The following risk factors are associated with varying degrees of risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). It doesn’t mean that they will cause CVD but when someone has CVD, or an adverse CVD event, such as a heart attack or a stroke, some of these things are typically lurking in the shadows. If someone has any of the following risk factors, they warrant disease screening using a proven preventative method, and we recommend that they should have the CIMT Test.
- Family History – A family history of cardiovascular (related) disease, such as heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes can be telling for an individual’s risk. There are also a number of cardiovascular disease related genetic variants that can give clues to a person’s risk.
- Negative Metabolic biomarkers – Negative metabolic biomarkers are those typically associated with Metabolic Syndrome and insulin resistance (IR). They include the waist line measurement, the blood pressure level, blood concentrations of sugar, triglycerides, and HDL-cholesterol, uric acid, and a select few specialty labs.
- Inflammation biomarkers – Inflammation is a rather broad term, but there are specific inflammatory biomarkers that are strongly associated with the development and progression of cardiovascular disease and the occurrence of an adverse event. A common biomarker that is checked is something called high-sensitivity C-reactive protein.
- Periodontal Disease – Periodontal disease is an infection in tissues that hold your teeth in place. There are varying degrees of disease and this is something that should be treated by a dentist or periodontist. A red flag should go up for anyone whose gums bleed when they floss or eat. Color changes may be seen in the tissue that surround the teeth. Ask your dental hygienist, or your dentist, the next time you are in their chair and see what they think.
- Sleep Disorders – Sleep, or a lack thereof, can have a profound impact on cardiovascular disease adverse event risk. But if someone has an underlying sleep disorder, such as insomnia or sleep apnea, it is paramount that these conditions are treated with a high priority.
- Erectile Dysfunction – Erectile dysfunction (ED), in men, is a red flag to health care providers for something called microvascular disease. If small arterial plaques begin to form inside the arteries of your body, many of the smallest blood vessels can be impacted. The effects of this small blood vessel, or microvascular, disease are most prominently seen in issues with the eyes, the kidneys, and the genitals. Having ED significantly increases a man’s risk for an adverse event.
- Negative Lifestyle Habits – There are many lifestyle habits and circumstances that should be considered. There are the obvious things, like smoking, not exercising, and consuming fast food, that most people know can increase the risk for cardiovascular disease or an adverse event, but then are are some not so obvious things. Sleeping less than 7 hours per night; working more than 55 hours per week, particularly in a high stress job; going through a divorce; Being a firefighter is associated with a 12-fold increase risk for an adverse event during the duties of fire suppression.
- Fatigue – Fatigue, such as a progressive, unexplainable type of fatigue that keeps them in bed or makes the thought of exercise laughable.
- Migraine Headaches – Migraine headaches, in either men or women. But migraine headaches, particularly in women with an aura, are associated with an increased risk for stroke.
- Autoimmune Disease – Autoimmune diseases, and there is a long list, are associated with CVD. The role of this association is thought to be mediated by inflammation.
- Toxic Burden – Toxic exposures, such as pollution, occupational hazards such as smoke or fire, and heavy metal toxicity, are all associated with different degrees of CVD risk.
- Hormone deficiency – Hormone deficiencies of all sorts, in both men and women, can have a profound effect on CVD risk and have other negative health consequences. Thyroid disorders from autoimmune conditions, lack of estradiol from menopause in women, lack of testosterone from hypogonadism in men, or lack of growth hormone from head trauma can all have different and profound effects on our bodies. Any suspected hormone imbalance starts with getting your levels checked.
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