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Cholesterol Tests Don’t Tell the Whole Story

Docpatient2"Half of all people who have a heart attack have 'normal' cholesterol levels at the time," says Fraser Smith, ND, of National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) in Lombard.  "That can be frightening to consider. You might be receiving annual check-ups and monitoring your LDL/HDL religiously, and still miss key clues that you are at risk for heart disease."

"The good news," Dr. Smith says, "is that there are now better ways to give patients a clearer picture of their risk for a heart attack." It's the reason why NUHS Whole Health Centers in Lombard and Naperville are now offering new blood tests that can calculate the level of inflammation damage and plaque build-up in the cardio-vascular system. Developed by Cleveland HeartLab, they give a much better profile of an individual's risk for heart attack or heart disease.  NUHS is partnering with Cleveland HeartLab to make these tests accessible to those living in the western suburbs.

"With these tests, we not only monitor LDL/HDL levels, we can tell if your LDL, or bad cholesterol, is 'sticky,' therefore more likely to cause problems. We can tell how your good cholesterol, HDL, is functioning, and whether or not it's able to do its job in protecting you," says Dr. Smith.

The tests also determine the level of inflammation and plaque development in coronary arteries, and whether that plaque is growing and at risk for developing into an obstruction or infarction, causing a heart attack. In fact, one of the five tests can determine whether you have a higher risk for imminent heart attack within the next one or two years.

"This is a two-part program: Cleveland HeartLab provides the test results, while our Whole Health Centers provide a treatment program to reduce your level of risk," says Dr. David Parish, dean of clinics for NUHS.  "The clinicians and interns at NUHS will work with each patient on appropriate steps to take to prevent heart disease based on their individual test results. Individual treatment plans may include diet and lifestyle changes, specific nutritional supplements, botanical medicine and other natural interventions. For an individual who is at high risk for heart disease, NUHS can work together with the patient and their cardiologist on immediate steps to intervene and reduce that risk."

NUHS Whole Health Centers offer clinicians trained in chiropractic medicine, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture and oriental medicine.  "Our cardiac wellness patients will receive the best of integrative medical care," says Dr. Parish.

To make an appointment to assess your risk of heart disease, call 1-630-629-9664 and ask for the Cleveland HeartLab cardiac wellness program at National University's Whole Health Center.

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