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Ask Dr. Mike: What Are the 17 Risk Factors of Heart Disease?

Here you'll find the answers to a wealth of health and wellness questions posed by Healthy Talk fans.

Listen in because what you come to know helps ensure healthy choices you can actually live with. Today on Healthy Talk, you wanted to know:

What are the risk factors to heart disease?

Since this a huge topic, Dr. Mike wants to spend adequate time answering this question and giving it the full attention it deserves. Heart disease is the number one killer for both men and women and takes the lives of hundreds of thousands annually.

On the Life Extension website, there are 17 heart disease risk factors Dr. Mike wants you to know about.

They are:
  • Elevated LDL cholesterol
  • Low HDL cholesterol
  • Elevated triglycerides
  • Oxidized LDL
  • Hypertension
  • Elevated C-reactive protein
  • Elevated inflammation
  • Elevated omega-6/omega-3 ratio
  • Elevated glucose
  • Excess insulin
  • Elevated homocysteine
  • Elevated fibrinogen
  • Insufficient vitamin D
  • Insufficient vitamin K
  • Low testosterone and excess estrogen
  • Insufficient CoQ10
  • Nitric oxide deficit
Out of all the different risk factors listed, in Dr. Mike's opinion, hypertension (high blood pressure) is the most important one to talk about. High blood pressure damages the lining of your arteries, which can allow for access plaque to build up and cause a heart attack or stroke. Ideally, you want your systolic (the top number) blood pressure to be 110 mmHg and your diastole (bottom number) to be lower than 75 mmHg.

Another risk factor is low vitamin K, specifically vitamin K2, which is necessary to put calcium in your bones. If you are lacking vitamin K2, the calcium you are consuming can build up in your arteries and cause them to become stiff, also increasing your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

A third risk factor Dr. Mike wants you to be aware of is low vitamin D. Vitamin D is so important since it is in every receptor on every single cell within your body.

A fourth important risk factor you should know about is nitric oxide, which is the compound that causes arteries to contract and dilate based on how your heart is pumping. Nitric oxide allows the cells around your arteries to relax so your arteries can dilate. However, when you have a nitric oxide deficit, your arteries aren't as relaxed and become stiff.

Why are these risk factors so important to know about?

Listen in as Dr. Mike dissects the important risk factors you should know regarding heart disease and what you can do to lower these risks.

If you have a health question or concern, Dr. Mike encourages you to write him so he can help give you support and helpful advice.