low level may indicate an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism).

Just like in situation with T3, doctors don’t only look at your T4 level, but also at your TSH level to diagnose hypothyroidism. So, if TSH> 4.0 / mU/L, and the T4 level is low, then this is hypothyroidism. However, if your TSH is higher than  4.0 mU / L and your T4 level is normal, then your doctor will most likely suggest testing your serum thyroid peroxidase antibodies (anti-TPO). If these antibodies are present, it may indicate an autoimmune thyroid disorder, which is a risk factor for hypothyroidism13. In this case you will be advised to take a TSH test at least once a year.

Higher T4 or lower TSH levels are known to be associated with an increased risk of dementia14.

In addition to the two hormones described above, there is another hormone produced by the thyroid gland. It is called calcitonin. Calcitonin is produced by C cells and is involved in calcium and bone metabolism.

The role of the pituitary gland

In conclusion, we’d like to say a few words on how the pituitary gland affects the production of thyroid hormones. Sometimes our body needs more thyroid hormones, and sometimes fewer. For example, when we grow up, feel cold or are pregnant, the thyroid gland, to produce the right amount of hormones, needs help of another gland: the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland tells the thyroid gland whether it needs to release more hormones or fewer hormones into the bloodstream. Also, a certain amount of thyroid hormones are needed to transport proteins in the blood. If the body needs more hormones, T3 and T4 can be released from blood proteins and do their job.

👉Thus, there is no uniform recommendation on the need for screening for thyroid hormones!15

☝️For example, the American Thyroid Association recommends TSH screening for all adults over 35, with retests every 5 years. However, AACE recommends routine screening for TSH in elderly patients regardless of their age. But the USPSTF still discourages routine thyroid screening in non-pregnant adults.

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Lower your cholesterol

LOWER YOUR CHOLESTEROL

Even with these new ideas that inflammation is the cause of heart disease, cholesterol, and its constituents still account for heart problems in most cases. So this time, we’ll discuss what you can do if your lipid level test results exceed optimal levels. We’ll start by looking at how to lower your cholesterol without pills.

However, before getting down to this fascinating topic, let’s remember what problem we are solving.

☝️ Heart disease is the main cause of death.

☝️ 3.9 million people die from heart attacks in Europe every year1. And the cause of heart disease is the inflammatory process.

This inflammatory process begins with an excessive amount of LDL (“bad” cholesterol) particles appearing on the walls of the coronary arteries and causing subsequent oxidation. In turn, HDL particles (“good” cholesterol) reduce the risk of heart disease. So, they move excess LDL back to the liver and thus prevent inflammation and oxidation. We already discussed this topic in our article about the lipid profile.

There is yet another independent risk factor for heart disease: triglyceride (unbound fat) levels. Excessive amounts of high glycemic carbohydrates in the diet, as well as alcohol abuse, are common causes of elevated triglyceride levels.

How then can you lower your cholesterol? The first step to normalizing your cholesterol and triglyceride levels is following a healthy diet.

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How to Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally

Removing trans fats

There are two main types of trans fats in food: naturally-occurring and artificial trans fats. Let’s figure it out. Naturally-occurring trans fats are produced in the guts of some animals. Artificial trans fats (or trans fatty acids), on the other hand, are created in an industrial process. And for this, hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.

It’s worth knowing that trans fats make us fatter than any other food with the same amount of calories. But that’s not all. Researchers at Wake Forest University have found that trans fats increase the amount of fat around the belly2. That happens not only because new fat is added, but also because fat from other areas moves to the abdominal area.

Of course, trans fats raise LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower HDL (good) cholesterol. So it is obvious that it increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

This is why the American Heart Association recommends reducing foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. And in November 2013, the FDA tentatively determined that partially hydrogenated oils were no longer considered safe3. Therefore, it is recommended to choose foods where the trans fat content is 0. Let’s find out which foods can contain trans fats!

Unfortunately, trans fats can be found in many foods, such as donuts and pastries, cakes and pie crusts, cookies and frozen pizzas, margarine and other spreads. You can determine the amount of trans fat by looking at the Product Facts label. However, if “0 grams of trans fat” is indicated, it doesn’t mean that there are no trans fats there. According to the rules, they can still contain between 0 and less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. You can also identify trans fats by reading the ingredient list and looking for ingredients called “partially hydrogenated oils.”

