Understanding Cholesterol and Heart Health: Debunking Common Misconceptions

In this video, the speaker addresses common misconceptions about cholesterol and heart attacks. They argue that the topic is often oversimplified and that blanket recommendations for statin drugs based solely on high cholesterol levels can do more harm than good. The speaker emphasizes the importance of understanding cholesterol’s role as a building material and structural component in the body, as well as its significance in the function of the cell membrane. They also discuss the different types of LDL and HDL and highlight the damaging effects of small, oxidized LDL particles. The speaker presents case studies and blood work results to demonstrate the potential benefits of lifestyle changes and natural remedies in improving overall health and reducing the risk of heart disease. They caution against solely focusing on cholesterol numbers and stress the importance of addressing the root causes of metabolic health issues. The speaker also discusses the mechanisms and potential risks of statin drugs, including their impact on coenzyme Q10 production and the association with various side effects. They emphasize the need for a holistic approach to health and encourage individuals to consult with their doctors and consider additional testing, such as a coronary artery calcium score, for a more comprehensive evaluation of their heart health.

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Key Insights:

  • Cholesterol and heart attacks are often misunderstood topics in healthcare.
  • Simply categorizing HDL as good and LDL as bad is overly simplistic.
  • Using statin drugs to lower cholesterol should be considered carefully and not as a first line of treatment.
  • The body synthesizes cholesterol, including in the liver, and cholesterol is necessary for various bodily functions.
  • Cholesterol is a critical component of cell membranes and is important for brain function.
  • LDL and HDL are both necessary and serve different functions in the body.
  • Small LDL particles are a result of inflammation and oxidative stress, which are caused by sugar, toxins, and excess free radicals.
  • Statin drugs primarily work by upregulating LDL receptors on the liver but do not reduce small LDL particles.
  • Statin drugs can have significant side effects, including muscle pain, neurological problems, and increased risk of dementia.
  • High cholesterol levels do not necessarily indicate poor health and can actually be neuroprotective and lower all-cause mortality.
  • Lowering cholesterol should not be the sole focus if other health markers, such as glucose control and triglyceride levels, are improving.
  • Scars, electromagnetic fields, toxins, and other factors can impact cholesterol levels, and addressing the root causes is essential for long-term change.
  • A calcium score test can provide insight into plaque buildup in the coronary arteries and an individual’s risk of heart disease.
  • Understanding the bigger picture and individual health markers is crucial when making decisions about cholesterol management.


Hello Health Champions. Cholesterol and heart attacks are perhaps the most misunderstood topic in all of healthcare and as a result, a lot of people get hurt and are suffering needlessly. And here are just some of the problems we hear forever that HDL is good LDL is bad. High cholesterol is bad and that’s just way way too simplistic. There’s so much more to it than that we hear that a statin drug could be necessary after we try diet and exercise without success but the question is what diet and what exercise are they trying and very often people ask me or I see suggestions of natural remedies to lower cholesterol but the question is are we sure we want to lower it now please keep in mind that I am not saying that a stat drug is never a good idea I’m not saying that cholesterol can never be too high or out of balance that’s not what I’m saying but there may be like one percent of people with a genetic defect with familial hypercholesterolemia whereas that drug is the right thing for them but for the vast majority of people who get blanket recommendations of statin drugs because their cholesterol is too high we need to understand a lot more and even though I will defend higher cholesterol numbers I’m not saying that higher is always better and I’m not saying that you should not get concerned about what your blood work says that you should just disregard everything on there what I am saying is I think it’s a bad idea to make a diagnosis on a single marker such as high cholesterol or high LDL and if we then based on that diagnosis get a prescription for a chemical or medication that will interfere with the function of the liver which we’ll talk about and interfere with health then I believe we are doing some of the greatest disservices to mankind and we need to understand some of the things that I’m going to talk about first we need to understand something about this molecule cholesterol first of all it’s synthesized in every cell of your body that has a nucleus that’s basically every cell except red blood cells can make cholesterol a lot of it is made in the liver and that’s traditionally where we hear that cholesterol is