Heart disease Symptoms, Causes and Testing Techniques

Symptoms of Arteriosclerosis

There are usually no overt symptoms until later in the disease. See your doctor if you experience any of the following (heart disease symptoms):

• Dizziness
• Fainting
• Leg pain that starts after walking a short distance and goes away with rest

Symptoms of Angina

• Mild to severe chest pain, often feeling like the heart is being squeezed
• Pain that feels worse after exercise or a heavy meal and better when resting
• Tightness in the chest

Symptoms of Heart Attack (Heart disease symptoms)

If you have any of the following symptoms, call 911 immediately. Even if the symptoms pass, you need emergency medical attention:

• The classic symptoms are crushing or tight pain in the chest, which may extend to the arms, the back, the shoulders, the neck, or the jaw. The pain may be intense and severe, or it could be so mild that you might mistake it for indigestion.
• Women sometimes have heart attack symptoms that are different from the ones listed above. The pain may begin in the stomach or the jaw or as stabbing pains between the breasts. The symptoms in general may be more vague than for men.
• Other possible symptoms include profuse sweating, a drop in blood pressure, difficulty swallowing, dizziness or faintness, ringing in the ears, or, more rarely, nausea and vomiting.

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Root Causes

• Poor diet, especially one that’s high in fat and low in fiber and antioxidants
• Genetics
• Smoking
• High blood pressure
• Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin K, magnesium, coenzyme Q10, and other nutrients
• Stress, depression, and anxiety
• Obesity
• Inactivity
• Diabetes and syndrome X
• Stealth infections
• Excess of toxic metals and other toxins such as air pollutants
• Elevated iron level

Testing Techniques

The following tests help assess possible metabolic reasons for cardiovascular disease (Heart disease symptoms). We have included both the historic markers and the new ones. These are all blood tests:
Historic Markers
Total cholesterol
Normal range is 165-200 mg/dL.
LDL cholesterol
Normal range is below 130 mg/dL.
HDL cholesterol
Normal range is 50 mg/dL or higher.
Normal range is less than 150 mg/dL.

New Markers

Testing that measures LDL and HDL particle size and other cholesterol subtypes is very important.
C-reactive protein is a marker of inflammation in the body, including in the blood vessel walls. It is considered a predictor of heart disease. Heart disease symptoms.
Normal range is less than 1.0 mg/dL.
Homocysteine—Buildup of this toxic metabolite increases plaque formation in the artery walls. Genetics, low thyroid, B-vitamin deficiencies, and a diet high in animal protein increase the level.
Normal range is less than 10 micromol/L.
Lipoprotein(a) is a more specific cholesterol marker and a stronger risk factor than is LDL cholesterol.
Normal range is less than 32 mg/dL.
Fibrinogen plays an important role in blood clotting. Elevated levels increase the risk of stroke and coronary artery disease.
Normal range is 200-400 mg/dL.
Apolipoprotein B is a type of lipid that binds to LDL cholesterol and accelerates plaque formation.
Normal range is 55-125 mg/dL.
Apolipoprotein A-1 is found in HDL cholesterol and provides a protective effect against heart disease.

See also: “Heart Treatment

Normal range is 125-215 mg/dL.

The ratio between apolipoproteins B and A-1 is considered a good overall predictor of heart disease risk.
Normal range is 0.30-0.90.
Glucose—Diabetes predisposes one to early heart disease.
Normal range is between 80 and 110 mg/dL.
Insulin—Elevation of this hormone is seen with syndrome X, a condition characterized by rising blood sugar and insulin levels. Spiked insulin levels increase arterial inflammation, as well as triglyceride, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels. They also contribute to weight gain.
Normal range is between 4 and 15 micromol (fasting).
Iron—Excessive iron in the body produces free radicals and oxidative damage.
Normal range is less than 150 mg/dL.
Abnormal LDL density pattern.
Normal is pattern A.


Heart Disease Causes: Smoking

Recent research has shown that measuring oxidized LDL, or damaged LDL cholesterol, is important. Oxidized LDL can lead to inflammation in your arteries. Inflammation attracts immune cells into your arteries, creating more inflammation, which leads to formation of plaque and loss of elasticity.

The less flexible your arteries, the more apt they are to rupture. So not only do you build plaque more readily when your LDL becomes oxidized, your arteries become less flexible and and more prone to rupture and the formation of blood clots. Causes of oxidized LDL may include too few antioxidants in the diet, pollution exposure, and stress.