Reducing saturated fat

There is nothing more important to a healthy heart than reducing your intake of trans and saturated fats. They are critical to the effectiveness of the diet. And none of the other nutrients in the diet raises LDL levels like saturated fat.

Foods high in saturated fats include:

  • meat pies
  • sausages and fatty cuts of meat
  • fatty beef,
  • lamb,
  • pork,
  • poultry with skin,
  • foods containing coconut or palm oil
  • cakes and biscuits
  • butter, ghee and lard
  • cream
  • hard cheeses
  • other dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat (2 percent) milk

In addition, many baked goods and fried foods can contain high levels of saturated fats. Health advocates have repeatedly suggested the use of policy instruments to influence consumer behavior. For example, in 2011, Denmark even introduced a tax on saturated fat in food. But a year later, this tax was canceled, although studies have shown its effectiveness in changing consumer behavior4.

It should be said that a healthy body is able to maintain normal lipid levels, regardless of cholesterol intake. In other words, our liver does an excellent job of regulating blood cholesterol levels. However, if you passed the test and saw that you need to lower your cholesterol, then, probably, these mechanisms of cholesterol metabolism have begun to work incorrectly.

To prevent this problem, it is recommended to choose foods with less than 10% D.V* saturated fat per serving. The question naturally arises, what are the alternatives to saturated fats?

*For a 1,500-calorie diet, your daily DRI would be: Total fat: 33 to 58 grams. Saturated fat: No more than 15 grams. Cholesterol: No more than 200 to 300 grams.

What then to eat?

To get the nutrients you need, eat a diet that emphasizes:

  • fruits vegetables,
  • whole grains,
  • low-fat dairy products,
  • poultry, fish and nuts,
  • limiting red meat and sugary foods and drinks.
  • Choose lean meats and poultry without skin. And cook them without adding saturated and trans fats.

You should replace foods high in saturated fat with foods high in monounsaturated and / or polyunsaturated fats. This means eating foods made with liquid vegetable oil, but not with tropical oils. It also means eating fish and nuts. You can also try replacing some of the meat you eat with beans or legumes.

Fruits and vegetables aren’t just good for reducing your intake of trans and saturated fats. Soluble fiber, most of which is found in fruits and vegetables, also inhibits fat absorption. And this helps to lower the level of bad cholesterol (LDL). It is useful enrich your menu with legumes, oats (oat bread, porridge, oat bran in smoothies, and bread crumbs), and ground flax seeds, which can be sprinkled on almost anything.

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Quit smoking

Smokers are two to four times more likely to develop a heart attack than non-smokers5. There are 4,000 toxic substances in tobacco and tobacco smoke, many of which accelerate the processes leading to heart attacks. Cigarette smoking significantly increases the overall level of inflammation in the body6 and dramatically affects the growth of free radicals that accelerate the oxidation of LDL7. In addition, smoking increases the heart rate (HR)8, which accelerates wear and tear on the arteries. We could go on, but we’d rather just recommend not smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke.

Normalize weight

Being overweight is associated with a wide range of health problems, as well as several other risk factors for heart disease. Overweight is becoming a major factor in the development of metabolic syndrome9, type II diabetes, and hypertension10. Obesity significantly increases the risk of heart attacks, according to the extensive Framingham Study. Tens of thousands of people have been observed in this study for over 40 years11. But that’s not all! Being overweight is a major risk factor for increased inflammation in the body12. This is another argument for normalizing weight.

As we discussed above, optimal weight plays a key role in heart disease prevention. Meanwhile, losing even five kilograms of weight can significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks. So, losing weight will help lower LDL, total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. At the same time, it can help you raise your good HDL cholesterol levels.

One study found that adults who took part in a 12-week exercise program, had their LDL cholesterol levels dropped by 18 points and total cholesterol dropped by 26 points13.

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Exploring Food Supplements to Help Lower Your Cholesterol Levels

Omega-3 & Fresh Fish

Certain food supplements may also have a positive effect on lipid profile recovery. So the 2017 study showed positive results when supplemented with omega-3 supplements14. At the same time, it was found that the best results were achieved in the group with fresh fish. So, people consumed 250 g farmed trout fish two times a week for dinner and lunch for 8 weeks. For omega-3s, the dosage was 2 g / day of omega-3 capsules. During the study, the total cholesterol levels dietary-fish group decreased by 53.84 mg / dL (12.7 mg / dL in omega-3 group).

