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Is Ozempic (semaglutide) Heart Healthy?

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Ozempic (semaglutide) injector

Ozempic (semaglutide) is a medication primarily used to treat type 2 diabetes. It belongs to a class of drugs known as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs). These medications are often prescribed to help control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes by stimulating insulin release and reducing glucagon secretion in response to meals.

Here are some generic names for this class of drugs exenatide, lixisenatide, liraglutide, albiglutide, dulaglutide, tirzapatide (Mounjaro) and semaglutide.

While Ozempic is not primarily indicated for improving heart health, there is evidence to suggest that some GLP-1 RAs, including semaglutide (Ozempic), may have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. This is particularly important because individuals with type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of heart disease.

How Does Ozempic Work?

Ozempic (semaglutide) is a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes, and it belongs to a class of drugs known as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs). It works in several ways to help control blood sugar levels and has some additional effects on body weight and appetite. Here’s how Ozempic works:

  • Stimulates Insulin Release: Ozempic mimics the action of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which is naturally produced in the intestines. When you eat, GLP-1 is released, and it stimulates the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin helps regulate blood sugar levels by facilitating the uptake of glucose into cells.
  • Inhibits Glucagon: In addition to stimulating insulin release, GLP-1 also inhibits the release of another hormone called glucagon. Glucagon promotes the release of glucose from the liver. By inhibiting glucagon, Ozempic helps reduce the amount of glucose released into the bloodstream.
  • Slows Gastric Emptying: Ozempic also slows down the rate at which the stomach empties its contents into the intestines. This delay in gastric emptying can help reduce post-meal spikes in blood sugar levels. (risk of gastroparesis)
  • Reduces Appetite: Some GLP-1 RAs, including Ozempic, have been associated with a reduction in appetite. This can lead to weight loss in some individuals, which can be beneficial for those who are overweight or obese.

The net result of these actions is improved blood sugar control, as Ozempic helps lower fasting and post-meal blood glucose levels. It also has the potential to reduce the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), as it primarily works when blood sugar levels are elevated.

Ozempic and Your Heart

Several clinical trials have evaluated the cardiovascular effects of Ozempic and other GLP-1 RAs. In some of these trials, they have shown a reduction in major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE), which include heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular death. For example, the SUSTAIN-6 trial demonstrated a significant reduction in MACE for semaglutide compared to a placebo. In SUSTAIN-6, a 1% reduction in non-fatal heart attacks and a 1% stroke reduction was seen. There was no cardiovascular mortality benefit and no overall death benefit.

The exact mechanisms through which GLP-1 RAs like Ozempic have cardiovascular benefits are not fully understood but may involve actions such as reducing inflammation, improving blood vessel function, and promoting weight loss.

A recent 2023 trial found Ozempic to benefit people with heart failure, normal ejection fraction, and obesity. Inflammation was lower and symptoms improved.

Risks of Ozempic

Some of the potential risks and side effects associated with Ozempic:

  • Hypoglycemia: While Ozempic itself is less likely to cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) compared to some other diabetes medications, there is still a risk of low blood sugar when used in combination with other medications that lower blood sugar.
  • Pancreatitis: There have been rare reports of pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) associated with Ozempic. Symptoms can include severe abdominal pain, often radiating to the back, and you should contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience these symptoms.
  • Thyroid Tumors: Some studies in animals have shown an increased risk of thyroid tumors with GLP-1 receptor agonists like Ozempic. However, this risk and its relevance to humans are still being investigated.
  • Allergic Reactions: Although rare, some individuals may experience allergic reactions to Ozempic, such as itching, rash, or swelling. Seek medical attention if you experience any severe allergic reactions.
  • Kidney Function: There have been reports of changes in kidney function in some individuals using Ozempic. Your healthcare provider will monitor your kidney function while you are on medication.
  • Heart Rate Increase: GLP-1 RAs like Ozempic may cause a small increase in heart rate.
  • Injection Site Reactions: As Ozempic is administered via subcutaneous injection, there may be mild redness, itching, or pain at the injection site.

My medical career has seen many weight loss drugs come and go. Let the buyer beware. There is a BETTER way.

The Better Way instead of Ozempic

The better way is not the easy way, but this path goes after the causes of disease. Your body is not deficient in Ozempic or the others. Your body is deficient in Eat Well, Live Well, Think Well.

Remember, the goal is not to reduce your heart attack risk from 4% to 3%. The goal is 0%. We know mainstream does not offer this. I believe we do at Natural Heart Doctor. Schedule a free coaching session HERE to find out more how to reduce your risk while experiencing vitality, clarity and longevity.

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He heals the body, instead of just treating the symptoms!

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About Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

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Dr. James Kneller is one of the nation’s leading heart rhythm specialists. Dr. Kneller is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine.

As a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society (FHRS) and Certified Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS), Kneller provides comprehensive patient care, combining best medical practice with invasive procedures using state-of-the-art technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders.

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About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

Dr. Lattanza Office Visit with Patient

As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to treat the whole person and get to the root cause of disease.

I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

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About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

Dr. Wolfson Office Visit with Patient

Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

For more than two decades, more than one million people have enjoyed the warmth, compassion, and transformational power of his natural heart health courses and events.

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Dr. Wolfson and his wife Heather have four children and are committed to making the world a better place to live. They provide for those in need (including animals) and support natural health causes through their philanthropic efforts.

Chiropractic

Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

IV Therapy

We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Acupuncture

Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.