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As many of you know, undetected cardiovascular disease is one of the greatest health risks facing all of us today. Too often the first symptom of cardiovascular disease may be a heart attack or stroke resulting in severe disability or even sudden death. As your physician I try to find new and advanced methods to detect cardiovascular disease before you ever experience symptoms.

Dr. Gruenn now offers an innovative, highly accurate and non-invasive method for early detection of cardiovascular disease called the HeartSmart IMT.

This 10-minute test, which is done in our office, uses a specialized ultrasound scan of the neck to measure the thickness of the wall of the carotid artery (also known as the intima-media thickness or IMT). The HeartSmart IMT can detect the presence, severity, and composition of carotid artery plaque. Therefore we can assess just how vulnerable your arterial plaque is to rupture that can lead to sudden heart attack and stroke.

What's great with measuring IMT is the discovery that it closely correlates with coronary artery plaque with a high degree of accuracy. In addition, IMT can evaluate soft, non-calcified plaque that is undetectable through tests that measure your Calcium Score. Compared to Coronary Calcium Scoring (which requires x-rays), HeartSmart IMT can detect both types of hard and soft plaque safely without any radiation exposure, and less expensively than Calcium Scoring. With HeartSmart IMT we can now detect arteriosclerosis at its earliest stages and offer preventive treatments long before any illness evolves.

We offer other important testing that can reveal your metabolic and nutritional imbalances that may lead to cardiovascular disease. The good news is that they are correctable. For example, the CMP (Comprehensive Metabolic Panel) and the Berkeley Advanced Heart Panel are unique blood and urine tests that help identify your potential for increased inflammation by measuring your blood fatty acid levels of EPA (the beneficial fat found in fish oil) and arachidonic acid (detrimental if too high) or trans-fats. These tests might also uncover your need for more antioxidants based on your levels of urine lipid peroxides (a marker of toxic oxidized fats) or your deficiencies of B-Vitamins, COQ10, lipoic acid and magnesium, all-important for cardiovascular health.

Nutritional medical research has proven that we can actually reverse both soft and hard-calcified plaque and restore the health of our arteries. We have recently updated our nutritional and lifestyle protocols based on these published results. Here are some general nutritional recommendations for supplements that can contribute to the regression of cardiovascular plaque:

Fish oils: help reduce plaque and clot formation, plaque rupture, heart attacks or stroke

Anti-oxidants: COQ10 Max (a highly absorbable form of coenzyme Q10), vit-E with gamma-tocopherol

Whole Grape Essentials (a special formula with grape skin and grape seed extracts that reduces some of cholesterol's harmful effects)

Anti-inflammatories: Curcumin Concentrate, Inflam-Control formula, and Resveratrol Extend (natural formulas made with powerful plant extracts to benefit longevity and cardiovascular protection).

Therapeutic doses of vitamin K (removes arterial calcium and transfers it to bone).

Therapeutic doses of vitamin C (strengthens the plaque lining and reducing the risk of plaque rupture).

Your prescribed supplement and treatment program will be tailored for you, based on your specific risk factors i.e. diet, lifestyle, family history and testing results, and you can be assured we emphasize natural treatments whenever possible. Follow-up IMT measurements track your improvement and guide us in fine-tuning and optimizing your individualized treatment plan.

Schedule your HeartSmart IMT and learn more about how you can update your cardiovascular risk reduction and longevity program