Pic 1

Meanwhile, the method of preparing fish does not play a role and it turns out to be more significant how much fish has consumed1516. And finally, fish is generally recommended as a part of a healthy diet and it is considered to be a key component of a cardio-protective diet17. Moreover, it is an important source of various nutrients, such as protein, n-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, iodine, and selenium.

If you do plan on taking omega-3 fatty acids, please discuss this with your doctor. Especially if you are taking blood-thinning medications.

Flaxseed

Flaxseed contains considerable amounts of α-linolenic acid, phenolic compounds, and lignans, which each have the capacity to reduce circulating lipid concentrations18. So, a meta-analysis of sixty-two randomized controlled trials with a total of 3772 participants suggested that flaxseed supplementation can reduce total serum cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL in unhealthy subjects with high baseline lipids level19. At the same time, the addition of flaxseed is useful if you are already taking medications to normalize your lipid profile. In a study, participants took 28 g of flaxseed for 10 weeks.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Some other research has proven that adding alpha-lipoic acid can enhance lipid profile parameters, except HDL cholesterol levels20.

Calcium and Calcium+D

Positive results were achieved in the study of effects produced by calcium and calcium+D supplements on excess weight patients21. The results showed a decrease in triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol.

Red Yeast Rice

Red yeast rice (RYR), also called red fermented rice or red mold rice, is used as a dietary supplement to lower cholesterol levels2223. It contains varying amounts of natural monacolin K, which is a structural homolog to lovastatin, and shows properties comparable to synthetic statins. So, the research demonstrated that red yeast rice might be able to reduce cardiac events and provide positive effects on cardiovascular outcomes in a fashion similar to that of prescription statin therapy.

The safety profile of RYR supplements is highly similar to that of statins24. That is why RYR is widely used in prescriptions, as well as an alternative medicine and a food supplement, in Asia, the United States, and European countries.

So, we have described natural ways to lower your cholesterol. Of course, there are effective drug treatments for lowering lipid levels. These include statins among others.

This article was last reviewed by Svetlana Baloban, Healsens, on January 24, 2020. This article was last modified on July 24, 2021.

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Drastically reduce the time to detect chronic diseases & inspire healthy habits



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LIPIDENPROFIEL

LIPID PANEL BLOOD TEST: MONITORING AND SUSTAINING HEALTHY

Detecting any kind of blood vessel problems before they lead to a catastrophe is life-saving. This is what we call early detection – the primary purpose of creating our platform. It was estimated by WHO that 17,9 million people died from cardio-vascular cases in 2016, which accounts for 32% of all global deaths1. Of these deaths, 85% resulted from either a heart attack or a stroke. In more than half of these cases, diseases were clinically silent. Till the very day when heart attacks took away their lives they didn’t feel any pain in their chest, nor any heartbeat disorder, which could point to any heart problems. That is why today we will talk about monitoring and sustaining healthy lipid levels and the importance of doing so for healthy living. So, a lipid panel blood test helps to assess the four major risk factors for cardiovascular diseases: total cholesterol levels, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

This article was last reviewed by Svetlana Baloban, Healsens, on January 4, 2022. This article was last modified on 9 May 2023.

Many tragedies can be avoided due to the existence of a few simple, safe and inexpensive lab tests. These tests are able to detect a cardiovascular disease long before it results in a heart attack or a blood stroke. Detect it when it is possible to prevent almost any disorders. Luckily, for taking the recommended medical tests neither big money nor doctors’ prescriptions or permissions are needed.

So, an effective program of early diagnosing is based on a combination of several blood tests, namely homocysteine levels and CRP lab tests, and radiological methods, including calcium score and coronary ultrasonography, which might be added into your Preventive Medicine health checklist.

The American Heart Association recommends that everyone over age 20 get a lipid panel blood test so you know what your levels are and can do something about them if you need to. The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) recommends that adults have their cholesterol checked every 4-6 years2.

Cholesterol Definition

Cholesterol is the form of fat we need to make outer membranes of our body cells stable. However, doctors have noticed for many years that people with high cholesterol levels suffer from cardiovascular diseases more often.

