Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tip the scales towards plaque reversal

Tip the scales towards plaque reversalThere’s no one easy formula to achieve coronary plaque reversal: no single pill, supplement, food that guarantees that you drop your heart scan score.

But there are indeed factors which can work in favor or against the likelihood that you
gain control over your coronary plaque
Does everyone who tries to reverse coronary heart disease and reduce their heart scan score succeed? No, not everyone. There are indeed people who fail and see their heart scan score increase. There are usually identifiable and correctable reasons for this to happen. Occasionally, even someone who does everything right still sees their score increase. Thankfully, this is unusual.

There are a number of basic requirements that everybody needs to follow if you hope to gain control over your coronary plaque. There are also less common factors that need to be corrected only by some people. There are also factors that make it more difficult to drop your score.
What makes plaque reversal more likely?
Among the most important facets of the Track Your Plaque program are the recommended targets for conventional lipids: LDL 60 mg/dl, HDL 60 mg/dl, and triglycerides 60 mg/dl: 60-60-60. We call this the Track Your Plaque “Rule of 60”. (Refer to the Special Reports on each of these factors to see how we accomplish this. There’s no quick and dirty pill or supplement that immediately achieves these numbers, but there are indeed effective ways.)

The metabolic syndrome must be eliminated. This usually means weight loss, exercise, and reduction of high-glycemic index foods sufficient to achieve normal blood pressure (preferably 130/80 or less), normal blood sugar (≤100 mg/dl), a C-reactive protein <1.0 g/l. This is also good for your long-term health. The metabolic syndrome is a pre-diabetic condition. You can’t remain pre-diabetic for a lifetime. Unless corrective action is taken, you will convert to a full diabetic. You need to put a stop to this for lots of reasons, including gaining control over coronary plaque .

Lower scores are easier to control than higher scores. A level of 200 or less seems to represent a fairly distinct cut-off between easier and tougher. Having a higher heart scan score of, say 500, doesn’t means it’s impossible, but it will be somewhat tougher and may require a longer period. We’ve seen really high scores in the thousands take 2 to 3 years, for instance.

Taking fish oil. It’s truly shocking how few people take fish oil, even when they’ve suffered a heart attack. It’s simple, virtually harmless, and inexpensive. Yet the benefits are enormous. Fish oil is a crucial requirement for controlling coronary plaque.

Reaching a blood 25-OH-vitamin D3 level of 50 ng/ml. Though our appreciation for this fact is recent, it’s among the most exciting developments in coronary plaque reversal. In fact, we would rank vitamin D as among the most important heart health discoveries of the last 40 years, along with CT heart scanning and fish oil.

Having an optimistic attitude that allows you to see the bright side of problems, overcome difficulties, and engage in healthy relationships with family and friends. Optimists have an easier time in life and they seem to reduce their heart scan scores much more readily.
What makes plaque reversal tougher?
There are some obvious factors that make it less likely that you will drop your heart scan score: cigarette smoking; an unrestricted diet rich in donuts, fried chicken, spare ribs, and cookies; diabetes; uncontrolled high blood pressure; kidney disease. Chances are that, if these factors are uncorrected, you will simply not drop your heart scan score. It is much more likely that your score will increase, sometimes substantially, year after year. Eventually, heart attack or a major heart procedure (actually a lifetime series of procedures) will catch up to you.

More recently, we have seen several well-established diabetics drop their score, sometimes as much as 30%. However, it still remains more difficult if diabetes is part of the picture, as compared to a non-diabetic.

Pre-diabetes represents an intermediate between full-blown diabetes and non-diabetes. However, from a plaque reversal viewpoint, it does make it substantially tougher to drop your score.

Having lipoprotein(a), or Lp(a), also makes it more difficult. We have had more success in halting the increase in heart scan scores (i.e., holding the score steady without increase or decrease) in people with Lp(a), less success in dropping scores. Though our track record with Lp(a) is getting better and better, it still remains a tough nut to crack. With Lp(a), it is clear that you’ve got to work harder to succeed.

Higher scores are tougher to drop than lower scores. Someone with a starting score of, say, 1800, will have to try harder and for a longer period than someone starting with a score of 70. This holds true even if they share the same set of lipoprotein causes. The person with the higher score may even require 2 or 3 years before they see the score stop increasing or decrease, while the person with the lower starting score may drop their score in the first year. People with scores of <100 can even occasionally see zero again. This is not possible (with present-day knowledge) with high scores.

We’ve recently begun to appreciate that a pessimistic attitude may play an important role in your program. People who are angry, critical, see the bad in everything, are isolated and lack social involvement, have a much more difficult time reducing their scores.
Coronary plaque in the balance
In the Track Your Plaque program, we try to help you achieve as many advantages as possible to gain control over coronary plaque. While not perfect, the Track Your Plaque approach is, without question, the most effective program available anywhere.

Obviously, we can do nothing about our genetics, but we can identify and correct as many factors as possible. In this way, we tilt the scales heavily in favor of dropping your heart scan score.

Copyright 2007, Track Your Plaque, LLC

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