Cardiovascular Health at Shea Medical

Cardiovascular disease is still the number one killer among Americans today. It claims far too many lives due to a shortage of cardiologists that know how to treat the actual causes of heart disease. Cardiology in today's reality mostly gravitates around emergency surgical procedures with the idea of prevention solely being focused on cholesterol-lowering pharmaceutical drugs.

In emergency cases surgical procedures can be necessary, however, our team at Shea Medical has reversed the need for the majority of surgical procedures due the fact that we have helped our patients naturally return to optimal health. Below, we will provide you with in-depth explanations regarding the causes of cardiovascular disease and how our unique approach can help you.

Part 1 - Downfalls of Conventional Cardiology

Let's Review the Statics on Cardiovascular Disease

  • Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in America today, and it claims as many lives as the next leading eight causes of death combined, including cancer and AIDS.
  • Cardiovascular deaths are responsible for 950,000 deaths a year in the United States.
  • It is estimated that 57 million Americans (over one fifth of the U.S. population) currently suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease.
  • According to the U.S. government, one million Americans will die from a clogged artery.
  • Every 34 seconds an American dies from a heart attack.
  • Every 53 seconds someone in the United States suffers a stroke.
  • More than 6.8 million Americans undergo heart bypass, balloon angioplasty and other circulation-related procedures each year.
  • Over 50% of those who have a heart attack never have prior symptoms of heart disease.
  • 50% of people who die of a heart attack have normal cholesterol levels.
  • According to the American Heart Association, some drug remedies increase the risk of a heart attack by 60%. Many high blood pressure medications actually exacerbate the problem.
  • The average cost of a bypass procedure is about $45,000. Approximately 500,000 bypasses are performed annually, making it a multi-billion dollar industry.
  • The total cost incurred by cardiovascular disease and stroke in the United States is estimated at about $259.1 billion per year.

Three Major Deficiencies in Conventional Cardiology

There are three major deficiencies in the current approach to cardiovascular treatment:

1 - Prevention Conventional cardiology is mainly reactive rather that proactive and a lot of money is spent solely on emergency procedures. Many of these procedures could be avoided through effective heart disease prevention programs that are aimed at helping the general public learn about disease prevention.

As part of our cardiovascular program, we take a proactive approach to heart health by providing patients a variety of treatments to help them avoid the need for cardiovascular surgery and minimizing the risk of disease.

2 – Ignoring Causative Factors Heart patients usually receive a stent or bypass procedures and are then put on medication to lower cholesterol or high blood pressure. But no examination is performed as to what caused the need for these procedures in the first place. In fact, there is a lot more to cardiovascular care than simply blocked arteries, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Some heart attacks are not even related to blockages at all!

Shea Medical's program goes beyond these three factors to examine and address all the potential causative factors in a heart disease patient, including: emotional stress, obesity, diabetes, chemical toxins, heavy metals, infections, hormonal deficiencies, nutritional and antioxidant deficiencies, metabolic syndrome and chronic inflammation, etc. We will elaborate more on all of these in greater detail in the paragraphs below.

3 - Longterm Follow-Up and Care Is Missing Oftentimes, heart disease patients will end up needing additional surgeries or procedures further down the road because they haven't been provided the proper longterm follow-up. If the true causative factors are not properly addressed, then the underlying problems will be allowed to progress. Unfortunately, there are large amounts of money being spent on these conventional procedures and the money being continually spent causes the one-sided approach to thrive despite the lack of results.

Part 2 - Dietary Necessities and Cardiovascular Health

There is More to Cardiovascular Health than just Weight Loss

Being overweight is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease, but there is a lot more to it than just that. Numerous detailed risk factors contribute to the real underlining causes of cardiovascular disease. Now, let's break down some of the key dietary factors correlated with heart disease.

A New Breed of Heart Disease: Is Your Diet to Blame?

Interestingly, in the early 1900's, Myocardial Infarction, known as a heart attack cause by a massive blood clot in a coronary artery, was almost nonexistent, causing less than 3,000 deaths per year. However, by 1960, Myocardial Infarction was responsible for a staggering 500,000 deaths per year in the United States. The numbers have grown tremendously since then, nearly doubling.

