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Prevent & Reverse the #1 Killer of Women At Midlife: Heart Disease

Do you know what the number one killer of women is in midlife? If you said heart disease, you’re right!

In this episode of The Hormone Prescription Podcast, Dr. Beverly Yates joins us to share her knowledge of how to prevent and reverse heart disease.

Dr. Yates is a leading expert in natural hormone replacement therapy and has helped countless women achieve optimum health and well-being. In this conversation, she shares her insights on how the menopause transition can impact heart health and what steps we can take to protect ourselves.

You’ll learn about:

-The link between hormones and heart health

-The impact of the menopause transition on heart health

-How to prevent and reverse heart disease

-And much more!

If you’re concerned about your heart health or want to learn how to protect yourself from this deadly disease, this episode is a must-listen. Tune in now!

[01:03] So without further ado, I will tell you a little bit about Dr. Beverly Yates, and then we will started, she's done a lot of stuff ladies. So her bio is very substantial. So here we go. Dr. Beverly Yates, naturopathic doctors, a diabetes expert, an author who has over 28 years of experience of working with those who struggle with blood sugar issues related to type two diabetes and pre-diabetes and feel like nothing works for them.

[02:03] Dr. Yates creates breakthrough changes in the habits that cause blood sugar issues. This allows her clients to finally get off of the blood sugar roller coaster, have more energy and create the level of health that lets them live the life of their dreams. She is the creator of the Ys protocol, a simple and effective lifestyle - based program for people who have type two diabetes or pre-diabetes to lower blood sugar levels, achieve healthy A1C and fasting blood sugar levels and have more energy to live life the way they want to. She's worked with thousands of people, helping them to lower their blood sugar levels to a healthy range and get control over their health.

[03:29] Yep. The summer is at the end of July. That's right.

[03: 31] End of July that you don't want to miss. She was chosen as the lead doctor for a new three - doctor panel TV show on ABC CT. And they did not green light the series, but I know another TV show is in your future. Dr. Bev <laugh> Dr. Ye has been featured in the media, including ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS NPR, black news channel Fox series, XM, MINDBODY green essence magazine, good housekeeping woman, world readers, digest, Rodale press, and more welcome doctor advocate.

[04:05] Wow. What a lovely intro. Thank you so much, Dr. Karen, for your invitation to be a part of here with your group and also to, you know, explore a topic that is just, it really just needs to be on everyone's mind, frankly. There's other, um, illnesses that people are far more aware of, and they don't know, understand that heart disease is still far away.

[04:28] Yeah. Particularly in women and you find all kinds of information about other issues, you know? And when I ask myself why that is, this is what I think. Tell me what you think that people really think, oh, my doctor's got that covered. I don't need to worry about that. I don't need to look for that on social media. Yeah. And it's also silent, and you know, I've diagnosed so many women probably like you have, you know, coronary artery blockage from a coronary calcium scan. So can you talk a little about that a little bit more?

[05:18] Yeah. That's a great intro. Let's take back the covers here and have a heart disease is one of those silent processes whereby the time it's clear and someone's symptomatic. The process has been in place for years, if not decades, right? Just like diabetes. It tends to sneak up on people. And unless they have clear testing, clear assessment, you know, some kind of a, a rational testing process, diagnostic imaging, looking at blood markers, et cetera.

[06:02] A lot of people have this misperception and I really want to make this point clear for women, men, anyone people has this misperception that if you lead a healthy lifestyle, you will avoid problems. It's not true. It's not that simple. Don't we wish. And if you have a genetic risk from your family, if you have a lifestyle or a past set of chronic stresses or traumas, they can all set you up for heart disease that could potentially be lethal.

[06:50] There's some good news to be had around this too, especially for women. But meanwhile, we all have to do what we can. And I think one of the reasons we don't have about this is that selling you the solution after the problem for really expensive heart surgery, to have your chest cracked open and have your heart re plummed and other things like that is just worth so much more money than the things that you could do well before that's ever needed. It will never ever have that huge expense.

