My athletic friend reached out to me recently to tell me he had a body scan revealing arterial blockage issues and the need for a pipe cleaning procedure. Yep, getting old brings some surprises and challenges, and it’s important to implement healthy habits and track your risk factors. Today, it’s easier than ever to self-quantify with online blood testing, but when you embark on the process of tracking your heart disease risk, it is integral that you are looking for (and at) the right information.

To ensure you receive the most accurate results, I would follow the advice of Dr. Cate Shanahan and Dr. Ron Sinha, who agree that the most beneficial and reliable method of tracking heart disease risk is by focusing on your triglycerides to HDL ratio. We all know HDL: “the good cholesterol” (or “nature’s garbage truck” as some call it) – the higher the levels, the better. HDL goes through the blood stream, scavenging and eliminating damaged cellular material, like small, dense LDL molecules, which unfortunately have a penchant for lodging on the walls of your heart, prompting the oxidation and inflammation of these molecules that leads to heart disease. Not getting enough sleep, eating a high-carbohydrate, high insulin producing diet, and either not exercising enough or over-exercising can all greatly affect your chances of heart disease. Simply put, you want good things to be happening in your blood in order to lower your risk. Obviously, examining your blood is a great way to deduce what’s going on internally, and for decades, doctors have tracked LDL cholesterol levels with the belief that this was the key to detecting heart disease risk. 

However, it’s clear now that examining your triglyceride to HDL ratio is vastly superior to the oversimplified obsession with LDL which has led to widespread statin use, despite a recent UCLA meta study revealing that 80% of heart attack victims had LDL values considered to be in the safe range. Instead, take the focus off the LDL numbers and check out your triglycerides. Firstly, if you’re over 150, it is time to get that down (like, yesterday) because that is too freakin’ high! A triglyceride level over 150 indicates that your bloodstream is seriously overwhelmed by the amount of fat circling around in it, so if you are over 150, then try minimizing (or even full-on cutting out) the amount of refined grains and sugars in your diet, and see what happens after three weeks of this change. Chances are, you’ll find your numbers have gone way down. 150+ is high, but you can decrease it in a matter of weeks if you really commit to making the necessary tweaks in your lifestyle. 

For some, even under 150 is too loose – Dr. Sinha recommends you aim to get your triglycerides under 100. It is critical to get your triglycerides to HDL ratio under 3.5 to 1 (if you’re over, you’ll find yourself in the “ticking time bomb” category). Ideally, Dr. Shanahan and Dr. Sinha want to see a 1:1 ratio. Getting your triglycerides even with your HDL is the goal, so let’s say you get your HDL at 60, 65: then you’ll want to drop you’re your triglycerides to 60 – 65 as well. 

Many more details are offered in this show about good tests to order and values to strive for. Visit places like DirectLabs.com or UltraLabTests.co m and order some tests. All you have to do is purchase your test, head to a nearby lab for a blood draw, then receive your results by email in a few days. Then you can take action with medical professional if necessary or do some dietary modification to correct red flags. 

UCLA Study link: https://www.uclahealth.org/most-heart-attack-patients-cholesterol-levels-did-not-indicate-cardiac-risk 

TIMESTAMPS:
Brad reminds you that it is important to get blood tests frequently. [04:52] 

Stay strong and fit by modifying your lifestyle. [06:00]

The hard choices pay off down the line.  Get a routine. [09:24] 

What a disaster to think that 71% of the fuel we’re putting in our bodies is merely low octane fuel to burn for energy that’s almost entirely deficient in the micronutrients that we need to be healthy. [11:31] 

Move around more! People with a devoted fitness regimen still show signs of metabolic dysfunction and disease patterns. [15:30] 

Keep your heart rate in the low range of 180 minus your age when exercising. [21:07] 

Once in a while push your body; do something challenging. [24:00] 

Have workouts short in duration and explosive in nature. [25:22] 

Should you feel sore after working out? [27:14] 

We should have periods of brain downtime. [28:58] 

Dim Light Melatonin Onset is when you allow the sleep hormone and restorative hormone flood the bloodstream so you can sleep. [30:54] 

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