made and because the body makes cholesterol itself then if you eat less then the body will make more if you eat more the body will make less the body needs to have a certain amount of cholesterol and the brain is one of the places that’s most dependent on cholesterol 23% of all the cholesterol in your body is in the brain and interestingly the cholesterol molecule is too large to cross the blood-brain barrier so all of the cholesterol in the brain is manufactured in the brain because it’s that important cholesterol is necessary for many things and one of the most important is as a building material as a structural component the cell membrane which is the surface bilayer of every cell in your body 30 mole percent meaning 30% of the number of molecules in that cell membrane is cholesterol and if you look at these little arrows this yellow structure is cholesterol so 30% is a lot more than what they’re showing in this picture 30% of your cell membrane is cholesterol and why is that cell membrane so important because the cell membrane is the actual decision maker of everything in your body your body processes billions of bits of information every second and it’s all about the cell membrane because the cell membrane is a barrier that determines what stays outside and what gets into the cell and inside the cell is where you have your metabolism and your metabolic function and the manufacture of every hormone and protein and substance in your body and cholesterol is a huge part of determining the properties of this cell membrane because there’s a fine balance between rigidity and flexibility when you determine how the cell membrane works so cholesterol is critical for the function of that cell membrane and where do you have the most important cell membranes that handle the most signals well in the brain of course which has tons of cholesterol and then when the brain needs to send the messages out to the periphery when the central nervous system talks to the peripheral nervous system which has millions of these electrical wires that go to every little part of your body then it sends it along a nerve pathway called an axon and this axon it’s just like electrical wires in your house basically that it needs a surface insulation just like your wires have that plastic coating so does your axons and your nerves need an insulation and that insulation is called myelin that myelin is 27 cholesterol and there is a severe disease called multiple sclerosis which happens when this myelin is defective or gets attacked cholesterol is also a precursor to bile so when your gallbladder releases bile to dissolve fats to help you digest fats bile consists mostly of cholesterol it’s also a precursor to steroid hormones so a lot of your endocrine system a very fine-tuned communication system depends on cholesterol so testosterone estrogen and progesterone are made from cholesterol and also cortisol and very often I talk about cortisol in this channel because cortisol is a stress hormone and too much of it on a chronic basis contributes to a lot of health problems but it doesn’t mean that we don’t need it it’s still critical because if you can’t have a stress response then you’re basically a sitting duck that means you can’t respond to the events of life and you might just be standing there when the bus comes to run you over so with all these functions of cholesterol do we really want to just shut it down do we really just unilaterally say that cholesterol is a bad thing you have too much let’s shut it down there’s no wonder that there’s such dramatic side effects when we try to interfere with cholesterol and what about LDL and HDL we’ve heard that their LDL is bad HDL is good but they are just doing their job ldl is a low density lipoprotein it’s a carrier that contains a little bit more cholesterol than the HDL does and therefore its job is to deliver cholesterol when the body needs it when appropriate the HDL is high density lipoprotein so it has a lower percentage of cholesterol so therefore it tends to attract it collects and returns cholesterol so if the body has to have LDL or cholesterol delivered then it would seem like a really good thing to have some LDL to deliver that right and if the body needs HDL to collect then that would seem like a really good thing the appropriate amount of LDL and the appropriate amount of HDL is a good thing it’s not that LDL or HDL is good or bad what we want to be concerned with is the properties the state the health of these particles and what we want to watch is small LDL when the LDL is large and fluffy there’s nothing wrong with it there are no ill health effects but when it gets small it is because it’s damaged by inflammation and by oxidative stress and we’ll talk a lot about this so you get it totally clear so the small LDL also it is a bad thing in a sense that it indicates that something is wrong but the small LDL itself is just a victim of inflammation and oxidative stress and what is the cause of inflammation and oxidative stress it is sugar toxins and excess free radicals and that excess is key to understand that oxidative stress is necessary to produce energy free radicals is necessary as a result of producing energy and performing metabolism but when things get out of balance and