Today I would like to talk about the real causes of cardiovascular disease, the connection between kidney disease and cardiovascular disease, and how you can treat them with natural statins. This is the continuation of my previous article entitled: Ultimate Guide To Lowering Cholesterol Naturally – Warning Cholesterol Is Bogus (Part 1) where I discussed The Great Cholesterol Myth.
One of the most surprising realisations for anyone with kidney disease is that it is more common to die from cardiovascular disease than it is to actually die from the kidneys failing*.
*It must be noted that this is not a necessarily your destiny. Your destiny is determined by your actions, and simply by being on this website, reading this article, means that you are in the minority of people that take care of their own health over and above most others. And therefore, by following the simple strategies I have laid out below, you will further your life expectancy, reduce complications and disease, and of course heal your body.
Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in people with chronic kidney disease.
How is that so? Well, there are a number of reasons, and they are as follows:
• Arteriosclerosis – the kidneys have a role in regulating calcium levels, when this diminishes calcium build ups in the arteries causing arterial hardening and stiffness.
• Blood clotting – blooding clotting is more common in those with kidney disease; if a blood clot closes off a blood vessel, this may cause high blood pressure, a heart attack, or stroke.
• Heart stress – there are many ways in which kidney disease places the heart under extra burden. Namely, the kidneys fail to remove enough fluid from the body causing blood pressure to rise, and fluid to build up around the lungs and heart. Hyperkalemia (high blood potassium) also occurs in kidney disease which causes the heart to beat and contract too rapidly.
• High blood pressure – the kidneys are the chief organ to regulate blood pressure, mainly through the elimination of fluid. When kidney function declines, so too does their ability to regulate blood pressure.
• Hyperlipedimia – kidney disease causes LDLs to increase, possibly due to a hormonal imbalance.
On top of these kidney specific causes, cardiovascular disease can be caused by a number of other factors. As discussed in part one of this two part series, cholesterol is not the be all and end all of heart disease, in fact, “cholesterol” is rarely the problem. The real culprits consist of seven “other” cardiovascular markers.
The Real Cardiovascular Health Culprits – And Why They Are Bad
What I am about to tell you is not new and shiny research sorry. In truth, it has been around for decades. You could probably be the hit at your next dinner part by talking about this, but in the complimentary health circles this is old news.
… Probably not the best idea to tell you all that – as people always want the newest scoop, the latest breakthrough, and so forth – but I am here to help you, not dish you out another lot of BS that will keep the current torrent of misinformation circulating throughout the world.
Here are the real culprits that are holding you back:
Note: I have broken down the “culprits” into three sections (1) Definition: (2) Interpretation: & (3) Reference range: This will give you an understanding of: (1) WHAT it is; (2) HOW it affects you; & (3) WHERE your levels need to be for optimal heart health.
1. Elevated ApoB – A.K.A. Apolipoprotein B
- Definition: Is the primary protein constituent of LDL (low-density lipoproteins) and VLDL (very low-density lipoproteins)
- Interpretation: Research shows that this is a better marker of heart disease than LDL or Total Cholesterol. This may be tested for instead of LDL
- Reference range: Optimally <0.9 g/L
2. Elevated High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein
- Definition: A protein that increases in direct relationship with increasing inflammation. This protein is produced by the liver
- Interpretation: Can be an indication of myocardial necrosis; coronary heart disease; increased risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack)
- Reference range: Only test using the “High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein” Test, regular C-Reactive Protein Test is very inaccurate.
o < 1.0 mg/L Low
o > 1.0 – 3.0 mg/L Moderate
o > 3.0 mg/L High
I received a request the other day from one of my readers, Anita, asking me for tips on lowering cholesterol naturally. I thought this was a great topic to write on, given the current state of our world’s cardiovascular health, the many misconceptions of cholesterol, and the connection of cardiovascular disease and kidney disease. For that reason I hope in answering Anita’s question, I can help you too.
