April Newsletter
April, 2022
Welcome to the April newsletter. This newsletter aims to provide information and analysis of timely topics from recent articles published in the medical literature. I hope you find this information useful and helpful in your health journey. If you have comments or questions, please let us know!

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of death globally, with over 17.9 million lives lost annually. Here in the US, someone dies of CVD every 36 seconds with 2,380 deaths each day. On average, someone in the US has a stroke every 40 seconds and there are 795,000 new or recurrent strokes each year. Someone dies of a stroke every 3 minutes and 33 seconds with about 405 deaths from stroke every day. These are obviously staggering numbers.

As I went through articles for this month I thought it would be good to highlight some of the things that can be done to assess our individual risk of the #1 killer in the world. The first article looks at an inexpensive test that can give good information in regards to our potential risk for cardiovascular disease. The second article reviews a blood test that more accurately assesses our risk of active plaque formation than just a simple lipid panel. The third article looks at the timing of interventions. Spoiler alert - earlier is better but you may be surprised at how early we should intervene. I hope you enjoy these articles!
heart scan
Calcified Artery Risk
Coronary artery calcification occurs when calcium builds up in the plaque found in the walls of the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart. The presence of coronary artery calcification can be an early sign of coronary artery disease. What do these calcium scores mean? Who should get a heart scan? What is the actual risk to me as an individual, does a higher score mean a higher likelihood of having a heart attack or sudden death? What can be done if I have a high coronary artery calcium score? 

Key to Heart Attack Risk?
The reason we check lipid panels is to try to get an idea of cardiovascular risk. Over the years, the LDL level has been deemed to be the one number we should focus on. Millions of people have been placed on cholesterol-lowering medications based on a calculated LDL level. However, is this the best tool to determine our risk? What if there is a better test to determine our risk more accurately for heart disease and heart attacks? 

Sins of the Past
Living a healthy lifestyle is important at every age, but new research suggests that making changes earlier in life, even during childhood will be beneficial for the number one killer in the world, cardiovascular disease. As parents, what risk factors should we focus on? What behaviors should we change as we become young adults to lower our risk? Will modifying these risk factors help even if I am no longer a kid? 

To Your Health...
Thank you for taking the time to read through this newsletter. We hope you have found this information useful. Feel free to pass this on to anyone you think would benefit from this newsletter.

Mark Niedfeldt, M.D.

Old-fashioned medicine with 21st Century convenience and technology