we have all these things in excess that’s when we have a problem and I’ve used this analogy before but I really want to reinforce this that we want to stop calling LDL bad because LDL shows up after the problem when we have oxidative stress LDL is delivered to repair the damage it’s like we see the fire department at the scene of an accident and we say oh that evil fire department is there causing accidents again no they showed up after and they’re trying to help the victim because the victim indicates that something bad happened but LDL and HDL are both good things just like these first responders are and when the blood work comes back with a cholesterol over 200 then it’s almost a knee-jerk response for a lot of practitioners to recommend a statin drug so what do statins do there are a couple of things we’ll talk about but one of the things that’s really important to understand is it can upregulate the number of LDL receptors on the liver so the liver recycles these LDL particles and on the surface of an LDL particle there is something called an apo b protein that can be recognized by these receptors and then the liver recycles these LDL’s so the statin drug increases the number of receptors and now we can start recycling these LDL’s but here’s the thing it is only the large and the fluffy the buoyant LDL that’s healthy that get recycled right so we reduce the total number of cholesterol of LDL cholesterol by reducing the fluffy buoyant LDL but it is the oxidized damaged LDL that we’re trying to get rid of and this has a damaged Apo-B protein so the receptor can’t recognize it see no matter how much we upregulate the receptors there is no change to these oxidized LDL‘ so we could make an argument that we’re still doing a good job because if we reabsorb more of the fluffy LDL then there will be less LDL overall in total to get oxidized in the future but what really happens that’s more important is that we change the ratio and we’ll talk more about that that we the ratio of the oxidized to the buoyant the small to the large LDL that ratio goes up and gets much much worse and this is one of the more important indicators for heart disease so even though the statin drug will reduce the total number it will make the ratio worse the small LDL does damage in many ways first of all it’s an indicator of damage because if we have a lot of small LDL we know that there’s a lot of oxidative stress and inflammation but furthermore this inflammation and oxidative stress it can create damage or cracks on the inside surface and the intima of the blood vessel and if you notice that this plaque here is not inside the opening it’s not inside the lumen of the blood vessel it is between the surface layer and the muscular wall so the surface layer the inside has to crack it has to get more loose so that these particles can get through and create these plaques and the small particles will slip through the cracks much much easier the large fluffy ones don’t tend to do that and the other problem like we talked about is the small LDL cannot be recognized by the receptors so when we have a buildup of these and they slip through then we need for someone else to take care of them and this is where the immune system comes in you have white blood cells called macrophages they’re like little Pac mans and they follow these small particles in through the cracks or wherever these small LDL’s are but if they’ve gone through these cracks behind the intima now that’s where they hang out and that’s where the immune cells go and now they gobble up as many of these little LDL’s as they can and then when they’re full now they’ve contained the LDL’s but they’ve turned into foam cells and that is basically what the plaque is but now let’s look at some actual blood work to help us understand what we need to look for to understand the bigger picture we don’t want to make a diagnosis we don’t want to hyper focus on one variable we want to understand the bigger picture what are all of the markers or some of the markers involved with insulin resistance metabolic syndrome poor metabolic health inflammation stress etc. here is a patient that came in first to me around September and we did some blood work and then we repeated the blood work after about three months almost exactly three months first thing we look at I’ve condensed this we’re just looking at a few variables here but glucose according to the reference needs to be 65.99 and I think the 99 is too high I think it needs to be under 88, 85 ish 65 is fine if you’re on a low carb diet otherwise it probably indicates hypoglycemia but this guy had really good glucose control even when he came in at 82 after a few months it was 74 so both of those values are good no big deal then we look at some liver enzymes the AST is often called the liver enzyme but it is part of several different organs and these enzymes are not really supposed to be in the blood they end up in the blood when the cells wear out and they spill their content and some of that is normal because we have a turnover of cells so if a few cells break and spill their enzymes that’s okay and the range for this one is 0 to 40 and it’s never going to be zero but 40 is really too high you want it kind of to be 25 or so and he started out at 29 