September is National Heart Awareness Month – a topic that is frequently covered but not often understood. With so much mystery surrounding cause, prevention and treatment, Patrick sheds some light on commonly asked questions that are not often given enough coverage.
GENETICS OR LIFESTYLE
It is true that people can inherit a predisposition to heart attacks; however, that doesn’t mean those with no genetic history of heart attacks are immune to the problem. Studies show that the biggest contributor by far to heart-related problems are lifestyle factors.
“Family histories of disease often turn out to have nothing to do with inheriting genetic predispositions. Rather, they occur due to inheriting certain lifestyle and dietary habits that put you at risk,” says Patrick.
THE IN AND OUTS OF TREATMENT
As we develop symptoms, modern medicine prescribes blood thinners like aspirin and warfarin to prevent clotting. A study published in the British Medical Journal found that these thinners could be dangerous; putting men with high blood pressure at risk to possible severe bleeding. Also, long-term use of statin drugs has been shown, in numerous trials, to cause a CoQ10 deficiency (a vital nutrient for the heart), which when deficient results in fatigue, muscle weakness and sores, heart failure and immunity suppression, particularly in women.
Wherever possible, Patrick promotes natural alternatives; often found to be more effective than drugs with no side effects. Here are two switches that can be made for those being treated.
- Replace aspirin and similar blood thinners with a combination of Vitamin E and Omega 3 fish oils.
- Statins should only be taken as a last resort after undergoing a complete nutritional strategy overhaul.
- Before embarking on any changes, Patrick recommends you consult your doctor.
CONSIDERING HOMOCYSTEINE LEVELS
Homocysteine is an amino acid found naturally in the blood that has been found to be a key predictor of over 50 diseases; including risk of a heart attack, stroke, developing diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
Also referred to as our “H score”, it is an indicative measure of two vital processes in our body – methylation and oxidation-reduction. Methylation refers to our body’s ability to alter our chemical responses that keep us healthy, slowing sown the aging process and keeping the body free of toxifying chemicals.
Oxidation, which results from taking in oxidants from the air, food and drink, damages our cells.
A high H score sends both these processes into their negative state – poor methylation and high oxidation, causing a whole host of diseases, poor recovery and rapid aging. However; when these two processes are in balance (high methylation and low oxidation), you feel great – mentally, emotionally and physically.
According to numerous studies performed by the British Medical Journal, there is a strong association between a high H score and the risk of a heart attack (13 to 14 times greater), regardless of gender.
“Whether you are young or old, sick or healthy, the best time to measure your H Score is now. If you are young, remember that homocysteine does much more than predict risk for diseases – it also shows how well we’ll cope with life’s long rollercoaster ride,” advises Patrick.
Be sure to get a blood homocysteine test annually, available at a number of laboratories including Lancet and Ampath, to check your H score. Should you find that it is high, be sure to read Patrick’s book, The Homocysteine Solution for more clarity on the subject, advice and smart lifestyle changes to help reduce your H score.
It is also worth supplementing with additional nutrients and minerals, as we don’t often get sufficient amounts in our meals. Having carefully studied homocysteine and its effects on various systems within the body, Patrick emphasises that it is important to keep our homocysteine levels low, which is why he recommends supplementing with Patrick Holford’s H Factor.