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looking for help with a few questions
whijess03 posted:
I have a few questions about cardiovascular disease before i take my husband to the dr ( but we are definitely going). My husband is 33 years old and we have just gone through a horrible tragedy in our family. His brother( 1 yr. older than him) just passed away from cardiovascular disease being 70 % blocked along with diabetes. His brother passed away at the same age and disease as their father so it is hereditary .My husband now thinks that he is going to die by next year and along with this he is dealing with the stress of his brother's passing . My question is what tests need to be done to check for this (ex. stress test, echo..) I just wanted to cover all my bases before going to the dr. and to make sure they will not over look anything . He is not the only one who is scared it's myself also and I am trying to look out for the best interest of my husband. And what type of diet should we do? Is cardiovascular disease a cholesterol thing . I'm sorry if i sound stupid but just trying to find out before we go . Thank you for your time
billh99 responded:
And what type of diet should we do?

See the WebMD post It's Never Too Late for a Heart Healthy Diet!

Personally I like the Mediterranean diet.

He needs to get regular exercise, stop smoking, and like alcohol to moderate amounts (1-2). And lose weight if needed.

Is cardiovascular disease a cholesterol thing
Cholesterol is certainly related to CAD, but there are some characteristic of cholesterol that makes some more damaging than other which does not show in the basic cholesterol test. Ask for one of the advanced test.

With the family history I would ask for advanced blood work for things like inflammation factors, insulin resistance, and some genetic factors.

I would look as see if you can find someone in your area specializes in preventive cardiology.

And ask the doctor about getting a coronary calcium scan.

Based on these test the doctor might want to do a some more testing.
cardiostarusa1 responded:

"What tests need to be done to check for this (ex. stress test, echo..)"

There's the non-invasive nuclear stress test (gated-SPECT scan with Cardiolite or Myoview), and to image plaque build-up, there is non-invasive 64-slice Cardiac CT, which allows doctors to view/examine the heart and the coronary arteries in never-before-seen detail.

Far better yet, the newer blazingly fast (benefit of less radiation exposure to the patient, and less contrast media) 320-slice Cardiac CT scanner can measure subtle changes in blood flow, or minute blockages forming in blood vessels, no bigger than the average width of a toothpick (1.5 mm) in the heart, and the brain

Additionally, it has been known for quite some time now that atherosclerosis begins (the process/progression of) at a very early age, even as early as in the pre-teen/teenage years.

Studies performed in the past have shown fatty streaks (represents the earliest precursor to plaque development and plaque is the pathological hallmark of atherosclerosis) as the beginning of atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries. Soft plaque (more dangerous and unpredictable than hard or calcified plaque) is the early stage of atherosclerosis.

"Is cardiovascular disease a cholesterol thing?"

It is only a piece of the puzzle.

There over four dozen risk factors, markers, indicators for cardiovascular disease, some iffy/questionable, new, novel emerging, with more certainly to come.

Also, as reported, a risk factor merely increases the probability that one will develop cardiovascular disease, BUT doesn't 100% guarantee that one will develop it, nor does its absence (or even the absence of ALL known risk factors) 100% guarantee that one won't have a heart attack or brain attack/stroke.

"And what type of diet should we do?"

Here's one to consider -

Nothing complicated...just plain 'n simple

Heart-Healthy Foods

foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Choose skim or low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt and reduced-fat cheeses. Eat more fish and poultry. Limit servings to five to seven ounces a day. Trim visible fat. Limit egg yolks. Substitute two egg whites for one whole egg or use an egg-substitute. Eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, breads and cereals. Use less salt and fat. Season with herbs and spices rather than with sauces, gravies and butter.

Best of luck to your husband and you down the road of life.

Take care,


WebMD member (since 8/99)



Be well-informed



The Heart: (Human Anatomy) Pictures, Definition, Location in the Body and Heart Problems


Heart info, cardiac (commonly performed, mainstream types) tests info, actual diagnostic images.


Good to know, for the primary and secondary prevention of heart attack and brain attack/stroke

Epidemiologic studies (EDS) have revealed risk factors (encompasses some new, novel or emerging) for atherosclerosis, typically affecting the carotid, coronary and peripheral arteries, which includes age, gender, genetics (gene deletion, malfunction or mutation) , diabetes (considered as being the highest risk factor), smoking (includes second and thirdhand), inactivity, obesity (a global epidemic, "globesity"), high blood pressure (hypertension), Low HDL (now questionable, according to recent studies) high LDL, small, dense LDL, RLP (remnant lipoprotein), high Lp(a), high ApoB, high Lp-PLA2, high triglycerides, HDL2b, high homocysteine (now questionable), and high C-reactive protein (CRP/hs-CRP).



Be a questioning patient. TALK to your DOCTOR and ASK QUESTIONS. Studies show that patients who ask the most questions, and are most assertive, get the best results. Be vigilant and speak up!"

- Charles Inlander, People's Medical Society


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James Beckerman, MD, FACC responded:
The first step is for him to see the doctor and learn about his blood pressure and lipids and blood sugar - then his doctor can help prescribe specific diet/medication as appropriate. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss.

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