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Lipids and Their Impact on Heart Health

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Lipid profile test at medical laboratory.

In cardiology we often speak of lipids. This word encompasses things like cholesterol, triglycerides and fats. Lipids are a HUGE class of molecules, without which, life as we know it would not exist. 

Lipids are like tiny building blocks in nature that don’t mix with water, but they can mix with certain other liquids. Imagine if you try to mix oil and water; they don’t blend together, right? Lipids are similar to that oil. They are super important because they help make up the parts of tiny living cells and have lots of different jobs in plants and animals. There are different types of lipids, each doing its own special job to help living things stay healthy and work properly.

Lipids are the multitaskers of the natural world. They do a lot of important jobs in our bodies and in other living things. For example, they store energy that we can use later, help make the outer layer of our cells, send messages inside our bodies, and even work as helpers in various body processes. They can also be like natural bodyguards, forming a barrier around a cell, keeping things inside when they belong inside, and outside when they belong outside. 

There are many different types of lipids that affect your heart: 

1. Fatty Acids: These are the simplest form of lipids. Fatty acids can be saturated (no double bonds) or unsaturated (one or more double bonds), affecting their physical properties and biological roles. They serve as the building blocks for many other complex lipids and are also key energy sources.

2. Triglycerides: Containing three fatty acids attached to a glycerol molecule, triglycerides are the main form of stored energy in animals and plants. They are found in body fat and in the oils of plants. 

3. Phospholipids: Comprising two fatty acids, a glycerol unit, and a phosphate group (often with additional small molecules attached to the phosphate), phospholipids are essential components of cell membranes. They form bilayers that act as barriers and interfaces for the transport of substances in and out of cells.

4. Steroids: Steroids are a class of lipids that have a structure consisting of four fused carbon rings. Cholesterol is a well-known steroid, crucial for cell membrane integrity, acting as a precursor for the synthesis of steroid hormones (such as sex hormones and corticosteroids), bile acids for digestion and the formation of vitamin D. 

5. Lipoproteins: These are complexes of lipids and proteins that transport lipids through the blood and lymphatic fluid. Lipoproteins are essential for the movement of triglycerides, phospholipids, and cholesterol within the body. Lipoproteins such as LDL and HDL also have an antioxidant function and are vital to our immune system. 

6. Glycolipids: Comprising a lipid linked to a carbohydrate, glycolipids are primarily found on the outer surface of cell membranes. They play roles in cell recognition and signaling.

7. Waxes: These are esters of long-chain fatty acids with long-chain alcohols. Waxes provide protective coatings for plants and animals, repelling water and protecting them from environmental damage.

When Lipids Get Damaged and Its Impact on Heart Health

As a heart doctor who loves natural ways to keep your heart healthy, let’s chat about something important – when fats in your body get damaged, and how it affects your health. Imagine the fats in your body as little soldiers that protect and give structure to your cells. But, sometimes, these soldiers can get hurt by something called “oxidation.” This is like a rusting process but for fats, and it can lead to some trouble inside your body.

These damaged fats, or as scientists call them, “lipid peroxides,” can mess with your DNA, the stuff that makes you, you, and even change how your body works. This isn’t great because it can make you age faster and lead to diseases like heart problems, cancer, and brain issues. Why does this happen? Well, it’s all about balance. Our bodies have these tiny, unstable particles called “free radicals” that can start the damage. Especially certain kinds of fats that are really good for you, like the ones in nuts and fish, are more likely to get damaged if these radicals attack them.

But, don’t worry, our bodies are pretty smart! We have a natural shield against this damage – antioxidants. These are like the body’s superheroes, fighting off the bad guys (free radicals) to protect our fats from getting rusty. 

Antioxidants, those created inside of us and those obtained from the diet, play a crucial role in neutralizing free radicals and preventing lipid peroxidation. Enzymatic antioxidants, such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, and glutathione peroxidase, directly neutralize ROS, while non-enzymatic antioxidants, including vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta-carotene, scavenge free radicals and protect lipids from peroxidation.

Conclusion:

Lipids are essential to life as we know it. But we don’t want them to suffer excess damage. How do you know your lipid damage status? Test, Don’t Guess. We suggest a urine lipid peroxide test as the next best step. Done in the comfort of your home, this test is a great way to learn your risk. You can learn more about the lipid peroxide urine test here.

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About Dr. Keith Smigiel NP, DC

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Dr. Keith Smigiel is a regenerative medicine physician and pain management specialist. He takes an integrative approach to medicine, focusing on customized solutions tailored to individual needs. Using advanced, non-surgical treatments, Dr. Smigiel stimulates your body’s ability to naturally heal itself.

Dr. Smigiel helps people suffering from conditions such as chronic pain and erectile dysfunction, to hair loss and weight gain. Combining treatments such as PRP Therapy, Ozone, Neural Prolotherapy, and IV Infusions with functional rehabilitation, he helps you look and feel better.

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

With his professional qualifications as a certified family nurse practitioner, a doctor of chiropractic, and a fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture, Dr. Smigiel offers patients comprehensive care from a broad perspective of conventional and alternative medicine. He also has extensive experience in functional rehabilitation and chronic pain management.

Dr. Smigiel is married to Angela and has two children, Sophia and Larz. When he’s not busy helping patients, he enjoys hiking, mountain biking, motocross, and boating.

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

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

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.

Beyond guideline-directed therapies, Kneller is passionate about optimized personal health. With a deep interest in complimentary alternative medicine (CAM), he strives to reduce the need for pharmaceuticals, invasive procedures, and exposure to harmful radiation. With Natural Heart Doctor, he strives to help each and every client to Live Well, Eat Well, and Think Well to attain their 100-year heart!

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.

I dedicated the next 4 years to the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona where I attained my Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine. I served as Class President all 4 years, Board of Trustees – Student Trustee, spoke as the Club President for our branch of Toastmasters, and was voted by my peers and attending physicians to earn the Outstanding Leadership Award for the Class of 2020. Throughout medical school I took it upon myself to work alongside MDs, DOs, chiropractors, and functional medicine practitioners in addition to naturopathic physicians.

As a Spanish speaking student, I was able to volunteer with community clinics around Phoenix and provide free healthcare to low-income families. Due to this combined exposure, I came to find my passion in treating cardiometabolic and digestive disorders that are all too common, yet largely preventable. I took the opportunity to learn the broad spectrum of healthcare so I can ensure that I am able to provide my patients with the best options.

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.

Dr. Wolfson is the founder of Natural Heart Doctor Scottsdale, his heart health practice in Arizona, and Natural Heart Doctor, an online resource center with natural health information. Doctors from across the globe reach out to Dr. Wolfson for training and education in holistic health practices.

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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.