Look At the Data and Dietary Factors

Some researchers believe that this new breed of heart disease may be attributed to our food intake. In the early 1900's, Americans consumed mostly animal fats, including lard and butter from pasture-fed animals. The difference, however, is that these particular fats were stable and provided many of the important nutrients that our bodies need.

Today, most of the calories from fats that are consumed in our diets come in the form of liquid vegetable oils and trans fats that have been hardened through the process of hydrogenation in a laboratory. Another distinguishable fact is the amount of processed corn products we ingest without even knowing it. High fructose corn syrup can be found in almost any food throughout the aisles of many non-farmer's market grocery stores.

The large amounts of calories that now come from polyunsaturated vegetable oils are still very new to the human digestive system. These vegetable oils contain a large numbers of free radicals, which can cause damage to the arteries and initiate plaque formation. These oils also lack essential vitamins for heart health, including vitamins A, D, E and B, which are naturally occurring in animal fats.

Fats that Kill and Fats that Heal

Also, these foods contain high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids and not enough omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are responsible for producing anti-inflammatory and clot-inhibiting prostaglandins. Omega-6 fatty acids do the opposite - they are used by the body to initiate clotting and inflammation, which is important to healing wounds. But when amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 are imbalanced, it can lead to the formation of blood clots, which can ultimately lead to heart attacks.

The Wrong Low Fat Diet a Common Cardiology Recommendation

Further problems can be caused when people attempt to "improve" their diets by eating foods low in saturated fat or cholesterol. The substances that generally go into such foods often contain trans fatty acids, which are notoriously bad for heart health. People who are aiming to reduce their fat intake will also generally replace fat calories with carbohydrate calories, usually in the form of refined flour or sugar. These substances have also been linked to heart disease, causing problems such as increased adhesiveness of the blood platelets.

Protein and Heart Muscle

Lastly, when protein intake is inadequate, the heart muscle can shrink. But soy-based liquid protein drinks and other foods can actually predispose to arrhythmias. And high protein diets that do not contain enough fat can deplete the body of vitamin A and D and interfere with mineral assimilation.

Get the Correct Nutrition In Place For Your Heart

Many people are aware of the role that diet can play in heart disease, and so they supplement their diets with such products as fish oil, flax seed, and antioxidants. While these substances are beneficial, the imbalances and deficiencies found in patients with advanced coronary disease require much more than supplements.

Shea Medical's program combines the best aspects of conventional cardiology and aggressive natural treatments to deliver therapeutic dosages of antioxidants to the body. Our treatments can also reestablish the presence of healthy fats in the body and rebuild deficient nutrient levels. At Shea Medical, patients receive the benefit of clinical dosages and state-of the art care instead of relying solely on ingesting products from the shelf that can only be consumed at micro-dosages.

Part 3 - Critical In-depth Laboratory Tests Explained Know Your Risks

Going Beyond Cholesterol: An In-depth Look at Testing

The most common and standard heart disease evaluator used today is the cholesterol panel. While cholesterol can be used as one indicator of heart health, it is only a piece of the puzzle. There are a whole host of biochemical markers that should be analyzed to get a total and accurate picture of cardiovascular health.

No one marker is determinant, but when analyzed together, these markers give a good indication as to what treatments are needed to protect against heart disease or traumatic cardiovascular events. These markers are generally overlooked by conventional cardiology.

Total Cholesterol

Despite its bad reputation, cholesterol actually has a good and important function in the body. It protects cell membranes against free radical damage that can lead to cancer and other free-radical induced diseases. Elevated serum cholesterol, however, has been linked to increased risk of atherosclerosis. But total cholesterol can only provide a very general assessment of cardiovascular health and other markers must be examined.

Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL)

Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are responsible for delivering cholesterol to cells for membrane and steroid hormone synthesis. In healthy systems, most LDL in the circulation is removed every day through LDL receptors. Research has shown that elevated levels of LDL are a major contributor to coronary heart disease by promoting cholesterol accumulations in macrophages and smooth muscle cells that can lead to the development of atherosclerotic plaque. Thus, LDL markers are vital for a complete interpretation of total cholesterol levels.

