Today's Post: Monday, 11-7-2011
(This is part 2 to the post on Friday, 11-4-2011)
Here, I repeat the background part and summarize part one. Next I continue this two part post.
Last week, the online health news had an article based on a study that found that the amount of LDL people had when tested often either overstated or understated their risk.
The reason was the particle size of their LDL. Here’s how that works.
Large particle LDL usually tends to act like beach balls or tumbleweeds and just roll over the surface of the insides of your blood vessels.
But small particle LDL in your blood vessels acts much like pouring sand into an engine. It’s literally so small that it slips into the chinks in the molecules that make up the surface of your blood vessels. This causes irritation and your body may then add extra patching which builds up the junk narrowing your blood vessels even more.
So if you have more particles meaning your LDL is made up of more small particle LDL, your real risk can be far higher.
The article then discussed if it was worth paying extra for an expensive direct test to see if you have this higher risk – or if you have lower risk.
That’s a reasonable question, since such a test can more accurately show your real risk!
Here’s why I’m writing this post. (It can be valuable for both laypeople and doctors not familiar with the new discoveries in assessing heart risk.)
Here’s the point of this post:
You DO very much need to know this information and how to fix it if it’s bad. BUT, you do NOT need the direct test!
WITHOUT GETTING A TEST AT ALL,
1. If you eat the packaged snacks, packaged desserts, and commercial baked goods and other foods that contain hydrogenated oils and trans fats on most days, your particle count will be high. So will your plaque build up in your blood vessels.
If you never do and you eat mostly health OK protein foods and oils, nonstarchy vegetables and some whole fruit, your particle size will be low.
And, if you test as high by testing as having low HDL and high triglycerides, changing completely in this one area will lower your amount of dangerous small particles of LDL.
2. If you never exercise at all, your particle count will be high – or much higher than it could have been.
Getting vigorous exercise several times each week on a sustained basis, directly lowers your particle count!
So, if you have already been doing that for 3 to 7 days a week for many months or years, your particle count will be low.
That means the answers to those two questions both can tell you if you have the extra risk or likely don’t have it. They also explain how to fix it if your particle count is high.
We went into more detail on these two factors last time.
Here are some more.
3. Not eating packaged snacks, packaged desserts, and commercial baked goods and other foods OR drinking either regular soft drinks or diet soft drinks, will keep your particle sized down for another reason.
These foods almost all contain one or more of these: High fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, sugar, &/or refined grains.
Tests have found that eating and drinking things that include these ingredients causes you to have blood sugar spikes which can lead to type 2 diabetes. The resulting too high blood sugar makes ALL your LDL harmful. And, the rebound hunger and excess insulin and added calories tend to make you fat.
But that’s far from all!
Your HDL goes down and your triglycerides go up a LOT! If you read part one, you know that means that your dangerous small particle LDL also has gone up a lot too.
So if you eat these things and drink soft drinks many times each week, your small particle LDL count will be high. And, you are on the way to becoming fat if you aren’t already. Plus you are giving yourself heart disease too!
That means eating packaged snacks, packaged desserts, and commercial baked goods and other foods several times a week or a day tends give you heart disease in two ways!
Both your test results and your heart attack risk will improve a lot if you completely stop doing this all the time and multiple times a week.
And, it’s easier to get that done if you stop entirely. Homemade desserts a few times a year that use whole grains and real sugar and no hydrogenated oils can be OK. But if lowering your heart risk is important to you dropping the rest of it completely, is important!
Soft drinks, both regular and diet, also increase your heart attack risk in more than one way. They too increase your amount of small particle LDL. And, they also are even more effective at fattening you and increasing your level of blood sugar.
If they push your blood sugar high enough, you get type 2 diabetes which then makes ALL your LDL harmful. (The excess sugars that stick onto your LDL make it into a carrier of bits of superglue that tear your artery walls and get stuck in your capillaries, often blocking or destroying them.)
