Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease

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In assessing your risk for cardiovascular disease, the following are the most important markers to consider. Discuss having a blood test with your GP that includes all of these, particularly homocysteine, which is not always part of a regular blood screen.

You are at a higher risk of heart disease if you have any 3 of the following 5:

o Increased waist circumference (> 35” women, > 40” men).

o Increased blood pressure (> 130/85).

o Increased fasting blood sugar (> 100 mg/dl USA, > 5.55 mmol/L UK).

o Increased triglycerides (> 150 USA, > 1.69 mg/dl UK).

o Decreased HDL cholesterol (< 50 women, < 40 men USA, < 1mmol/L UK).

o Increased homocysteine levels. Just a slightly raised level can increase your risk of a heart attack. In fact published literature indicates that homocysteine is an independent cardiovascular risk factor modifiable by nutrition (i.e. right amount of vitamin Bs) and exercise.1

o Increased CRP. C Reactive Protein is a marker of inflammation in the body and more and more experts who study blood vessels, plaque, and heart attacks in minute detail have been developing an inflammatory explanation for heart attacks.

If there is a family history of cardiovascular disease in YOUR family, it is possible, and in fact in the U.K. becoming more common, to request a LDL -P test.

Click here for TT’s tips on heart-healthy anti-inflammatory diet guidelines, healthy fats and the Mediterranean diet.

1 Ganguly P and Alam SF (2015) Role of homocystein in the development of cardiovascular disease. Nutrition Journal. 14(6).