High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL)

Unlike LDL, high-density lipoproteins (HDL) can actually protect against atherosclerosis by removing cholesterol from peripheral cells. Good levels of HDL markers are therefore predictive of a lower risk of coronary disease. Many of the markers listed above powerfully influence the risk of cardiovascular disease both on their own and by interacting with one another. Thus, a composite analysis of all these factors must be had. For example, research has shown that the combination of high LDL cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, and low HDL is more predictive of heart disease than elevated LDL alone.

Apolipoprotein A-1

Apolipoprotein A-1 is contained in HDL, and thus, higher levels of this protein indicate a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Apolipoprotein B

Apolipoprotein B, on the other hand, is contained in LDL, and thus, it is predictive of an increased risk of coronary artery disease.


Homocysteine is an amino acid that can act as an abrasive, scraping the inner layer of blood vessels. Normally, endothelial cells in healthy arteries form a continuous protective layer that prevents substances from passing through plasma to the underlying artery wall. But these cells can be injured, allowing direct interaction between products in the blood stream and the artery wall.

When homocysteine scrapes artery walls, it can cause the formation of atherosclerotic lesions, among other problems. High levels of homocysteine have been shown to cause a threefold increase of the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack), and these levels are thus a critical marker for heart disease. Deficiencies in vitamin B12, folic acid and/or B6 can cause an increase in homocysteine levels in the blood and are important regulators of this amino acid.


Triglycerides are fatty oils that can affect the progression of atherosclerosis. Increased triglyceride levels can be caused by diets high in saturated fat and excess carbohydrates.

Lipoprotein (a)

Lipoprotein (a) is a highly "sticky" substance that can bind to endothelial and macrophage cells, promoting the deposit of cholesterol and other fatty waste in blood vessels. It is many more times dangerous than cholesterol because it is more adhesive. It can accelerate atherosclerosis by binding LDL (low-density lipoproteins) to the blood vessel wall. High levels of lipoprotein (a) can cause a two-to-five fold increase in the risk of atherosclerosis.

Lipoprotein (a) also interferes with fibrinolysis, which is the process by which clots are dissolved. As a result, lipoprotein (a) promotes thrombosis, or the formation of a clot inside a blood vessel that obstructs the flow of blood through the circulatory system. This condition can ultimately lead to heart attack.

Lipoprotein (a) is hereditary, and it is largely unaffected by many of the external causes of heart disease, such as smoking or exercise. This fact may explain why 40% of individuals who suffer a heart attack are "healthy," and do not smoke, have fatty diets, hypertension or show signs of other risk factors. Lipoprotein (a) has been dubbed as the most important genetic factor associated with early atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. But, unfortunately, conventional cardiology does not generally test for this important marker.


Fibrinogen is a globulin that can promote atherosclerotic plaque, clot formation, and injury to the endothelial cells in blood vessels. It greatly affects coagulation and thickening of the blood. High fibrinogen levels may be indicative of a vascular accident, which is characterized by irritation or damage to the blood vessel wall.

Vascular accidents can be caused by exposure to chemicals, such as chemotherapy or environmental toxins, or by viral or bacterial infections, among other factors. These vascular accidents have been shown to contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease. Other factors that can increase fibrinogen include: oral contraceptives, inflammation, obesity, smoking and stress.

C-Reactive Protein

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a good marker of systemic inflammation, which is a predictor of heart attack and stroke. CRP is produced as part of the inflammatory response, and it can encourage coagulation and damage to the endothelial cells in blood vessels. Aspirin is thought to have an anti-inflammatory affect, thereby reducing levels of CRP.

High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein: Inflammation and Heart Disease

Inflammation is the process by which the body responds to injury or infection. Research has shown that inflammation may play a role in the buildup of fatty deposits in the inner lining of arteries. The major factors that can cause inflammation and concomitant damage to the heart include hypertension, hyperglycemia, smoking, atherogenic lipoproteins and infection. These factors cause the release of chemicals and the activation of cells involved in the inflammatory processes.