Here is what Anita asked me (on facebook):
“Can I request an article on ways to naturally lower cholesterol? Over here, docs are statin-happy, it’s the miracle drug for preventing heart disease. Unfortunately, they are very dangerous for kidney patients (anyone reading this, read the manufacturer’s info… They ALL say, either do not use or monitor with extreme caution with kidney patients). Yet, because hypertension and kidney disease are linked, docs prescribe statins anyway… hypertension opens a person up to heart disease, and so does high cholesterol. So once again, instead of teaching people the right things to eat, they just make a pill for that which might do more damage to a problem kidney patients ALREADY have, in order to prevent a problem we MIGHT get. And no, docs are not necessarily aware of the kidney warning that comes with these drugs… I caught mine red-handed not knowing (and he pulled me off them on the spot when I pointed out their own literature)… but then he tried to put me on a different one. Same problem. And now I know of another person who was put on cholesterol meds when the drug manufacturer said, do not use with kidney patients. So I suspect it’s more common than not, and it would be really helpful to have a natural method to raise LDL and lower HDL. Thanks!”
I must admit, I am fed up hearing about cholesterol (no offence Anita!) and ways on lowering cholesterol naturally.
Despite our increasing awareness of cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, we seem further away from remedying the situation. In Australia, and other developed “western” countries, cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death.
To put it in perspective, one Australian dies from cardiovascular disease every ten minutes; which is just astonishing! And then when you consider Australia is only home to 22 million people you begin to wonder “how many people world-wide are dying from this condition?” Well after doing some “Googling”, I discovered that an estimated 155,000 people worldwide die every single day. 25% of those being due to cardiovascular disease; which equates to one person every 2 seconds!
Not the most “feel good” thought I have put forth, but it does highlight the extraordinary failing in our current sick health care system.
So What’s The Solution To Cardiovascular Disease?
As you can tell from my headline “Ultimate Guide To Lowering Cholesterol Naturally – Warning Cholesterol Is Bogus (Part 1)” I have a love-hate relationship with cholesterol. It is touted as the be all and end all for effective cardiovascular disease management. But as the number of people taking cholesterol lowering medications goes up, the dosage of these medications goes up, and the cholesterol references ranges go down (which seem to be a yearly occurrence), we are still not seeing any significant improvements.
The reason for this is that cholesterol is only part of the picture.
The Great Cholesterol Myth – And How You Have Been Suckered In
The Cholesterol Myth began approximately in 1954-55 when a scientist used rabbits to see the effects that a high cholesterol/high saturated fat diet might have on the human body. The results were considered “conclusive”. A high cholesterol/high saturated fat caused the arteries in rabbits to “clog up”, and therefore meant that this would happen to humans too.
Without thinking a little deeper this conclusion seems logical. BUT the scientist – and the rest of the world – forgot to consider one fundamental difference between the physiology of rabbits and human beings. Rabbits are herbivores, humans are omnivores!
It Is Basic Physiology
Just a small overlook wouldn’t you agree? NOT!
Since the dawn of time human beings physiology has been designed to consume and process cholesterol, rabbits on the other hand have not*.
*The truth is that there are some plants that do, but the quantity is so minute that it is often undetectable.
Every animal on the face of the planet has taken millennia to adapt to its environment, especially what it eats from its environment; knowing this makes this clinical trial quite absurd, doesn’t it?
Kidney disease symptoms… what are they, when do they occur, and why do they occur…?
For many, kidney disease symptoms remain confusing. This however is not surprising…
• Kidney disease has little awareness amongst the general public, and therefore is largely misunderstood.
• There are numerous conditions that fall under the ‘kidney disease’ umbrella term, each with their own set of symptoms.
• Kidney disease can be “acute” or “chronic”.
• ‘Kidney disease’ is one of many terms that label the same condition. Others terms include: chronic kidney disease, kidney failure, renal failure, renal disease, end-stage-kidney-disease… etc.
• Kidney disease symptoms rarely show themselves early on in the disease process; hence kidney disease is often called “The Silent Killer”.
• And surprisingly when kidney disease does enter its final stages, often patients are told that every symptom that they are experiencing is caused by the kidneys.
What Is The Purpose Of This Article?
The purpose of this article is to clarify exactly what the signs and symptoms are for kidney disease. And when I say the signs and symptoms of kidney disease, I mean the signs and symptoms of a kidney that has already begun to diminish in function. Therefore a urinary tract infection that has spread to the kidneys, but has not lowered the kidney function, is not applicable here (for example).
Kidney Disease Symptoms
Below I have listed the most common signs and symptoms resulting from under functioning kidneys. I have also tried, where I believe more information is needed, to explain the reasoning as to why these signs and symptoms occur. This will help you understand your condition better, and by doing so, enable you to heal yourself better.
