Bionic Beat v9: Vascular Health

Bionic Beat v9: Vascular Health

June 7, 2024
Jared Pelo
Jared Pelo
Chief Medical Officer
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Bionic Beat v9: Vascular Health

Bionic Beat  v9: Heart Health

Heart disease is the number one killer in the world. The death of my brother in-law due to a massive heart attack is one of the reasons I started Bionic Health. In this newsletter, we'll discuss three important topics related to heart health: blood pressure, calcium scans versus angiograms, and ApoB as a biomarker. By understanding these factors and taking proactive steps, you can better monitor and manage your cardiovascular health.

 

Blood Pressure:

90% of the time I ask people if they have high blood pressure, they tell me no. When I have them monitor it for two weeks, 25% of them are found to have high blood pressure. One cool thing about blood pressure is how much you can impact it with diet and lifestyle.

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries while your heart pumps and relaxes. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can damage your blood vessels and increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney problems.  

Check out this great video from Dr Attia and Dr Huberman about blood pressure, how to take it and the importance of it.

Calcium scan versus Coronary CT Angiogram:

Calcium scans and coronary CT angiograms are two diagnostic tests that can help assess your heart health. A calcium scan measures the amount of calcium buildup in your coronary arteries, which can indicate the presence of calcified plaques.  

A coronary CT angiogram, on the other hand, uses CT with a special dye to create detailed images of your blood vessels, helping to identify blockages or narrowing. With advanced AI techniques, we can also see soft plaques which cannot be seen on a calcium scan.  

A simple rule of thumb is that if you are younger than 45 a calcium scan cannot rule out vascular disease, but it can rule it in. If you are under 45 with a positive calcium scan, we’ll want to be aggressive in trying to prevent further plaque buildup. A CT angiogram can tell us your vessel health no matter the age, but it is about 6 times more expensive.  

Check out this video from Dr. Pelo about Calcium Scans and CT Angiograms

ApoB as a Biomarker:

Apolipoprotein B (ApoB) is a protein found in plaque causing cholesterol particles. Recent research suggests that measuring ApoB levels may be a more accurate indicator of cardiovascular risk than traditional cholesterol tests. High ApoB levels indicate a greater number of all plaque causing particles (LDL, VLDL, Lp(a) etc) in the bloodstream, which can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.  

We use many different markers to look at your cholesterol health, but ApoB is the big picture molecule when it comes to plaque causing cholesterol. However, high ApoB doesn’t guarantee a plaque, it just means there is a higher risk. It is necessary for causing plaques but not sufficient alone, meaning there are other factors as well (metabolic disease, blood pressure, smoking, genetics).  

Check out this video from Dr Attia and Dr Huberman about how to think about ApoB and how it causes heart disease.

Conclusion:

By staying informed about blood pressure, heart scans, and ApoB, you can take a more proactive approach to your heart health. Remember to discuss these topics with your Bionic team and work together to develop a personalized plan for monitoring and managing your cardiovascular well-being. Small steps, such as adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle and staying up-to-date with recommended screenings, can make a big difference in protecting your heart for years to come.

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