but after three months he was at 20. so we see some improvement the alt is also not a hundred percent specific for liver but it’s mostly specific to liver and that one they put at zero to forty-four he started out at forty again a little bit too high after three months he’s in a much better range 27. then we look at total cholesterol and they want to see that 100 to 199 in my mind a completely crazy arbitrary number if it is under 150 i will be much much more concerned than if it’s 300 because cholesterol is necessary and if it gets too low then that means your liver is not healthy enough to make it could be something like heavy metal toxicity so anyway this person had 277 and this is by the way it’s a 43 year old male and then after three months it is one point worse so basically no difference we look at triglycerides which is the fat in the blood so traditionally we hear that if you eat a high fat diet your fat in the blood will go up and they want to see that 0 to 149 if it’s zero you’ll be dead if it’s 149 I think that’s too high I want to see that probably between 50 to 80. and he started out at 112 after three months it was 65. VLDL is also a great indicator of insulin resistance just like triglycerides are because the VLDL is a very large very low density lipoprotein it has even more triglycerides in it than the LDL so its job is to deliver the triglycerides into circulation and if your cells are resistant and it doesn’t accept and and let that triglyceride in for fuel because it already has too much fuel that cell is resistant and the triglycerides will build up and if the cells don’t want the triglycerides the VLDL has nobody to deliver to so therefore the triglycerides and the VLDL both go up with insulin resistance the lab range for VLDL is 5 to 40 and I never want to see 40 because that is strongly pre-diabetic this guy came in at 20 which is pretty good but still a little bit too high I’d rather see it under 17, 18 or under 15. but after three months he is at ten which is a very healthy number so he had some insulin resistance starting out even though he had good glucose control at 82 he was still a little bit insulin resistance based on the triglycerides and the VLDL but after three months it’s looking much better then we look at the LDL-C which is calculated LDL or the milligrams or the mass of LDL it doesn’t count the particles which we’ll get to in a second and this number they want to see under 99 again the range is 0 to 99 and it’s zero you’ll be dead so I don’t know why the range goes to zero but 99 again is a totally arbitrary number because it’s about the health of the LDL particles not the total amount and my patient started out at 209 so more than double what he was supposed to have and after three months he had 215 so basically no change or even a little bit worse and the only thing that shows up on these blood reports is the high flag for total cholesterol and LDL so in their minds this guy is a perfect candidate for statin medications but if we’re starting to understand the bigger picture and we look at all these markers that have to do with the true risk markers for heart disease we see that glucose got better AST, ALT enzymes got better and triglycerides and VLDL got better so he had five out of seven markers that got dramatically better while two of these stayed the same so to me this is saying this person is getting healthier and this is the level of cholesterol that his body likes to have now so far all these numbers you could get on a very standard blood work but if we want to start understanding a little bit more we add something called an NMR profile where we can start looking at the size and the number of particles so when we look at the LDL particle number then the range is supposed to be under a thousand and my patients started out at two thousand seven hundred so almost three times higher number of LDL particles that looks like a disaster right but we don’t want to jump to conclusions because we see a lot of the other markers are actually getting better so we want to know what’s happening here and one of the things we want to analyze this is we want to understand what does this mean what is the significance of these different numbers and when we look at the number of small LDL’s they want to see less than 527 out of a thousand in the mainstream criteria that means they think it’s okay if you have up to 53 percent of all your LDL be small and damaged and why do I construct that number and look at it because that represents the degree of inflammation and oxidative stress in the system if you have a thousand LDL particles on average 53 of those are going to get damaged and to me that is way too high I don’t care about the total number as much as I do the percentage that get damaged so my patient here started out at 1400 three months earlier so he was at 52 again I’m not happy with that at all but even though he has a lot of LDL particles he is no worse than the mainstream criteria for acceptable but again I want to see that much lower and what we see then is after three months even though his total cholesterol basically stayed the same and his LDL went up his particle number went down by over 300. and when we look at the nitty-gritty and we look at the small LDL particles