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In fact, they have discovered recently that different forms of cholesterol (“good” and “bad” cholesterol) also play a role. High levels of total cholesterol, high levels of bad cholesterol or low levels of good cholesterol adversely affect the cardiovascular system. For example, LDL or “bad” cholesterol can stick to blood vessel walls. For many years it can be a major factor in artery obstruction and more specifically in hardening of arteries, the process known as atherosclerosis.

Narrow arteries of your heart can get spontaneous blood clots, causing heart attacks and strokes. And high levels of triglycerides in the blood are associated with higher risks of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), even though the exact reason for this is not clear.

Preventive guidelines for a lipid panel blood test among young adults differ, but experts agree on the need to screen young adults who have other risk factors for coronary heart disease: obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and family history.

Less than half of young adults who have these risk factors don’t get cholesterol screening even though up to a quarter of them have elevated cholesterol3.

Lipid Panel Results

Total Cholesterol Levels

Following the recommendations by the US National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) total cholesterol concentration should fall below 200 mg/dL (5.17 mmol/L). 200 – 239 range will be the upper limit, any numbers higher than 240 indicate a risk of cardio-vascular diseases twice as high as that indicated by numbers lower than 200. As a general rule, the higher the cholesterol levels, the higher the risk of cardiovascular disease, although cholesterol is not the only risk factor. However, some new scientific evidence suggests that the optimum total cholesterol should lie within the range of 160 to 180 mg/dL (4.6 mmol/L). This data is supported by some investigation, showing that lowering total cholesterol to these indexes may decrease the risk of cardiovascular cases. If your cardiac computed tomography (CT) or carotid artery ultrasound detected problems, you need to bring your total cholesterol down to these optimum levels.

Fact

More than 102 million American Adults (20 years or older) have total cholesterol levels at or above 200 mg/dL, which is above healthy levels. More than 35 million of these people have levels of 240 mg/dL or higher, which puts them at high risk for heart disease.

Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol or LDL Lab Test Results

LDL stands for lowdensity lipoproteins. It is sometimes called the “bad” cholesterol because a high LDL level leads to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries. An extra LDL, along with other substances, forms plaque. The plaque builds up in your arteries; this is a condition called atherosclerosis.

To define your own optimum LDL cholesterol you have to consider all risk factors from those listed below:

Serious risk factors:

If you found to have one or more serious risk factors, you are in the group of high risk and it’s time to come to grips with the fact that you have to lower your LDL-C levels.

NCEP recommends the maximum level of LDL cholesterol for this high-risk group is 100 mg/dL (2.58 mmol/L).

Key risk factors:

  • Age: older than 45 for men, and older than 55 for women
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Cases of premature heart disease or cardiovascular disease cases among close relatives (parents, siblings, or children) (older than 55 for men or older than 65 for women)
  • High arterial blood pressure (140/90 or higher, or if drugs are taken to normalize blood pressure)
  • HDL levels below 40
  • Calcium score higher than 25 procentile (this is an extra recommendation – it is not listed in NCEP).

If you have one or less key risk factors, then according to NCEP, your LDL levels must be lower than 160 mg/dL (4.14 mmol/L). At the same time if you have 2 or more risk factors, then you should keep your LDL levels below 130, and below 100 would be even better. People who belong to the high-risk group of getting a heart attack or a stroke recommended keeping LDL levels below 100. Some recent studies show (indicate) positive results when the numbers are kept under 70.

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High-density lipoprotein cholesterol or HDL Lab Test results

HDL (high-density lipoprotein), or “good” cholesterol, absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver. The liver then flushes it from the body. But the antiatherogenic properties of HDL cholesterol do not end there. Thus, HDL cholesterol has antioxidant properties and shows an anti-inflammatory effect4. In addition, HDL has the ability to increase glucose uptake by skeletal muscle and stimulate insulin secretion by pancreatic beta cells5.

So, high levels of HDL cholesterol can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. HDL level below 40 mg/dL (or 1.03 mmol/L) is the main risk factor of cardiovascular disease. If HDL level is higher than 60 mg/dL, cholesterol of this type performs barrier function.

HDL Results Tracking in Healsens App

At the same time, HDL levels below 40mg /dL among men and below 50 mg/dL among women are the symptom of (indicate, point to) metabolic syndrome, which in its turn, is also a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Note that there are several reasons for low HDL cholesterol. Thus, type 2 diabetes is commonly accompanied by a low level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. This contributes to the increased cardiovascular risk associated with this condition. In addition, overweight, obesity, smoking, elevated triglycerides (TG), and physical deficiency are among the main factors of low HDL.