Inflammation in Cardiovascular Disease

In response to inflammation, levels of a plasma protein called high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP) rise dramatically. Thus, high-sensitivity CRP is a good marker of inflammation and it can be used as a risk predictor of heart disease. Levels of high-sensitivity CRP can also be used as a way to measure the effectiveness of treatment.
Studies have shown that high levels of CRP have consistently predicted recurrent coronary events in patients with unstable angina and acute myocardial infarction (heart attack). Studies have also shown that higher levels of CRP may increase the risk that an artery will reclose after balloon angioplasty, and it may predict prognosis and recurrence of stroke and peripheral arterial disease.

Other Important Tests That We Review

Other factors to also examine that are indicators of heart health include: elevated levels of glucose and insulin due to metabolic dysfunction, stress and fatigue, hormone imbalances, infections, fatty acid imbalances, antioxidant deficiencies, amino acid imbalances, oxidative stress and heavy metal toxicity. Each of these elements affects the risk for cardiovascular disease in different ways, and all of them should be tested for, examined and treated properly, something cardiologists do not address.

Part 4 - Oxidative Stress Accelerating Damage to Your Heart

How About Cardiovascular Disease and Oxidative Stress

Free radicals are molecules that contain an unpaired electron in their molecular structure. As a result, they are highly unstable and reactive. Free radicals attempt to stabilize themselves by attaching to other cell membranes in the body, "robbing" those cells of electrons. This attack generates another unstable free radical molecule, which then attempts to rob electrons from other molecules, thereby beginning a chain reaction that can eventually lead to cell death. This process is called oxidation. It is estimated that free radicals attack cells in our bodies thousands of times a day.

Damage and Free Radical Stress

Free radicals are influenced by both internal and external factors. They are produced naturally in the body as byproducts of normal metabolism, or by the breakdown of bacteria or by other processes. But they are also formed because of external factors such as pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke, car exhaust and other environmental toxins.

The body can protect itself from free radical damage through antioxidant molecules and enzymes. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by donating an electron to them or by robbing one from them. But when the body does not have enough antioxidants to fend off the amount of free radicals generated, oxidative stress occurs.

Heart Disease Under Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress has been linked to heart disease, which is one of the most widespread diseases associated with free radical damage. Compared to other organs, the heart is relatively susceptible to free radical damage. High blood pressure and increased heart rate can cause the production of free radicals.

If there are not enough antioxidants to neutralize those free radicals, oxidative damage to the heart can occur. Oxidative stress can also affect the ability of cells in the blood vessels to expand and dilate in response to blood flow, leading to arrhythmia and heart attack. Also, oxidative stress can make certain types of lipids or fats more harmful to the heart. There is substantial evidence that oxidative stress plays a major role in the atherosclerotic process.

We Can Measure and Neutralize Oxidative Stress Quickly

The degree of oxidative stress can be measured by natural killer cell cytotoxic activity, cell apoptosis, cell cycle analysis, lipid and protein peroxidation, reduced glutathione, and cellular levels of ascorbic acid.

Antioxidants can help counteract the damage caused by free radicals. Although fruits and vegetables contain the greatest amounts of antioxidants in nature, their effectiveness as a source of dietary antioxidants is minimal for three reasons. First, the concentrations of antioxidants in plant tissues vary widely; secondly, ripeness, storage and growing conditions affect antioxidant levels; and thirdly, the amount of antioxidants that can be consumed through fruits and vegetables is insufficient to alter the course of advanced coronary disease. Therefore, aggressive intravenous therapies must be used to produce antioxidant levels in the body that are sufficient to counteract the damage caused by free radicals.

Part 5 - Our Toxic World and Cardiovascular Disease

Heavy Metal Toxicity and Heart Disease

Heavy metals are all around us. They are in our food supply, our water supply, the air we breathe, our household cleaning supplies and other daily tools. Heavy metals cannot be metabolized by the body and therefore can accumulate in the body as the result of environmental or occupational exposure. Heavy metals are at least five times as dense as water.

Chronic and toxic heavy metal exposure can cause cardiovascular problems, among others. For example, accumulation of toxic mercury has been linked to an increased risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack) and with death from cardiovascular disease in general. It has also been shown to influence such things as heart rate, blood pressure and angina, among others.