this is nothing short of amazing he went from 1400 to 200 small particles he did away with 85 percent of his particles and he went from 52 percent to 9 again why is this so huge because the 52 percent represents how many percent get damaged by oxidation and inflammation and if we can go from 52 percent to 9 percent we have massively reduced his risk of heart disease so what do we do with this we follow up again in three months and now we see that we have one two three four five six seven out of nine markers are vastly improved so we check again in three months and we see make sure that we’re still going in the right direction but we don’t jump to conclusions based on a single number now let’s understand a little bit more about the mechanisms of statin drugs because anytime you have high cholesterol they want to prescribe a statin so we want to understand what’s actually happening in the body so does a statin drug medication reduce the total amount of cholesterol yes absolutely it does and one way is that it upregulates the receptors we get more of the recycling but it does not reduce the small LDL so even though it reduces the total and the LDL it doesn’t reduce the kind that we try to get rid of so I just want to emphasize that over and over it’s so critical but the main way that the statin does its work is through something called the mevalonate pathway and here’s how that works when the body makes cholesterol it starts out with the substance called HMG-CoA reductase and then through a number of different steps that I don’t bother with the details in the end the body ends up with cholesterol so the names here are not important I just want you to show that there’s a number of different steps and we end up with cholesterol but once we take a statin once we take a medication to lower cholesterol and to block the production then we knock out a lot of this HMG-CoA reductase and when we do that of course we also knock out the end result of that pathway which is cholesterol but there’s one more detail and that is there’s another product from a component halfway down called CoQ10 and the CoQ10 also gets knocked out to a large degree to probably whatever percentage we reduce cholesterol by we’re also going to reduce CoQ10 because they’re part of the same pathway and what does CoQ10 do it is one of the enzymes that the mitochondria use to produce energy so 95% of our energy of all the energy used by every cell in your body depends on CoQ10 so any time you block the production of CoQ10 you’re also blocking some of the production of energy so if you have to be on a cholesterol medication for whatever reason or if you’re working to get healthy so you could have that discussion with your doctor at the very least you want to make sure that you supplement quite massively with CoQ10 probably at least 300 milligrams a day and cholesterol medication are very controversial because they have a much higher rate of side effects than just about anything else out there and here are some of those SAMS stands for statin-associated symptoms and in increasing severity it starts with myalgia which is muscle pain then we have muscle disease we have myositis which is muscle inflammation now the disease is so bad that we start breaking some cells and they spill an enzyme called creatinine kinase so now it means the muscles are breaking down more than they should and the worst version of this is called rhabdomyolysis and „rhabdo“ means striated or skeletal muscle „myo“ means muscle and „lysis“ means it’s basically melting that your muscles are just disintegrating this is completely disabling and sometimes fatal part of this picture is also joint inflammation tendon disorders arthritis and things like that because joints get 90 percent of their stability support from muscles so if the muscles don’t work and they’re not firing right then the joints are going to get unstable and suffer and get inflamed as well statins have also been associated with type 2 diabetes with neurological problems with neurocognitive effects and cognitive you want to think focus memory intelligence things like that also hemorrhagic stroke bleeding stroke bleeding in the brain hepatotoxicity that you’re interfering so much with the liver that the liver gets toxic and the kidneys can also get toxic and there’s many more conditions so lots of side effects are observed but they keep saying that they’re unclear about the mechanism but we do know that it interferes with the production of CoQ10 so we will have a loss of energy so whatever body parts whatever organs use the most energy are probably going to be the ones to suffer the most and those would be the brain the heart the liver and the muscles because they are higher metabolically active than most other tissues and other than that cholesterol medications are so beneficial because after all they lower cholesterol right but I hope you see by now that just looking at one number and saying we need to lower cholesterol in itself is not the goal here’s something that will hopefully get your attention in a study they found that lipophilic statins which is a subclass a type most common class of statin drugs more than doubles the risk of dementia one of the most devastating conditions one of the things that people are