As for physical activity, then a recent meta-analysis has provided some insights into how much exercise is required6. So, an increase in HDL concentration was apparent only in people who exercised for at least 120 minutes each week.

Triglycerides Lab Test results

Triglycerides are the main criteria indicating levels of fat in the blood. The high content of triglycerides combined with low HDL levels is considered a characteristic of metabolic syndrome. Often high levels of triglycerides result from high consumption of sugar-containing products and high glycemic index. The general population’s ideal triglyceride level is less than 150 mg/dL or less than 1.7 mmol/L7 by FDA. Anything over 500 mg/dL is considered very high. At this level, there is a high risk of developing pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). This condition can lead to permanent tissue damage. It is usually accompanied by abdominal pain, which can be very severe.

Guidelines for triglyceride levels in healthy adults are:

  • Normal: under 150 mg/dL
  • Borderline high: 150-199 mg/dL
  • High: 200-499 mg/dL
  • Very high: 500 mg/dL or higher

HDL and triglycerides are metabolically connected and are often inversely related: As triglycerides go up, HDL goes down — and vice versa. But that isn’t always so. People can have “isolated” high triglycerides without low HDL levels, and research is now showing that high triglycerides are an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, no matter what the HDL is8.

Lipid Panel Blood Test With Additional  Additional Classes

Some labs provide advanced cardiovascular and lipid panel blood test that go beyond typical cholesterol testing to uncover risk factors for early heart disease.

As you can see there are two new components are added to this test: Lp(a) and ApoB. Lp(a) (also called Lipoprotein(a) is a lipoprotein subclass. Genetic studies and numerous epidemiologic studies have identified Lp(a) as a risk factor for atherosclerotic diseases such as coronary heart disease and stroke. It is similar to low – density lipoprotein (LDL, the “bad” cholesterol) in that it contains a single apolipoprotein B protein along with cholesterol and other lipids. This test measures the amount of Lp(a) in the blood to help evaluate a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD).

ApoB and ApoA-I are the two major apolipoproteins involved in lipid transport and in the processes causing atherosclerosis and its complications. ApoB is the main protein found in the low-density lipoproteins (LDL). Apo B increases this clogging, so your Apo B level may be a better indicator of cardiovascular risk than even LDL cholesterol.

Using the VAP Test tas Lipid Panel Blood Test

So, VAP test or Vertical Auto Profile provides even more detailed information about lipid levels as opposed to conventional examination, since this lab test directly assesses LDL levels. Traditional tests on the other hand measure only total cholesterol, HDL and triglyceride levels, and then use them to calculate LDL levels using these numbers. However, this is not the only advantage of VAP test, as this test gives additional information about the size and a current number of LDL particles, as well as tells about the number of less dangerous, large and spongy A-particles, and more dangerous small and dense LDL B-particles present in your body. Light and spongy A-particles easily push off the artery walls. On the other hand, small and dense B-particles are destructive and easily penetrate artery walls. An elevated number of small B-particles is often found among patients suffering from diabetes or metabolic syndrome.    

Components of Lipid Panel Blood Test

  • HDL2 and HDL3  subfractions
  • Pattern A or B LDL
  • VLDL cholesterol
  • Non-HDL
  • apoB100-calc
  • LDL-R (real)
  • Lp (a)
  • IDL
  • Remnant lipoprotein

Cholesterol VLDL

Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol is a type of fat in the blood. It is considered one of the “bad” forms of cholesterol, along with LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. This is because high levels of cholesterol can clog arteries and lead to a heart attack.

Normal VLDL cholesterol levels range from 2 to 30 mg/dL (0.1 to 1.7 mmol/L).

Because VAP measures additional lipoprotein classes, such as Lp(a), IDL, and subclasses of HDL, LDL, and VLDL, it can identify patients at high risk for coronary heart disease who cannot be identified using the standard lipid panel blood test. In addition, the VAP method is compliant with the National Cholesterol Education Program’s Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines.

Thus, if your lipid levels don’t meet the norms, you should take this test more often, say every four or six months, until you achieve the results you wish.

What to do if your lipid profile is outside the healthy range?