[07:36] But when I started on this path and I learned about some options that aren't standard of care, like coronary calcium scanning, I started sending all my at-risk women for it. And I literally would have some women, they would call from the center and say, she, you know, almost had a complete blockage in all three arteries. And we would send her to the ER, and she ended out with a stent or a bypass. Right. And her life was saved, but it's not even recognized in mainstream medicine. So because it's this silent killer and women don't even know how they can protect themselves?

[08:37] Yeah. That's a great question. You know, even today in 2022, it is not necessarily the standard of care that insurance companies will pay for a coronary calcium scan. Right? And any, depending on where you live, that scan could cost you somewhere between $75 to $300. And for some people it can be lifesaving. If it determines that there's a blockage, you know, off to the cath lab, you go, or maybe it's time to have your chest cracked, but at least it was before you had that coronary failure, that myocardial infarction a heart attack that can drop you like a rock and potentially kill you.

[09:19] So when we go through menopause, obviously a lot of our hormone shift in change, right? As much of that conversation starts though before the time of actual menopause aging of all kinds, that conversation in your body really starts to shift somewhere between the ages of 38 to 42. And at that point somewhere between age 38 to age 42, about 1% to 4% shift per year. Now, if you are comfortable with money and finances, think about it.

[10: 07] So you wanna then start to manage and maintain and boost your aging conversation, so you can live long and live well when it comes to cardiovascular health and making sure that your heart has what it needs and the rest of your cardiovascular system. It's just so, so important to have a healthy lipid profile, to have the fractions be at a good ratio to each other and to not have issues with the blood vessels that feed the heart. Those are called the coronary vessels, coronary meaning heart vessels, right?

[11:01] And you can call around and shop around. You know, when you call hospitals and outpatient centers, et cetera, probably less expensive in an outpatient center compared to hospital has much bigger overhead as you might expect, but it's worth making that call to find out. It would be lovely if we had almost like a door dash of equivalent for health. So we can just look it up on an app and know how much it will cost me.

[11:41] I really can't. And today it's so true. It couldn't be easier, right. To make this transparent. Why is it so hard? You know, I've had times like, uh, I remember once when one of my kids needed surgery for something and I called around, get an idea, what would the out-of-pocket cost be? The time they were much younger, you know, we're trying to pay for school, this other thing. And I could not get anything on anybody. And it was really crazy. I mean, I knew all the ICD codes, the CPT code, I had all the numbers. Right. All the big words and, and the people who ran through the phone were like, I have no idea. I

[12:22] I mean, but you're right. It's like shopping on canal street in New York. It's like, no prices on anything. How much is that bag? And they'll be they'll, they'll kind of size you up and go for you $375.

[12:40] You are a tourist anywhere in the world. They think you might be from the US, you know, the price went up. So yeah, I got that.

[12:46] Right. So just as a public PSA, we might save some women's lives today. Can you tell everyone what a calcium scan is and that their doctor's not going to order this for them. And you can maybe help me understand why that is. Um, <laugh> that they can, like I've said people, sometimes I've seen Groupons for like $89, and you can go get it, and it can save your life.

[13:14] Yeah. So a coronary calcium scan is an imaging, a simple imaging where your body scans specifically your chest to capture your heart. And it's looking at your heart, it's looking at the chambers of the heart. And it's looking at the blood vessels that feed the heart, particularly the ones that sit right on the top surface here, the coronary arteries, right? Those are the blood vessels that are dedicated to the heart. They're going nowhere else. They're simple.

[13:55] This is why blood pressure is lower. Other things. This gives the heart a way to rest that lower blood pressure number. For instance, the diastolic numbers. Like if your blood pressure is one 20 over 80, that 80, the lower number is critical. That's your heart at rest. Again, it never really stops. So I was able to relax. You can't relax.