the most afraid of is to lose their whole personality and their cognition these medications can more than double and this was from the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging in 2021 annual meeting so they did some pet scans which is sophisticated brain imaging and they found a substantial decline in metabolism substantial decline in energy production and activity in the posterior cingulate cortex that is the first place to lose function to have decreased function when people have early Alzheimer’s here’s another study from neurology 2005 and they found that when we look at the risk of dementia there was a longitudinal study they followed people for many many years as they were aging and at 70 years old they looked at the people with the overall lowest cholesterol not because they were taking a medication or anything they just looked at what are their cholesterol levels and they compared the lowest group to the highest group and they found that there was 69 percent less dementia in the people with the highest cholesterol they followed this along and when these people were 76 years old they found that there was 80 percent less dementia in the people with the highest cholesterol and in the 79-year-old group it was still a 55 percent less dementia so what this means is that cholesterol is neuroprotective it protects you against dementia and now you may be thinking well maybe I have to sacrifice my brain a little bit as a trade-off for better heart health and they often claim that it is beyond the shadow of a doubt it’s very very clear that cholesterol medication reduces cholesterol and reduces plaquing and heart disease and that may or may not be true depending on what study you look at but what if you’re just lowering cholesterol and then dying from something else so when we look at all cause mortality dying from for any reason and this was a study in Lancet in 1997 we see the people with the lowest cholesterol we put them at a hundred as a reference and then we see the people with medium cholesterol had 40 percent less mortality and the people in the group with the highest cholesterol had a 60 reduction in all-cause mortality so again what they’re saying you’re less likely to die for any reason if you have higher cholesterol but here’s the one I hear the most still because people they go low carb they cut out the sugar they start improving their health they feel better and then they’re still scared because someone tells them that a low carb high fat diet will raise your cholesterol and they specifically say that you can’t eat all that meat and all that butter because saturated fat will increase your LDL is that true well maybe I think there is maybe a correlation that saturated fat will increase but what we see is that it increases the fluffy LDL the buoyant harmless LDL and what happens with sugar carbohydrates and processed seed oils these are the things that cause inflammation and oxidative stress they will increase the small LDL so even if you eat saturated fat and have a higher total level of LDL what we’re concerned with is what percentage of the LDL has been damaged and now you’re probably wondering then the example that I gave you what did this guy do did he eat low fat like they recommend no he ate more meat and vegetables and butter and more saturated fat but he ate less fast food because he had had some bad habits in the past that we got rid of and he pretty much cut out all the sugar and he reduced his carbohydrate now the thing to understand I made this point before I want to make it again that you have to cut the carbohydrates low enough to dramatically reduce insulin you can’t go from 60 carbohydrate to 30 percent carbohydrate and call that low carb because you’re still making too much insulin and now with all that insulin you still can’t burn through that saturated fat you have to lower sugar eliminate sugar and lower the carbohydrates enough that there’s a significant change in your insulin now that saturated fat is good for you and because this person came to our office we also put them on very specific supplements a very specific program and what was so specific we identify the root causes that this person needed to handle and for him it was scars first of all because scars interfere with the meridian with the acupuncture chi that flows in the skin if you have scars then that distorts that information electromagnetic fields was a big thing so electromagnetic radiation from wi-fi and Bluetooth and cell phones and laptops and iPads and things like that can distort the communication that your body is trying to send he also had some chemical issues we needed to gently detoxify he had some digestive intel food intolerances he gave him some digestive enzymes then he was low in vitamin d that was a simple one and he also needed a little bit of immune support and down the road he needed a little bit of adrenal support so why am I mentioning this because so many people ask me that does Ashwagandha work does turmeric work is vitamin d good vitamin d is good for you if you’re low in vitamin d you should add some but if you have a headache or a digestive problem a thousand different people with a headache could have a thousand different root causes so we’re not addressing the