Self-treatment with a balanced diet and regular physical activity can help lower the levels of lipoproteins. If your lipid profile needs correction, consider the following recommendations to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases:

  • Quit smoking if you smoke. Smoking is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. The risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure, or peripheral vascular disease is two to six times higher in smokers compared to non-smokers.
  • Follow dietary recommendations to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as the “five-wheel” approach. The most important nutrients influencing this risk are saturated fatty acids (which increase LDL cholesterol levels compared to unsaturated fatty acids), salt (which raises blood pressure), and fiber (which reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases). Vegetables, fruits, fish, and unsalted nuts also lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Allocate at least 150 minutes per week to moderate-intensity exercises such as walking or cycling. Integrate physical activity into your daily life. Increasing the duration, frequency, and/or intensity of exercises will provide additional health benefits.
  • Include strength and bone-strengthening workouts at least twice a week, especially for older adults.
  • Avoid excessive sitting (more than eight hours a day).
  • Maintain a harmonious psycho-emotional state.

Regarding medications, your doctor may prescribe statins such as simvastatin, lovastatin, atorvastatin, and rosuvastatin. These are well-studied drugs that not only lower LDL cholesterol levels but also have a positive impact on blood vessels.

Your doctor will strive to achieve specific cholesterol levels, typically LDL cholesterol levels below 2.6 mmol/L. Additionally, any side effects will be carefully evaluated. If side effects occur, an alternative medication or a reduction in statin dosage may be offered.

People who couldn’t reach their goals for cholesterol levels taking statins may need high doses or additional medications. Other non-statin drugs include ezetimibe and, less commonly, fibrates or niacin.

Additionally, you can consider some beneficial food supplements. They can also dramatically lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Looking ahead we can say that nutritional supplements work independently and can be used with statins. But we’ll expand on that that in the following articles.

And finally, if you are not ready to start statin therapy or want to understand your risks and potential benefits, there are additional tests. We are talking about such medical research as the calcium index of the coronary arteries or computed tomography of the heart. It is worth clarifying that intimal thickness assessment is no longer recommended for CVD risk assessment. So, for example, atherosclerotic plaques can occur in the absence of thickening of the intima-media9.

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wat zegt crp waarde

C-REACTIVE PROTEIN CRP TEST

C-reactive protein CRP is a protein made in the liver that indicates the amount of inflammation in the body. Like elevated homocysteine, a high CRP level increases one’s vulnerability to cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. Such an increase in CRP levels may be caused by infection, inflammation, trauma, diabetes, as well as certain medicines. In the absence of these main factors, elevated CRP indicates future risks of heart attack.

This article was last reviewed on 10 April 2019. This article was last modified on 14 February 2020.

In addition, increased systemic inflammation is a sign of aging. Therefore, C-reactive protein (CRP) can be classified as a marker of healthy aging1.

It has been found that this marker predicts well the risk of developing age-related diseases and human life span2.

What is the difference between CRP and hs-CRP?

As you’ve no doubt guessed, the difference between CRP and hs-CRP is contained in the “hs” abbreviation – “high sensitivity.”

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Traditionally, CRP, or C-reactive protein, is measured down to concentrations of 3 to 5 mg/L; hs-CRP is measured down to concentrations of approximately 0.3 mg/L. This improved sensitivity allows hs-CRP to be used to detect low levels of chronic inflammation.

So, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) lab test is a marker of inflammation that predicts incident myocardial infarction, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, and sudden cardiac death among healthy individuals with no history of cardiovascular disease. Elderly people with high CRP levels are more vulnerable to serious diseases than their relatives with low C-reactive protein levels.

Which level is considered the norm?

Concentrations less than 1 mg/L indicate low risk of cardiovascular disease.
1 to 2,9 mg/L levels suggest average risk. Concentrations above 3.0 mg/L indicate a high risk of cardiovascular disease

Look at the general guidelines for hs-CRP scores:
● Low risk of cardiovascular disease: Less than 1.0 mg/L
● Average risk: 1.0 to 3.0 mg/L
● High risk: Above 3.0 mg/L

A reading above 10 mg / L can signal the need for further testing to determine the cause of this significant inflammation in your body. Moreover, tests showing serum CRP levels above 10 mg / L in apparently healthy men or women should be repeated after a month3. This is done in order to exclude a latent infection or other systemic inflammatory process.

As you can see, a reading above 10 mg/L may signal a need for further testing to determine the cause of such significant inflammation in your body. It’s worth mentioning that levels of hs-CRP less than 10 mg/L are significant for cardiovascular risk stratification. Higher hs-CRP levels may be the sign of acute inflammation, a chronic illness, a trauma, etc.