Note: The following signs and symptoms can occur at any stage of kidney disease, however most individuals begin to experience them at stage 3 or 4*.
*Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is categorised in five distinct stages (based on your level of kidney function) to better help care for kidney disease sufferers. Kidney function is measured by what’s called an Estimated Gromulrular Filatration Rate (eGFR) test (for more information on this, please go here). Here is a brief analysis of each of the five stages:
• Stage 1 with normal or high GFR (eGFR > 90 ml/min)
• Stage 2 Mild CKD (eGFR = 60-89 ml/min)
• Stage 3 Moderate CKD (eGFR = 30-59 ml/min)
• Stage 4 Severe CKD (eGFR = 15-29 ml/min)
• Stage 5 End Stage CKD (eGFR <15 ml/min)
Symptom 1: Changes In Urination
Changes in urine are common, which makes a lot of sense considering that the kidneys main function is to regulate the body’s chemistry via the urine. These changes include:
- increased night time urination (aka: nocturia)
- foamy or bubbly urination (caused by excess protein in the urine)
- increased/decreased urine output
- dark yellow/brown urine
- blood in urine (aka: hematuria)
- increased urge, or a feeling of pressure on the bladder
Cause: The cause of this symptom is obvious. The kidneys that produce the urine are damaged, and therefore impact the way urine is processed. Out of all the kidney disease symptoms, this is one is probably the most common that I see in clinical practice.
Symptom 2: Fatigue
Feelings of constant fatigue, tiredness, drowsiness, and lethargy.
Cause: There are numerous causes for this symptom:
- Anemia: the kidneys produce the hormone EPO which is required to produce red blood cells. When the kidneys decrease in function, so too does the production of EPO.
- Decreased oxygenation: as mentioned above, kidney disease can cause red blood cell production to decrease, when this occurs you have fewer red blood cells to transport life giving oxygenation around the body. On top of this fluid can build up around the lungs causing inhalation difficulty, and therefore drawing in deep, long, oxygenating breaths is a rare occurrence.
- Adrenal fatigue: The Kidneys And Adrenals Are ONE – Although technically they are not the same organ/gland they are structurally connected, the adrenals produce a hormone call aldosterone which increases the kidneys reabsorption of sodium and water (and elimination of potassium), and from an energetic stand point, are the same.
The adrenal glands literally sit on top of the kidney like a hat – Please refer to following article for a diagram – and because of this, both impact each other. The adrenal glands are your body’s anti-stress/energy centre, by releasing such hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrinecortisol they increase the body’s energy. If the kidneys are not functioning well, then so aren’t the adrenals. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) also refers to these two organs as one. In their philosophy their in no distinction between the two, they are simply known as the ‘kidney’ meridian. The kidney meridian is regarded as the body’s most important reservoir of essential energy. And in the TCM philosophy, the “kidneys” house the body’s will power, control short-term memory, and provide the capacity for drive and strength. A person with deficient “kidneys” will be deficient in potency and stamina.
Have you been struggling to find clear & concise hyperparathyroidism treatment information on the internet? If so, you’re not alone.
For a lot of people experiencing kidney failure, hyperparathyroidism is by far one of the most puzzling of all complications – this is somewhat due to the fact that most people are unaware that there is even such a gland that exists in the body, but mostly due to the fact there is hardly any information out there on how to treat hyperparathyroidism effectively (and naturally).
It is therefore my goal with this blog post to demystify hyperparathyroidism treatment, and to provide a quality resource of information you can refer back to treat hyperparathyroidism naturally. I’ve made sure I have given you 7 of my best tips on how to reverse it.
Getting To Know Your Parathyroid Gland
Before we can treat parathyroid disease we need to know then, what it is, and its function.
The parathyroid gland is actually a collection of glands situated in the neck, behind the thyroid gland – which lies over the voice box. There are four parathyroid glands in total (though some individuals can be born with more), and surprisingly all four of them are the size of a grain of rice! It blows my mind that such small glands can have such an influence on the body.
The only function of the parathyroid gland is to manage calcium levels within the blood; this is an important job, as your entire nervous and muscular systems functionality depends on it. Our nervous system literally communicates from the presence of calcium, or I could say one nerve communicates to another nerve through the electrical conductivity of calcium. Not only that, but calcium is also required for muscular function, particularly muscular contraction – magnesium on the other hand relaxes muscles.
