Why a Cholesterol Test is Better Than a Heart Attack

ID-100150845Fact: 85% of everyone over the age of fifty has some significant blockage in the arteries of their heart, without experiencing any symptoms. 

So how do you know if you have blockage? Let me share an analogy that highlights the importance of having your cholesterol levels tested regularly.

Several years ago I bought a new four-wheel drive Audi, which gets me through the snow in the wintertime. Six months later, I was driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway when a red light came on. It said “check engine.” I immediately pulled over and got the owner’s manual out of the glove compartment. Page 47 stated that I should not drive the car for a prolonged period of time but should have it checked at the dealership as soon as possible.

I immediately took it in, and they drained the “new engine oil” and replaced it with the standard kind. I thought I had been doing everything I was supposed to do, but I had not realized at what mileage I was supposed to have the initial oil changed.

Your cholesterol numbers are like warning lights for your body. You need to learn what it means when they are on and flashing.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that exists in the outer layer of every cell in your body, maintaining each cell’s membrane. It is involved in the production of sex hormones, as well as hormones released by your adrenal glands. It insulates nerve fibers. It is significant in the metabolism of certain vitamins, including A, D, and E. It is essential to your body. Cholesterol is carried through the bloodstream combined with a protein. The structure of the cholesterol with the protein is a molecule called a lipoprotein. There are two main types of lipoproteins, both of which you will recognize on your lab report as Low Density Lipoprotein and High Density Lipoprotein, or LDL and HDL.

You may think you are doing everything possible to keep your engine running like the owner’s manual instructs. You may be eating free-range meat and everything organic. You may take vitamins or all kinds of supplements. You may take an aspirin a day because you heard it can keep you from having a heart attack. You may be doing all you know to do, but you don’t know from a medical standpoint that some of the things you routinely eat every day may be harming you a thousand times more than all of the “supplemental medicines” you are taking. As a medical fact, some of your favorite foods may be the ones causing the most damage.

The probability is that your check engine light—in the form of your cholesterol levels—is on and flashing, and like most Americans you haven’t noticed, or if you have, you haven’t done much about it. So many take great care of their car but not of their body.

Stepping aside from specifics about cholesterol for a moment, I want to say that this plan teaches you not to wait for the red light to go on. The Prescription for Life plan is not about treatment; it is about prevention.

Let me tell you a little secret—why you don’t want to wait on symptoms before beginning to do something about protecting your arteries. I say it’s a secret, because hardly anyone talks about it though it comes out of the medical literature. Eighty-five percent of everyone over the age of fifty has some significant blockage in the arteries of their heart, without experiencing any symptoms.

That is a scary statement. They haven’t had the first pain in their chest. They haven’t had any undue shortness of breath. They haven’t experienced any pain shooting down their left arm. That report is saying that most individuals over fifty have significant blockages in their coronary arteries yet don’t even know it because there are no symptomatic red lights warning them.

Two-thirds of the time, the first symptom of artery blockage is a heart attack. There are no bells or whistles before it happens. People are going along routinely, and then they have a heart attack.

And that first attack can be fatal. Now, that’s bad enough, but what if you do wait until you have that first symptom, that first attack? What are your chances then? Even if you survive your first heart attack, you are six times more likely to have another one than someone who has never had such an attack.

Don’t wait until you have symptoms from the blockage of your arteries. Begin working right now on preventing the cause of the aging of your arteries. And even if you have a first attack, a second attack is preventable and you can learn how to avoid it.

Aging of the arteries starts at a much younger age than most people think. By the age of twelve, 70 percent of children have microscopic fatty deposits in their arteries. Studies of twenty-five- year-old individuals who were killed in battle or died in traffic accidents show that up to 60 percent of them already had some visual evidence that this process was taking place in their arteries.

Abnormal cholesterol numbers are great warning lights, better than attacks. Get your physician to order your blood lipids and learn what each means. Get your owner’s manual out and see how your numbers line up to keep your motor running for hundreds of thousands more miles.




“Doctor Examining” photo courtesy of stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net