Dr. Michael Gravett has a private naturopathic medical practice in Indianapolis. He is currently the director of cardiovascular services for IU Health statewide.
Taking Control of Your Cardiovascular Risk Factors
by Michael W. Gravett, ND, BCIM
Natural Family Medicine, LLC
Cardiovascular disease is responsible for over 600,000 deaths every year in the United States, or about 1 in every 4 deaths. Cardiovascular disease includes high blood pressure, stroke, rheumatic heart disease and coronary artery disease (CAD), which is responsible for the majority of cardiovascular fatalities.
CAD is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the industrialized world and, alarmingly, of the nearly 385,000 deaths in the US, roughly half had no previous symptoms.
So, what exactly is CAD? Generally speaking, CAD is the buildup of fatty material and other substances, commonly called plaque, in the arteries of your heart. This buildup results in a narrowing of the artery which causes less blood flow to your heart. This process can take decades to develop and therefore, often goes unnoticed until a heart attack occurs.
What can you do to prevent coronary artery disease? A great place to start is to understand the risk factors for CAD and commit to living a healthier lifestyle in an effort to reduce risk wherever possible.
|Risk Factors to Evaluate|
|• Family history||• Physical inactivity||• Overweight/Obesity|
|• Age||• Tobacco exposure||• Diabetes & Metabolic syndrome|
|• Gender||• High blood pressure||• Perinatal factors|
|• Nutrition/Diet||• Blood lipids||• Inflammatory markers|
How can Naturopathic Medicine help with lowering the risk factors for CAD? A naturopathic doctor can help you to identify which risk factors apply to you personally and will develop an approach for decreasing those risk factors specific to your individual needs. While it is unfortunate that you cannot change your genetic disposition, age and family history, there are risk factors that you can reduce. A naturopathic doctor will develop a tailored natural medicine plan including diet, nutrition, nutraceuticals, exercise, and additional therapies to reduce high blood pressure, decrease lipids in your blood, manage weight, address diabetes related issues as well as metabolic syndrome and decrease inflammatory responses of the body. These therapies may be used alone, or in combination with any current pharmaceutical regimen to safely lower your risk of coronary artery disease.