C-Reactive Protein as a Biomarker of Cardiovascular Disease

In recent years, hs-CRP has been endorsed by several public health organizations as a biomarker of cardiovascular disease risk45.

As for primary prevention, a number of prospective epidemiological studies have shown that the high-sensitivity method in detecting CRP is highly predictive of cardiovascular accidents6, peripheral vascular diseases, ischaemic strokes, and sudden cardiac death risks even if the patient is virtually healthy. Other major studies in the USA and Europe have proven hs-CRP levels to be a better risk indicator than low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Moreover, since hs-CRP reflects a different cardiovascular risk component, a combination of hs-CRP and lipoprotein profile would significantly enhance total risk estimation. Thus, LDLC levels higher than 160 mg/DL and high hs-CRP levels signal a need to discuss “aggressive” primary prevention and lifestyle changes with your doctor and start a drug therapy in case of therapeutic indications.

Do I need to check my hs-CRP levels if I feel well?

Factors that increase hs-CRP levels are quite numerous. They include obesity, elevated blood pressure, diabetes mellitus type 1 and 2, acute situational reaction, sleep disturbances, etc. In order to make allowance for all the major factors, Healsens will provide your physical assessment, generate your individual profile and help determine the necessity and frequency of controlling your hs-CRP levels.

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What if my C reactive protein CRP level is high?

As we wrote above, for hs-CRP values exceeding 10 mg / L, it is recommended to undergo additional testing to find the causes of inflammation. Since such high levels of hs-CRP are associated with acute inflammation, chronic disease, trauma, etc.

For values below 10 mg / L, the good news is that giving up smoking, regular physical activity, as well as weight-reducing treatment, can lower basic hs-CRP level without any medical help. Healthy eating habits7, green tea89, controlled drinking, sufficient vitamin D1011, vitamin C12, and vitamin K13 in your body can also reduce the level of the reactive protein in the body.

In addition, glucosamine may reduce cancer mortality by lowering C-reactive protein levels. Therefore, if C-reactive protein is higher than 1 mg / L and there are no contraindications such as HOMA-IR14 is not increased, then therapy with this substance at a dosage of 1500 mg per day can reduce cancer mortality and overall mortality15. This is due to a decrease in inflammation, which will be reflected in a decrease in the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein, as expected by about 23%.

The same effect can be achieved through certain medications, such as16:

  • cyclooxygenase inhibitors(Aspirin, Rofecoxib, Celecoxib)
  • thrombocyte aggregation inhibitors (Clopidogrel, Abciximab)
  • cholesterol management products (statins, ezetimibe, fenofibrate, nicotinic acid)
  • beta-adrenergic blocking agents and angiotensin
  • converting-enzyme inhibitors (Ramipril, Captopril, Fozinopril)
  • anti-diabetes drugs (Rosiglitazone, Pioglitazone).

In case any medications must be taken, discuss your therapeutic regimen with your doctor.

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checking homocysteine serum levels

Checking Homocysteine Serum Levels

Homocysteine is produced in our body (it is not contained in food) through the metabolism of an essential amino acid called methionine. Normally, formed homocysteine quickly turns into other, harmless substances – vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid are needed for these transformations. But in elevated concentrations, homocysteine provides a whole range of adverse effects, which we will discuss in detail below. Also, Also, this article describes who and why may benefit from checking homocysteine serum levels in terms of improving health.

Firstly, it can directly damage vascular walls by making them loose. Thus, the damaged surface is subject to cholesterol and calcium depositing, which form an atherosclerotic plaque. Thus, blood coagulation is activated, and this, in turn, leads to the development of atherosclerosis, arterial and venous thromboses.

Secondly, folic acid deficiency, which almost always accompanies an increase in homocysteine, can lead to gross malformations of the fetal nervous system during pregnancy – anencephaly (lack of the brain), and neural tube failure. It is for the prevention of these defects that all pregnant women are prescribed folic acid preparations.

Thirdly, homocysteine in high concentrations has a direct toxic effect on trophoblast cells, from which the placenta is subsequently formed, causing their death and a decrease in the production of hCG – the pregnancy hormone. This can lead to termination of pregnancy (usually in the first trimester) or to impaired placental development, which further increases the risk of placental insufficiency, fetal growth retardation, preeclampsia, placental abruption, pregnant hypertension, and kidney damage.

