California Center of Longevity Medicine
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Los Angeles Longevity & Functional Medicine Doctor

Dr. Allan Kurtz

Board Certified Internal Medicine
Fellowship in Functional Medicine

Heart Attack and Stroke
Prevention Center of Southern California

Health Tips Blog

Know Your Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

By: California Center of Longevity & Functional Medicine on December 28, 2017

Normal Cholesterol Levels Do Not Mean Southern Californians are Safe from Heart Attacks and Stroke

Studies show that roughly 50% of men and women who suffer from heart attacks or strokes have "normal" cholesterol levels. This makes clear that men and women in Los Angeles who receive regular cholesterol screenings, and have normal levels of cholesterol, are still far from immune from suffering one of these grave medical events.

Why HDL and LDL Results Can Be Misleading in SoCal

For years, men, women, and physicians have largely relied upon levels of LDL and HDL cholesterol screenings to measure overall cardiovascular health. However, new studies have shown that a better predictor of risk of stroke and heart attack lies in measuring inflammation in the body.

That doesn't mean that LDL and HDL levels shouldn't be measured. They are important tests, and Los Angeles area men and women should continue to have these tests performed. However, countless illnesses, medical conditions, and diseases are rooted in inflammation. In fact, all conditions or diagnoses ending in "itis" such as sinusitis, bronchitis, colitis, appendicitis, hepatitis, gastritis, and so on, are named as such because "itis" literally means "inflammation." When it comes to the arteries, veins and blood vessels, the terms vasculitis, arteritis, angiitis are all terms indicating inflammation. Therefore, knowing that inflammation has the power to wreak havoc on virtually all systems of the body, it's more important than ever to measure inflammation of artery walls, to take steps to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

What Role Does Cholesterol Play in Inflammation of the Arteries?

Cholesterol and inflammation are intimately connected. Consider that inflammation in the arteries occurs as the result of "injury." Injury to the arterial wall is often caused by the buildup of cholesterol, and ensuing oxidation. Once the artery wall is injured in this way, your body's natural defense is to produce an inflammatory response, which attempts to remove the cholesterol from the wall of the artery. Over time this inflammatory response can lead to the buildup of dangerous plaque, thereby narrowing the arteries. This of course, greatly increases your risk of heart attack or stroke, as the blood is unable to flow unobstructed through your cardiovascular system. Fortunately, inflammatory biomarker testing is now available to look for signs of inflammation that can lead to cardiovascular disease.

Inflammatory Biomarker Testing in Los Angeles

Inflammatory biomarker testing is available at the Heart Attack and Stroke Prevention Center of California, through the Cleveland Heart Lab. This advanced inflammation testing uses key biomarkers to illuminate your risk for cardiovascular disease. This testing includes measurements of:
  • ADMA
    Elevated levels of ADMA are linked to hypertension, subclinical atherosclerosis, insulin resistance, and endothelial dysfunction (dysfunction of lining of blood vessels).
  • F2-Isoprostanes (F2-IsoPs)
    Elevated levels indicate oxidative stress in the boy, and put men and women at high risk for atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the artery wall, causing narrowing of blood vessels).
  • High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP)
    This protein is released by the liver into the blood when inflammation is present. Elevated levels have been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events in both healthy people and those who have stable coronary artery disease.
  • Lp-PLA2
    Measuring levels of this vascular specific inflammatory enzyme is crucial for understanding true risk for coronary heart disease.
  • Microalbumin
    The protein which can be measured in urine illuminates potential dysfunction of the kidneys. Elevated levels of microalbumin are associated with risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Myeloperoxidase (MPO)
    Like Lp-PLA2, myeloperoxidase is a vascular specific inflammatory enzyme. It is released by white blood cells indicating plaque, erosion, or arterial wall fissures. Elevated levels of MPO are associated with risk of cardiac events, or cardiovascular problems.
  • Oxidized LDL (OxLDL)
    Elevated levels of oxidized LDL may indicate poor lifestyle choices, and indicate oxidation, which causes stress or injury.

Know Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Los Angeles

While it is a good first step to have regular cholesterol screenings, men and women in the San Fernando Valley and throughout Los Angeles need to also schedule inflammation testing. Cholesterol screenings alone will not identify dangerous inflammation. In other words, you may have low or normal levels of cholesterol your whole life, but still be at risk for cardiovascular disease, as the result of inflammation.

At the Heart Attack and Stroke Prevention Center of California, in Woodland Hills we are proud to offer these innovative inflammation biomarker tests, to help you to understand your true risk of cardiovascular disease. To schedule a consultation contact us today at 818.346.1440

Dr. Allan Kurtz, founder of the Heart Attack and Stroke Prevention Center of Southern California in Woodland Hills focuses his practice on functional, preventative medicine and is dedicated to helping his patients achieve their best quality of life, while improving longevity. Dr. Kurtz specializes in creating ideal health and longevity plans for patients of all ages. Fellowship trained in Integrative and Functional Medicine, Dr. Kurtz is also a member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and The Institute for Functional Medicine. The California Center of Longevity & Functional Medicine and the Heart Attack and Stroke Prevention Center of Southern California are located in Woodland Hills.