Cadmium, which is found is tap water, marijuana, processed meat, rubber, seafood, tobacco, welding material, evaporated milk, instant coffee, dental alloys, candy, paints and other substances can replace zinc in the arteries, making them brittle and inflexible. Iron, which is found in cookware, iron pipes, drinking water, shellfish, bran, whole grain, yeast, can cause high blood pressure and heart failure. Lead, which is found in auto exhaust, cigarette smoke, colored inks, pesticides, rainwater, toothpaste, wine, cosmetics, hair dyes, lead pipes, lead-based paint, has also been linked to cardiovascular disease. Nickel, which is found in peanut butter, hydrogenated vegetable oils, margarine, imitation whip cream, cigarettes, tea, wine, can increase the risk of heart attack.

There are over 12 different heavy metals that can wreak havoc in the body. Many of these substances can also affect heart health. There are different tests that can be used to measure heavy metal exposure, including blood tests and the provocative urine test.

Infections Exposures and Heart Disease

Only half of coronary artery disease and half of carotid plaque can be explained by the usual risk factors such as age, sex, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, smoking and diabetes. For more than a century it has been thought that viruses and bacteria can play a role in heart disease, but it is an area that has been largely overlooked by conventional cardiology.

More and more, research has been revealing a link between chronic infection and the development of artherosclerosis, unstable angina, myocardial infarction, and stroke. Specifically, research has shown that Chlamydia pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus, and bartonella (which travels with Lyme disease) may all play a role in heart disease. Evidence is growing that also shows a possible link with herpes viruses, influenza, bacteria such as Mycoplasma pneumonia, and chronic infections such as periodontal disease, chronic bronchitis, and chronic urinary tract infections. A number of these pathogens have been found in atherosclerotic lesions at autopsy.

The ways in which chronic infection can affect heart disease are varied, and may include increased coagulation, endothelial dysfunction, and instability of pre-existing plaque by T-cell activation or other inflammatory responses, and the increased progression of atherosclerosis because of the influence of inflammation on plaque progression.

Environmental Toxins and Heart Disease

Oxidative stress can also occur as the result of exposure to environmental toxins and pollution. Over the past decade, epidemiological studies have shown that short and longterm exposure to environmental pollution produces a consistent, increased risk for cardiovascular events, including heart attack and stroke deaths.

Air pollution contains many substances, including carbon monoxide, nitrates, sulfur dioxide, ozone, lead, tobacco smok, and particulate matter. Particulate matter is made of solid and liquid particles, which can be particularly harmful to cardiovascular health. These toxins affect heart health in different ways. For example, secondhand tobacco smoke can accelerate the progression of atherosclerosis; carbon monoxide can decrease the level of oxygen that blood can carry.

Part 6 - Oxygen the Essential Nutrient for the Cardiovascular Rejuvenation

Oxygen: The Key Nutrient for the Heart

The nature of heart disease is characterized by a lack of oxygen to the heart. This condition can result in a variety of discomforts, including chest pain, difficulty breathing and other problems. But surprisingly, finding ways to increase oxygen supply to the heart has not been a focus area of conventional cardiology. The physiological importance of oxygen to the heart has been known for centuries, but only recently has developments been made in delivery methods and dosage amounts. Largely, these advances have been made in the area of natural medicine techniques.

The body uses an enormous quantity of oxygen each day, which is vital for sound cell function and regenerative processes. The continuous intake of oxygen through respiration and the transport from alveoli into mitochondria is the source of intracellular energy production and the origin of all the physiological cellular reactions.

Benefits of Oxygen to the Heart

The benefits of increased oxygen supply to the heart have been documented. Certain heart conditions can cause injury to surrounding cells. Injuries to cells will cause fluid accumulation, which can break the cells' membranes. Oxygen can reduce the fluid accumulation in injured cells, thereby minimizing cell death in the heart. Oxygen can also decrease activity by certain free radicals and can increase the ability of the heart to pump blood.

During a critical cardiac event, increased oxygen can have a defibrillating effect that prevents rapid contractions of the heart, death of heart muscle cells and abnormal dilation of the blood vessels. It can also reduce chest pain associated with ischemic heart disease and it can reduce blood cholesterol levels. It exerts an anti-arrhythmic action on the heart and can increase the effectiveness of various heart medications.