Elevated homocysteine levels are also associated with increased thrombus formation, as well as higher risks of heart attacks, cerebral accidents, peripheral arterial diseases, and fractures.

Doctors measure homocysteine levels as a possible cardiovascular risk factor, to diagnose homocystinuria, thrombosis, diabetes mellitus, senile dementia and Alzheimer’s, and obstetric pathology. The testing is necessary in a number of situations since elevated homocysteine levels are cytotoxic.

Which level of Homocysteine passes for normal?

The “ideal” homocysteine level levels of about 5-7 µmol/L1.

Good” levels of less than 10 µmol/L2. So, homocysteine > 10 μmol/L is associated with some risk factors like peripheral microvascular endothelial dysfunction (PMED), higher major cardiovascular events, etc.

The normal range of homocysteine levels are less than 15 micromoles per liter (mcmol/L).

Higher levels are: Moderate (15 to 30 mcmol/L); Intermediate (30 to 100 mcmol/L); Severe (greater than 100 µmol/L).


Any higher than 15 and you will want to work with your Health Coach to further investigate the cause.

The latest studies show that homocysteine is an independent risk factor of cardiovascular diseases3. Clinical research shows that a 5 umol/L elevation in homocysteine concentration in blood plasma increases the vulnerability to cardiovascular disease and total mortality by 1.3 – 1.7 times. Lowering of elevated homocysteine levels in blood plasma can prevent cardiovascular complications.

If levels of homocysteine are found to be elevated, it is advisable to measure the levels of creatinine, thyroid stimulating hormones, folacin, cobalamine to define probable causes of hyperhomocisteinemia and suggest appropriate treatment.

Homocysteine, total

Test Code: 31789
Specimen Type: Blood

Acceptable screening test for disorders of methionine metabolism (congenital hyperhomocysteinemia).

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Causes for High Homocysteine Levels

At first, don’t panic if your homocysteine level is above the norm values.

Just because you have high homocysteine doesn’t mean you will develop heart disease or a neurological condition tomorrow, next week or even next month.

That’s the beauty of functional lab tests; they often allow us to catch patterns of disease and imbalance in the body before they become chronic or diagnosable. And if you’re already dealing with a chronic disease, then by examining your homocysteine levels, you’ve gotten one big step closer to uncovering the root cause and getting your health back on track.

It’s worth mentioning that smokers are more vulnerable to hyperhomocysteinemia. Moreover, high coffee consumption is one of the most powerful factors increasing homocysteine in blood. Those who drink more than six cups of coffee a day have 2-3 umol/L higher homocysteine levels than people who drink no coffee.

Elevated homocysteine levels are often associated with a sedentary lifestyle. So, moderate physical activity lowers homocysteine levels in case of hyperhomocysteinemia. Vegan diet can also decrease its levels by 13% without any supplements.

However, the most frequent cause of high homocysteine levels is folacin deficit4. The deficit of cobalamine (vitamin В12) may also lead to homocysteine accumulation5. However, the effectiveness of using vitamins is a subject of debate among researchers. Several major randomized experiments showed that relatively easy lowering of homocysteine levels through taking supplements did not result in lowering vulnerability to cardiovascular diseases6.

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How Often Should You Check?

As with all lab work, how often to re-test is highly individual. Yet, there is a number of indications for investigation, such as:

– cerebral accident, heart attack, thrombosis, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in family history;
– blood-clotting disorder;
– neurological disorders in childhood;
– preparation for IVF, pregnancy;
– chromosomal abnormality of the fetus, congenital defects, complications;
– smoking;
– age higher than 75 years old.

Typically, if your levels are on the high-side your Health Coach will recommend re-testing after about 6 months.

In conclusion, some estimates suggest that if homocysteine levels decreased by 40% would lead to an extra 8 years of life per 1000 men, and 4 years of life per 1000 women.

Unlock your health insights with our smart data analysis – the Free Health Tracker app, your reliable medical record!

Drastically reduce the time to detect chronic diseases & inspire healthy habits



Unlock your health insights with our smart data analysis – the Free Health Tracker app, your reliable medical record!

Drastically reduce the time to detect chronic diseases & inspire healthy habits



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Source: ©️2019 Healsens B.V. All right reserve

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