So What Does The Parathyroid Do?
Well, the parathyroid gland is like a 24 hour calcium monitor, when the gland detects that blood calcium levels have dropped under a certain amount, they produce parathyroid hormone (PTH).
The goal of the parathyroid hormone is to increase circulating blood levels of calcium. It does this in four ways:
1. PTH causes the skeletal bones to breakdown and release calcium in to the blood stream
2. PTH increases absorption of calcium via the intestines by activating vitamin D (this activation occurs within the kidneys)
3. PTH increases reabsorption of calcium via the kidneys
4. PTH increases the excretion of phosphate in the urine. Phosphate inhibits the rise of calcium in the blood. Both calcium and phosphorus work on a see-saw effect – when one is up the other is low.
That all make sense? Good.
So How Does It All Go Wrong?
Because this website is dedicated to helping those with kidney disease, we’ll just concentrate on the issues that relate and affect you… Hyperparathyroidism can be caused by a number of ways (benign tumour growth, hyperplasia, and carcinoma) but when one has kidney disease it occurs for a number of different reasons. These different reasons cause what is termed “secondary hyperparathyroidism”, because they cause hyperparathyroidism indirectly. As you will soon see.
Note: This is where it is important to pay attention as it is these causes we turn in to the basis of our hyperparathyroidism treatment => which leads to healing.
The Causes Of Secondary Hyperparathyroidism (remember hyperparathyroidism treatment starts from here)
1. When the kidneys begin to decline, their ability to remove phosphate from the blood also declines: As you may remember phosphate acts as an antagonist to calcium, so when high levels of phosphate are in the blood supply, there are low levels of calcium. This in turn will cause the parathyroid gland to produce more PTH to increase calcium levels.
2. Kidneys on the decline also have trouble converting vitamin D to its most biologically active form. This in turn reduces absorption of calcium via the intestines.
Therefore in kidney disease hyperparathyroidism is caused by low active forms of Vitamin D, and high phosphate levels… which cause low calcium, and therefore an overactive parathyroid!
What Are The Symptoms and Problems Associated With Secondary Hyperparathyroidism?
The main problem with this type of hyperparathyroidism is that calcium and phosphorus bind to together. This binding causes bone disease because calcium is taken from the bones, making them weak and brittle, and then calcifies in various parts of the body. It is this calcification that causes most of the problems. Calcification is essentially deposits of calcium phosphate in places where it should not occur.
Today is the first of many articles I will write (from time to time) to focus on a herb, and detail its specific benefits for helping those with kidney disease. Today I will be featuring the herb Hawthorn.
Want to know how to lower high blood pressure naturally? Well hawthorn is the ideal companion of anyone experiencing high blood pressure (or any cardiovascular disease for that matter), which in the case of kidney disease this is always a favourable as so many individuals exhibit both kidney and heart conditions together.
With over 2000 years of medicinal use, hawthorn is truly a well established and well-known herb within any naturopath’s or herbalist’s toolkit. Names such as Dioscorides and Paracelsus (famous past physicians and botanists) praised hawthorn for its cardiovascular strengthening properties, and today this is proven through extensive scientific studies.
Hawthorn is a small thorny deciduous tree which grows to 5-14 metres (15-45 feet), is part of the Rosaceae family, and with roughly 280 species can sometimes cause confusion when sourcing the correct species of hawthorn for medicinal use. The best therapeutic species of hawthorn are: Crataegus monogyna, Crataegus spp, Crataegus laevigata, and Crataegus oxyacantha.
The leaves are dark green on top and lighter underneath, deeply lobed, with a length ranging between 2–4 cm (stay with me!). In the spring hawthorn features fragrant (though foul smelling!) red, pink, or white flowers. In autumn these flowers turn in to small, deep red, apple-shaped fruit. It is these “fruit” (berries) and leaves that form the most medicinally active part of the plant.
Many practitioners have their preference to which part of the plant they prefer to use, however all the latest studies show that it is the leaves that are most active. That is not to say the berries aren’t useful, hell no! It’s just a small tip that if you can source the leaves then do so, if not, that’s fine. In fact most products out at the moment contain only the berries or a blend of both, so sourcing a blend of both is by far the best.