Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in the fats (lipids) in your blood. While your body needs cholesterol to continue building healthy cells, having high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. When you have high cholesterol, you may develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. Eventually, these deposits make it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries. Your heart may not get as much oxygen-rich blood as it needs, which increases the risk of a heart attack. Decreased blood flow to your brain can cause a stroke.
High cholesterol can be inherited, but is preventable and treatable. A healthy diet, regular exercise and understanding your individual dietary needs and reasons for cholesterol problems will allow you to correct it naturally without medications that can complicate your health.
The great news about elevated cholesterol is that it is reversible naturally. Your body has an innate intelligence that is constantly working to correct underlying imbalances in the heart and arteries. The problem with many peoples’ lifestyle is that it gets in the way of this natural repair mechanism. High levels of stress, poor diet and over consumption of caffeine are intimately connected to the extent of disease and only serve to increase the extent of the disease process. The trick here is to understand what a poor diet is. What may damage one person’s arteries could repair another’s system.
It is incredible that the mis-education of America continues at the rate that it does. Not a week passes in my office where I do not have a patient who has been told to follow the wrong low fat diet and is blindly being medicated for elevated cholesterol unnecessarily. Worse yet, the statin drugs being used to control the symptom of elevated cholesterol actually increase the stress on the cardiovascular system and exponentially increase the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
Most people understand that smoking and eating fast food are problems but this is only the tip of the iceberg for the underlying problems. Many people are mis-informed about cholesterol levels also. Elevated levels of cholesterol do not always carry a risk with them if the ratio of good to bad cholesterol is within a normal level. In this, there is a lot of controversy with the aggressive pharmaceutically driven campaign to over-control cholesterol levels. Your doctor may not always be observing the “healthy guidelines” and may be unknowingly putting you at a significant risk of functional heart related issues. Lets be reminded that we make our hormones from cholesterol so low cholesterol is extremely more damaging to the body than high levels. Secondarily, the body uses cholesterol to control inflammation so maybe there is a protective mechanism going on that we really should not rush to suppress. Interestingly, cholesterol is not a bio-marker of life expectancy. So high levels might actually not be as bad as we have been lead to believe.
When working with a Functional Medicine Clinical Nutritionist you will hear the word functional quite a bit. What we are referring to is that subtle changes in your blood work may not always raise the red flags for your medical doctor and underlying causes of elevated cholesterol, like inflammation, may go unaddressed allowing a disease state to continue uninterrupted.
I work in the world of correcting small imbalances to create the environment of self-healing in your body. You may be amazed at the source of your elevated cholesterol. You may also be amazed to learn that the drugs you are taking could be allowing you to sustain your current level of disease and are doing nothing to promote healing in your body. In fact, they may be standing directly in the way of repair. We will use blood work and standard medical analysis to verify that we have reversed the disease process naturally.
It is important to note that when your medical history and health related goals are explored, your consultations are held directly with Dr. Shaw, not an untrained individual, a staff member, a questionnaire or a computer program. You will not be signing up for a “program” and paying money up front for services not yet rendered. Your health care journey in our office is unique to your specific needs.
I look forward to helping you understand the source of your cardiovascular stress. More importantly I look forward to helping you reverse it naturally.— Dr. Conan Shaw Functional Medicine, Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Pittsburgh PA