headache we’re addressing the root cause and that is the only way that we can create long-term change and when they tell you you need to get on a cholesterol medication if you still have high cholesterol after trying diet and exercise so which diet are they talking about because if you don’t understand the things we talk about in these videos chances are that what you have tried have been heart healthy diets recommended by the mainstream who are low-fat lean meats lots of fruits grains and seed oils and while you’re much better off if you eat this from whole food rather than eating sugar and fast food for most people it’s still not enough to make a big difference because you’re not reducing insulin enough to turn around that metabolic syndrome also we want to understand what exercise are they talking about because people usually have the mindset of no pain no gain so if you go and you join the so-called boot camp in the gym at five in the morning where they try to exhaust you as much as possible in 45 minutes that may be the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do to burn fat because these boot camps will put you into a glycolysis into an anaerobic metabolism where you break down sugar and when you break down the sugar you’re going to get cravings for more sugar and more carbohydrate and you’re going to drive up your cortisol you’re going to break down muscle and you’re going to create more stress and more inflammation if you do that wrong so again there may be a very small percentage of genetic defects that could benefit from a cholesterol medication but don’t jump on one until you have done the correct diet and exercise for a while and you understand what you’re trying to change but here’s what still happens a lot i get people coming in and they might report on a video on YouTube and they say I feel amazing my weight my glucose my a1c my insulin values my triglycerides my HDL my small LDL my VLDL my sleep and pain they’re all better I feel amazing but I’m still worried because my cholesterol is high with all of this getting better now all I want is to bring my cholesterol down how do I do that and the answer is you don’t if all of these other values are better you are getting healthier now I’m not saying that there is a number where you don’t have to worry but 200 250 300 350 are probably totally fine if everything else looks good if it’s 500 700 thousand then I don’t know then you need to have a discussion with somebody now what if all the things that I’ve talked about are looking good or heading in the right direction but you still have some doubts this is where you go for a calcium score or a coronary artery calcium score so what they do is they do an imaging of your heart and your coronary arteries and you get a number back so it’s going to depend on the lab that performs it and where you are what units they use and what the scale is the one I get back usually goes from 0 to 400 or higher and here’s what that means if you get back a zero that’s a negative test that means you have no plaque that there’s a very low risk for a heart attack or a myocardial infarction if you’re between 1 and 10 now there may be some plaque but if it’s there it’s going to be minimal and you’re still very low risk if it’s between 11 and 100 you have mild plaque mild heart disease but you’re still at a mild risk for a heart attack if your numbers come back between 101 and 400 now you have moderate heart disease there is some plaquing present and you have a moderate risk of heart attack and if your number comes back over 400 then there is a large amount of plaque it’s a high probability that one or more of your coronary arteries have a substantial amount of blockage and there’s a relatively high risk of a heart attack in the next five years but very very few people i don’t think I’ve ever had anyone come back in this number so what is this talking about that if they’re trying to tell you that your high cholesterol indicates that you are a candidate for heart disease why don’t we just find out why don’t we take a picture and see if it’s actually there and there’s not a 100 correlation between the calcium and the plaque because they’re measuring the calcium and only indirectly guessing how much plaque there is but there’s a pretty good correlation there and it’s a very inexpensive test now get this insurance doesn’t pay for this they’d rather pay tens of thousands of dollars for cholesterol medication than to spend a hundred dollars on a test like this to actually find out so if you’re in doubt get with your doctor and have them order a calcium score and then you can evaluate depending on what the results are when you get it back if you’re on the top half of this then you know you’re in pretty good shape and in a few years you have another score and you make sure that it’s not getting worse then you can consult and evaluate with your doctor and at my office wellness for life we have a department that can help you get some blood work and a consultation to help you understand your blood work and if necessary or appropriate could get you a calcium score after that I’ll also put a link down below for five percent off on CoQ10 if you don’t have a good source already. 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