Sleep Studies Oxygen and Your Heart

Recently, the role that oxygen plays in heart health has been confirmed by the connection between sleep apnea and heart disease. Sleep apnea may affect some forms of heart disease because it causes a drop in oxygen. When oxygen drops, carbon dioxide levels increase. The brain then triggers the release of adrenaline-type substances as part of its "fight or flight" response. The brain will rouse people with sleep apnea briefly from sleep to reopen their airways, but it is so brief that most people don't remember waking up.

Not surprisingly, people with sleep apnea may awake with shortness of breath and headaches and they often feel tired during the day. Sleep apnea can cause drastic reductions in arterial oxygen tension and in patients with coronary disease, this condition can cause arrhythmias or ischemia of the heart. Because of low oxygen, the body also releases other substances that can damage the lining of blood vessels, which can in turn worsen high blood pressure and other forms of cardiovascular disease. Sleep apnea can also increase the risk of heart failure, stroke, abnormal heart rhythm and heart attacks.

Part 7 – Emotional Stress and Heart Disease Proven

"Broken Heart Syndrome" - Severe Emotional Stress and Heart Disease

Research has shown that some people may respond to overwhelming emotional stress by releasing large amounts of catecholamines, such as epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenalin), into the blood stream. Along with this massive release of catecholamines are small proteins produced by an over-stimulated nervous system.

These substances are temporarily toxic to the heart and can disrupt its function. The result is stress cardiomyopathy, a condition that mimics a classic heart attack, including chest pain, fluid in the lungs, shortness of breath and actual heart failure. Researchers have dubbed this condition "broken heart" syndrome, because it is brought on solely by emotional stress rather than by the classic physiological causes, such as plaque build-up.

Patients who have experienced this condition do not have blockages in their arteries, they do not have elevated levels of cardiac enzymes that are typically released into the blood stream after a heart attack and they do not suffer permanent muscle damage. Instead, the muscle damage suffered after broken heart syndrome is reversible, unlike that suffered from a classic heart attack. Recovery time after broken heart syndrome is also much faster - most completely recover within two weeks.

The Widow Maker with Catecholamine Stress

Patients who have suffered broken heart syndrome show initial catecholamine levels that are two to three times that in patients who suffer classic heart attacks and seven to thirty-four times as high as normal levels.

But broken heart syndrome is not the only way the heart is affected by emotional stress. While broken heart syndrome can be caused by a single traumatic event, the deleterious effects of stress on the heart can also be cumulative. Stress that lasts over a long period of time can negatively affect the entire body, including the adrenal glands. The importance of strengthening the body from the effects of years of chronic stress is critical to heart health and function.

Part 8 - Genetic Risks, Metabolic Syndrome, Insulin and Woman with Heart Disease: The Untreated Areas of Cardiology

Genetic Risks, Personalized Medicine and Heart Disease

Recent advances in genomics have revealed 18 DNA variants associated with heart disease. Six of these genetic variants are new. The newly identified genetic variants are associated with levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Out of those six, two are associated with LDL cholesterol, one with HDL cholesterol and five with triglycerides. These new variants have the potential to help predict a patient's risk of genetic heart disease.

Cholesterol and triglycerides are fats or lipids that make up every cell in the human body. Levels of both lipids in the bloodstream are determined by a combination of genetics and lifestyle factors. Importantly, researchers may now be able to use genetic testing to identify whether a patient will develop high cholesterol. Those at risk are then able to take advantage of early intervention and treatment, preventing further damage to blood vessels. Also, this genetic information can be used to identify the right treatments for individual patients.

New genetic biomarkers have also been discovered that may predict whether a person is likely to develop coronary heart disease based on their risk of developing diabetes. Diabetes is strongly linked to the development of coronary artery disease. Individuals with shorter telomeres 1 are generally pre-diabetic or have Type 2 diabetes, and they thus are considered at increased risk of developing heart disease.

Metabolic Syndrome: The Link to Diabetes and Heart Disease

While few have heard of metabolic syndrome, it is one of the largest contributors to heart disease and diabetes. The problem is that most people that suffer from the disorder do not even know that they have it. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of metabolic disorders that are associated with the primary disorder of insulin resistance. All of the disorders associated with metabolic syndrome can lead to cardiovascular disease.

