Hi I’m Dr. Mark Stengler from the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine. And today I want to talk to you about the root causes of cardiovascular disease. Did you know that one in four people in America have a heart attack? Of course that’s related to cardiovascular disease. It’s the number one killer still in our country battling somewhat head to head with cancer. And many people are not familiar with the root causes of why people get arteriosclerosis which is the fatty buildup of plaque in your arteries. Which includes blood flow, can make you more prone to things like a stroke or a heart attack. And so there’s many different factors that are involved. People always hear about high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Yes those are definitely risk factors. Diabetes, absolutely. But there is much more to it than that. Let me give an example. Approximately 50% of people that have a heart attack they have normal cholesterol levels. So obviously there’s more to the picture than just cholesterol. Let me go over some of the other root causes that you should know about and that you should work with a holistic doctor to identify what these root causes are so you can head them off at the pass so to speak and prevent them from becoming a problem. So obviously diet is a big deal when it comes to cardiovascular disease. When you look at other nations where they have a simpler diet more of a plant based diet, not so much processed foods, lower in animal meats. They do have lower rates of cardiovascular disease lower rates of atherosclerosis and so there’s been a lot of research done on the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to significantly reduce people’s risk of cardiovascular disease including heart attack. Other factors include things such as smoking. Of course we know for many years. High blood pressure which I mentioned. But what about having nutrient deficiencies. Having low levels of omega 3 fatty acids put you at higher risk. These good fats help to prevent inflammation from building up in the artery walls as well, they help to improve circulation and blood clotting. A deficiency of vitamin K, magnesium, Coq10, vitamin D, B12, folate and other nutrients are risk factors as well. As with most chronic conditions stress can play a big role in your risk for cardiovascular disease. We know studies show that people that have high cortisol levels, the stress hormone, are much more apt to form plaque in their arteries and they’re at higher risk for high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack. Being overweight or obese certainly is another risk factor. Higher fats, higher lipid levels in the blood, more stress on the heart, higher blood pressure, will cause you to form plaque areas much more readily as well. When you’re overweight it creates inflammatory compounds or chemicals in the abdominal fat which increases inflammation in your arteries. Other things which your doctor may not look at are heavy metals. For example we know things like lead caused the body to increase plaque build up in the arteries or high levels of mercury. Some of these toxins which you get from the environment certainly can accelerate your cardiovascular risk and forming plaque environmental pollution has been studied as well. People that are exposed to high levels of pollution whether it be the gases from cars whether it be pesticides these things are risk factors as well. Even things like high levels of iron in the blood. You know one of the most common genetic diseases in humans is a hereditary condition called hemochromotosis, and that’s where your iron levels are too high you absorb too much iron and that damages the heart and the blood vessels and it is a major risk factor. So now that I’ve reviewed most of the root causes of why people get plaque in your arteries arteriosclerosis you couldn’t work with your doctor or better yet a holistic doctor identified through testing what your root causes are and then you can hone in on where your weaknesses are. And that can help you to reduce plaque or prevent more plaque build up in your arteries beyond just medications. For a complete list of treatments offered and conditions addressed at the Stengler Centre for Integrative Medicine. Please visit our website, call or e-mail the clinic with any questions you may have. So you should work with your doctor and look at these other underlying causes of why people get plaque in your arteries why they get arteriosclerosis and then you can address these problems and you can be much healthier.