Arteriosclerosis, or narrowing of the arteries, is the most common cause of heart disease. But in women younger than 45, we see more heart attacks caused by improper blood clotting that can be triggered by high fibrinogen levels.
Too much fibrinogen, an inflammatory product of blood coagulation, can make the blood clot too fast.
High Fibrinogen Levels Aren’t the Sole Province of Younger Women
At age 57, one woman went to her doctor with signs of unstable angina. She had bypass and angioplasty, followed by drugs to help her maintain healthy cholesterol, as well as other conventional treatments. Nine years later, she had a second heart attack and underwent a cardiac catheterization to reopen some of the grafts that had closed. In her mid-60s and depressed about the recurrence of her heart disease, she came to see me seeking alternative ways of minimizing her cardiovascular problems and healing her heart.
I prescribed a fish oil (EPA-DHA) supplement to promote “slippery” blood platelets and help improve blood circulatin by neutralizing her fibrinogen and triglyceride levels. I also put her on my PAM diet, my cardiovascular nutrition plan that includes much lower levels of carbohydrates (to combat her insulin resistance), plus healthy fats and garlic. I also recommended that she exercise to help her lose weight.
If these measures failed to support these critical blood parameters enough within three to six months, she agreed to go on natural estrogen therapy. Estrogen is important because fibrinogen levels rise with falling estrogen. Recent research suggests that estrogen replacement therapy can significantly reduce plasma fibrinogen levels.
The most important contributor to high fibrinogen levels is cigarette smoking: Smoking is just about the worst thing you can do for your health. According to research, almost half of all heart risk factors can be attributed to cigarette smoking.
While there may be some variations among laboratories, an acceptable range for serum fibrinogen is less than 300 mg/dl; anything over 350 mg/dl is considered undesirable.
Now it's your turn: Have you had your fibrinogen levels tested?
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