Category: Heart Disease & Diabetes

Heart Health – Inflammation Increases Risk

Ask for an hs-CRP when you test for cholesterol.

Inflammation is part of the normal healing process. It causes the redness, warmth, swelling, and pain you feel when you get a splinter, for example.

But when inflammation sticks around for a while, it can become chronic. Chronic inflammation is linked to many health problems, including heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, cancer and more.

Inflammation in blood vessels happens when plaque builds up inside the walls of arteries. Sometimes the plaque breaks open, causing the body to send out white blood cells to attack this harmful material and seal it off with a clot of blood. If the blood clot is large, it can block blood flow and cause a heart attack or stroke.[1]

Ask your doctor to order a hs-CRP when you get your cholesterol checked

Elevated hs-CRP means there is inflammation in your body related to the cardiovascular system. People who are otherwise healthy but with elevated hs-CRP values are up to 4x as likely to have coronary heart disease (CHD). Reduction in hs-CRP and LDL are associated with a reduction in atherosclerotic progression.

How to lower inflammation

  1. Find out the cause – food sensitivities, a chronic low level infection, an inflamed gut, toxins, a problem tooth, and more. 
  2. Aside from eating a vegetable rich, low carb, whole foods diet and moderate exercise,
  3. Take an absorbable turmeric (curcumin) supplement[2].  We carry Turiva at BNHC and you can find Theracurmin on our on-line ordering system Fullscript. The dose is 2 caps a day. I take my 2 caps at bedtime to support my heart and to help overall inflammation and better sleep. Turmeric has also been shown to help with fatigue and depression. 

Other lab tests to consider asking for

Read Dr. Maxwell’s about article about the other labs available for a comprehensive cardiovascular screening.  Particularly important for people with a strong family history. 

For an in-depth cardiovascular consult, schedule an appointment by calling us at 208-388-0405.


[2] Gorabi AM, Abbasifard M, Imani D, Aslani S, Razi B, Alizadeh S, Bagheri-Hosseinabadi Z, Sathyapalan T, Sahebkar A. Effect of curcumin on C-reactive protein as a biomarker of systemic inflammation: An updated meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Phytother Res. 2022 Jan;36(1):85-97. doi: 10.1002/ptr.7284. Epub 2021 Sep 29. PMID: 34586711.

The Low Down on Lipids

by Nicole Maxwell, NMD

Approximately 50% of patients experiencing a heart attack or stroke have “normal” cholesterol levels.  What does it mean to have “normal” lipid levels?  What parameters might be better to check to accurately identify your risk?  

The risk of developing heart disease has traditionally been assessed by measurement of LDL-C (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol; the carrier of “bad” cholesterol) and HDL-C (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol; the carrier of “good” cholesterol). The “C” portion in LDL-C stands for calculation.  Unfortunately, this is not a true value but a calculation based on total cholesterol, triglycerides and HDL-C.  Moreover, the LDL-C is known to be inaccurate, particularly as triglyceride levels have risen with obesity, glucose intolerance and diabetes.  

At BNHC we do comprehensive screenings, including:

  • LDL-P: The “P” stands for particle and we can now measure the LDL directly instead of using a calculation.  The higher the LDL-P the more particles there are in your bloodstream which can build up in the arteries and cause heart disease.
  • VLDL-P: These particles are smaller than LDL-P and can get into the artery walls where dangerous plaque forms.
  • HDL-P: Direct measurement of the HDL particles, which tend to be protective.  HDL-P was found to be a better predictor of cardiovascular disease than HDL-C in many studies.
  • Ox-LDL or oxidized LDL: Plaque-specific and directly involved in atherogenesis and late stage atherosclerotic plaque instability and rupture.
  • Apolipoprotein B (Apo B): This is the sole protein constituent of LDL and a stronger cardiovascular risk factor than LDL-C
  • Lipoprotein a (LpA): This is a particle that carries cholesterol and is inherited from one or both of your parents.  High levels increase one’s risk of atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease and is a leading risk factor for strokes.
  • And more:there are even more parameters we can test to create a better picture of your personal cardiac risk, such as CRPhs a marker for inflammation. 

For a more accurate understanding of your true heart health, consider a comprehensive risk assessment with Dr. Nicole Maxwell at Boise Natural Health Clinic.