4. Exposure to tobacco smoke also causes you to have higher amounts of small particle LDL.
Your HDL goes down. What’s left is less effective at clearing your arteries. So your effective HDL goes down even more than the test shows! And, direct tests show the amount of plaque build up in your blood vessels goes up!
This is true for EVERY exposure to tobacco smoke too. It doesn’t matter if you smoked yourself or someone next to you did.
That means every exposure to tobacco smoke harms you by increasing your heart disease risk. Each time it’s small; but over months or years or decades, the effect is HUGE.
This means that, unlike cancer, which some smokers and people exposed to second smoke, do escape, the risk from tobacco smoke for heart disease risk is completely certain.
Every time it happens you are harmed. So if you smoke or are around a smoker every day, your particle count will be high. And your real risk of heart disease will be high.
So in that case you don’t need the advanced test for LDL particle size and its cost. You already know that you are in trouble; and getting rid of your exposure to tobacco smoke is the cure.
(If you once have any build up of your heart attack risk, tobacco smoke ALSO triggers heart attacks you might otherwise have escaped we recently found out!)
5. Using oils high in omega 6 instead of extra virgin olive oil lowers your HDL.
That means it increases your amount of small particle LDL too.
Doing that combined with NOT getting enough omega 3 oils also increases your inflammation which tends to cause heart disease, looks to cause many cancers, and recent research found it also causes osteoarthritis.
That means that soy, corn, and safflower oil should be almost completely avoided. (Soy and corn oil are cheap. So they get put into a huge variety of foods. So to avoid them, always read labels.)
Unfortunately, it also means you should minimize your intake of canola oil.
Instead use extra virgin olive oil.
And for the plant based omega 3 oil, eat raw walnuts instead if you aren’t allergic. Eating raw, unsalted nuts causes your HDL to go UP. Canola oil has the plant based omega 3 oil; but too much omega 6. Walnuts have the plant based omega 3 oil; but somehow avoid driving your HDL levels down.
A. To conclude, if you get tested with a lipid panel, you don’t need the direct test of LDL particle size.
If your HDL level is high and your triglycerides are low, over 60 on your HDL and your triglycerides are under 100, your small particle LDL is low. So is your risk of heart disease.
Unfortunately, if your HDL is low, under 40 -- or worse under 30 -- and your triglycerides are high, over 150, over 200, or far worse over 300, your heart risk is very high.
B. If you eat a lot of eating packaged snacks, packaged desserts, and commercial baked goods every week; you drink several soft drinks or diet soft drinks every week; you never read labels to avoid hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, refined grains, trans fat, and excess sugar; you never exercise; and/or you are often exposed to tobacco smoke, you don’t need any test at all!
Your level of small particle LDL and heart disease risk are both extremely high.
If you avoid all of these; and you do regular exercise every week; and eat only real foods instead and drink things like water, club soda, tea, green tea, and coffee; and you avoid tobacco smoke, you could get a lipid panel just to be sure.
But the chances are excellent your level of small particle LDL and heart disease risk are both quite low.
As a bonus, you will also be far less fat. You will be less likely to get osteoarthritis. And, you will escape many cancers. Then too, the exercise also slows aging and grows new brain cells.
That means if you are a doctor and test people with lipid panels, you don’t need the extra cost direct test of the amounts of small particle LDL.
Look at the HDL to triglyceride level ratio. And ask in detail about these health habits.
That tells you both what the risk is and what to tell patients to do to lower it.
And, if you are the person who wants to know your heart disease risk and keep it low, you don’t need the extra cost direct test of the amounts of small particle LDL either!
Do your best to put all these factors into the good category. Unless you are already too late, that will protect you.
(One caveat. If you have not yet been exercising, read the system to follow to get into it GRADUALLY as far as intensity and amount per time. It’s in last Friday’s post of 11-4. That way is MUCH safer and more likely to get you into doing it from now on!)