Traditional Risk Factors Don’t
Tell the Whole Story
Dr. Boone of the Boone Heart Institute discusses why traditional risk factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol don’t tell the whole story when it comes to your heart health.
One thing I’ve found problematic in the quest to pioneer the prevention of heart disease is the fact that it is frustrating about half the people who have cardiovascular disease don’t know it and it is not well predicted by traditional risk factors.
You could almost say it is dangerous to have good cholesterol level because you are somehow fooled into thinking you’re fine.
And certainly it is better to be in the low cholesterol group than the high cholesterol group. But it’s not something to bet your life on.
Just the reverse of that, the people who have the highest cholesterol are in the position to be treated. Now still, even many of these people don’t have plaque and the dangers associated with plaque.
There are a variety of risk factors such as blood pressure, blood sugar, smoking, family history, diet, and exercise and how they affect the individual from a genetic standpoint. That’s why we can’t definitely determine who has a problem based on these risk factors.
That is not to say these risk factors are not important. I tell most doctors and patients that everything they know is likely true about these risk factors. But there is just a lot more on top of that, which has not been explored.
If we get to that point and explore that, then I think we can eliminate the disease. We can literally eradicate this disease. But it is going to take a marshaling of those forces to find out who is in trouble early-on and how do we reverse that process.