Monthly Archives: September 2014

Are My Arteries “On Fire”?

Role of Inflammation in Plaque Formation and Rupture

Chronic inflammation in the body is the root cause of many medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease. Other diseases related to inflammation are diabetes, depression, hypertension and Alzheimer’s disease. Inflammation attacks the walls of the arteries and increases risk of plaque formation and plaque rupture: the cause of heart attacks and strokes. Inflammation is the body’s natural defense mechanism to fight off infection and toxins. If the natural balance of our immune system is disrupted, it can shift into a chronic state of inflammation, adversely affecting our entire body, including our arteries where cholesterol is then deposited and plaque buildup begins. (See ‘How Plaque Causes a Heart Attack or Stroke’ article)

The following three blood tests are independent predictors of risk factors for heart attacks and stroke:

  • CRP-hs (C-Reactive Protein-highly sensitive) is a simple blood test that measures the amount of inflammation in the body.   Lp-PLA2 is a blood enzyme that is released from vulnerable, rupture-prone plaque in the arteries.  Elevated levels of both Lp-PLA2 and CRP-hs increases the risk for a heart or stroke event of up to  5X the normal risk.
  • MPO (myeloperoxidase) is an enzyme in white blood cells that is linked to inflammation and plaque activity. MPO is a marker for vulnerable rupture-prone plaque. Elevated blood levels of MPO predict an early risk of heart attack in patients with chest pain.

For more information: www.clevelandheartlab.com/wp-content/uploads/…/MPO-Practice.pdf

Obvious causes of inflammation include arthritis, infection and injury. Other causes include:

  •  Diet high in sugars, refined flour, trans fats, saturated fats and processed foods
  •  Overweight, especially abdominal fat (Waist: Women – 35” and Men – 40”)
  •  Smoking
  •  Lack of exercise
  •  Stress, physical and emotional
  •  Sleep deprivation of less than 7 hours per night (possible Sleep Apnea)
  •  Toxins (mercury, lead)
  •  Food allergies, such as gluten and dairy
  •  Nutritional deficiencies including Vitamins D, B, C and Omega-3 fatty acids

How can inflammation be lowered?

  •  Diet: LOW in trans/saturated and low glycemic index carbohydrates, HIGH in monounsaturated fats,
  • fruits and vegetables.
  •  Aerobic Exercise – five days a weeks for 30 minutes/day
  •  Smoking cessation
  •  Weight loss – goal of BMI below 25
  •  Omega 3 fatty acid supplements (EPA & DHA)
  •  Fruits and vegetables
  •  Stress management techniques
  •  Adequate sleep
  •  Medications & Supplements, including Statins, Fibrates, Niacin, Vitamin D3, fiber

Contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn, M.D., a specialist in female urology.  Don’t continue to suffer, call his office today for an appointment 714-912-2211 or visit his website at www.gordongunnmd.com.

Dr. Gordon Gunn also proudly serves Buena Park, La Mirada, Yorba Linda, Diamond Bar, Walnut and surrounding areas

 

Heart Disease & Stroke – Update 2014

Consider the Following Facts:

  •  Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) includes heart attacks, strokes and peripheral artery disease (abdomen and legs). CAD is the number one cause of death in the United States, resulting in over 900,000 deaths annually and representing nearly one half of ALL causes of death.
  • Additionally, hundreds of thousand of women and men survive their initial attack and frequently with varying degrees of disability.
  • For an excellent overview of cholesterol and the role of plaque in causing heart attacks, strokes and peripheral arterial disease visit: www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/cholesterol-and-artery-plaque-buildup

Good News: Over the past two decades major advances in the research of cardiovascular
disease and the role of cholesterol and atherosclerotic plaque has demonstrated that this process
is potentially preventable and reversible, thereby preventing heart attacks and strokes.
In 2004 I began a clinical study using screening office vascular ultrasound testing to diagnose
the presence of cholesterol plaque within the carotid arteries to the brain, abdominal aorta and
the femoral arteris in the lower extremities. When any plaque is present, a complete diagnostic
carotid artery duplex ultrasound is performed to determine exactly what type and location of
the plaque is present as well as the amount of narrowing (stenosis) of the artery, blood flow
pressures and surface contour of the plaque. This diagnostic carotid artery study establishes a
baseline with which future ultrasounds can be compared for stability, progression or regression.
Results to date: In patients who have made significant changes in their lifestyle habits and have
followed my recommendations, the result has been very encouraging. In nearly 2000 patients
the progression of their disease (as measured by their carotid artery plaque) has been stopped,
stabilized and even reversed. And to my knowledge no events have occurred to date. In fact,
there are a number of patients who NO longer have any evidence of their previous plaque. The
ramifications of these findings are monumental for the potential of significantly reducing the
mortality and the morbidity caused by this disease.
Remember: Plaque may be common as we age, but it is NOT normal. It is a disease and is still
is the Number 1 cause of death and disability in the U.S. However, it has been clearly
demonstrated that plaque can be stopped and even reversed.
 The Key:
o Diagnosing the presence of plaque before it ruptures, causing a heart attack or stroke.
o Treating patients with asymptomatic (subclinical) disease (plaque) in the same manner as
those patients who have had a heart attack or stroke (clinical) and survived.