The problems associated with metabolic syndrome include: obesity, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, abnormal cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels, hypertension, elevated C-reactive protein in the blood (a pro-inflammatory state), and abnormalities of blood clotting. Each of these disorders needs to be treated individually and aggressively.

Insulin Resistance and Heart Disease Explained

All of these problems are associated with the primary disorder of insulin resistance. Normally, the pancreas is responsible for secreting the insulin hormone, which attaches to cells and removes glucose from the bloodstream so that it can be used for energy. The production of insulin is triggered by the absorption of food into the bloodstream in the form of sugar or glucose. But in patients who have insulin resistance, the cell's ability to respond to the insulin hormone is diminished. In response, the pancreas secretes more insulin to compensate for the cells' insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a marker of metabolic syndrome and not a cause.

Major Increased Risk of Heart Disease with Metabolic Syndrome

People with metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of early heart disease and heart attacks because the disorder can cause plaque buildup in artery walls, hardening of the arteries and blood clots. People with metabolic syndrome are also at increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Metabolic syndrome is thought to run in families.

While it is estimated that around 50 million Americans currently have metabolic syndrome, it is largely under-diagnosed. The reason for the under-diagnosis is that there are no well-accepted criteria for diagnosing the syndrome. The American Heart Association recommends that a variety of factors are examined, and that the presence of three of more of the factors is indicative of the condition. Some of the factors examined include: elevated waist circumference (men: 40 inches or more; women: 35 inches or more); elevated triglyceride levels; reduced HDL cholesterol; elevated blood pressure and elevated fasting glucose.

Metabolic syndrome is not addressed properly by conventional cardiology, if at all. But if left unchecked, metabolic syndrome will continue to fly under the radar as a major contributor to heart disease.

Women and Heart Disease Overlooked Danger

Coronary heart disease is the most important cause of death among post-menopausal women, especially in the United States. Menopause can trigger unique changes in women's bodies that put them at increased risk for heart disease. Unfortunately, the relationship between women and heart disease has been largely ignored to-date.

Menopause is accompanied by an unfavorable change in lipid profiles for women. Namely, there is an increase in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and a decrease in high-density lipoprotein (HDL). While a high level of HDL has been shown to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, a rise in LDL increases the risk by up to 2% within six years.

Woman Hormone and Heart Disease Risks

Increased levels of lipoprotein (a) have also been found in postmenopausal women. Lipoprotein (a) may cause the production of clots and atherosclerosis. Lipoprotein (a) is many more times dangerous than cholesterol because it is more adhesive. Conventional cardiologists typically do not test for lipoprotein (a), but it is found in 40% of patients who are at genetic risk for heart disease. Even if found at elevated levels, conventional cardiology does not have the therapies necessary to reduce those levels or counteract the damage it can cause.

Menopause and Insulin Resistant Risks

At menopause, women can also become more insulin resistant and experience an increase in android fat (central and upper body fat). Android fat has been associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease, unlike gynoid fat found in the lower part of the body. Early menopause can also cause an increase in hypertension, which is one of the most powerful and prevalent known cardiovascular risk factors. Women who enter early menopause often show an increase in diastolic blood pressure.

Let's Never Again Overlook Woman with Cardiovascular Risks

But women are generally overlooked when it comes to heart disease prevention. Usually, menopausal women are simply sent to their gynecologists for hormone balancing. At the most, women will be told to obtain a cholesterol panel or lipid profile by their doctors.

But, as part of standard protocol, conventional cardiology does not run the necessary tests to examine other factors, such as insulin resistance, hypertension, and levels of lipoprotein (a) in menopausal and post-menopausal women. At Shea Medical, we look well beyond hormone balancing to the underlying risk factors and causes of disease. Heart disease is as much a concern for women as it is for men.

Why Shea Medical Is the Best Choice

The statistics prove that heart disease treatment is not at all under control in United States. At Shea Medical, we offer the most advanced integrative medical tools for testing and treatment for the reversal of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. We can help you achieve optimal cardiovascular health by going above and beyond the testing protocols of other clinics and hospitals.

We have the experienced medical team and the advanced treatments to help you permanently turn your health around. If you have any questions and would like to learn more about your cardiovascular treatment options at Shea Medical, please don't hesitate to contact us.