[14:43] That's what the compromise is about. And after a certain amount of blockage, that's usually when people become symptomatic, maybe they're short of breath for no particular reason. Any exertion at all is exhausting. They might find that they have chest pains. Yes or no. And for women, the presentation of chest pains is very different from it is for men. Frequently.

[15:26] Maybe she's got pain in her shoulder. It might be on the left side. It might not. It might be on the right side. It can be very confusing almost all the time. When women have heart attacks, they'll say, I didn't feel well. I felt profoundly unwell. That's usually the most presenting symptom. And so it's kind of easy to get that overlooked.

[16:12] It's still considered perspective or experimental or research controversial, whatever. It's not condoned in terms of conventional medicine. And as such insurance companies do not feel required to pay for it. It hasn't yet gotten to that status of being part of the standard of care. And so people will look at you often with a side eye, and they will not prescribe it or recommend it. You can go and get these things yourself.

[17:09] O C C L U S I O N occlusion in the absence of a blockage or occlusion. Right then you're good in terms of whether or not the heart is getting what it needs for blood flow. Now, can we talk about another aspect of this that usually isn't put together? Is that okay, please? Absolutely. There's stress echocardiograms. Now, from the point of view of a cardiologist, this is something I happen to agree with them on a stress echo, as it's called more, you know, familiarly, a stress echocardiogram, in my opinion, is a gold standard.

[18:03] If you are a woman with larger breast masks, this could be one of the most awkward tests you will have in your life, worse than a mammogram in some ways to be clear but worth it. Okay. All right, wait a minute. I'm just, I'll talk about it right now. <laugh> fellas do not go through all this drama. So with the ultrasound head there, and you'll have 12 EKG leads all around you electrocardiogram that is recording the electrical activity of the heart. So what they're doing is they're going to have you initially walk light load, right?

[18:46] You'll see whether all the valves are flapping or not. And you also see one of the most critical, sensitive measures you can ever imagine for the function of your heart called L V E F left ventricular ejection fraction in plain language, how much blood that has now just been oxygenated from your lungs and has come back to the heart is actually going to go out of that sucker and around the rest of the body to deliver that oxygen. You don't wanna, it all stick in there. So when that ejection fraction gets lower, like significantly under 50, say it's 30%, 25%, 20%, 14%, et cetera. That's where congestive heart failure happens.

[19:43] So the stress echo you like as the gold standard for diagnosing coronary artery disease or looking for function of the heart, or what do you like that for

[19:54] The heart function is the heart functioning well, okay. Make sure it's getting blood in. And the blood is getting back out because it's not doing us any good. If the blood's going in, and it's not leaving, that's why people have these problems with clots. You see all these medications being promoted for lowering clots, blood thinners, et cetera. This is what's. This is why, right? Heart disease.

[20:15] Right? But I know there's some people listening, going, Dr. Bev, do I need to ask for a stress echo

[20:22] Think it's a great baseline test. I do, especially in your middle life years. I think it's a great baseline. And if you have a history of being an athlete, if you've been athletic, if you are a big a person who was huge on dancing, anything that was aerobics in nature, some of the more vigorous things I've seen for cheerleading, absolutely qualify as far as I'm concerned, their athletes do as well as the individual and team sports. Anything that involved running, lifting resistance or weight training. I think it's a good idea for you to get that test. Here's why you will have a natural increased growth called a hypertrophy of that left ventricle wall.

[21:38] Yes, absolutely. All right. So that's another test. Let's back up a little and talk about the risk factors. Mm-hmm <affirmative> for heart disease. Sure. And you mentioned earlier genetic dyslipidemias mm-hmm <affirmative> can you talk about what are the risk factors that really need to be addressed and mitigated, and then we'll weave that into lipids?

[22:01] Sure, sure. So risk factors. One of them is something that's affecting many people right now, as we work our way through this pandemic situ and that is sitting too much sitting throughout the day, sitting on an airplane or a bus or a train or whatever it is, right? Extended periods of sitting are a real risk factor. So that's one, another issue is a complete lack of exercise and any kind of exercise. It could be dancing to your favorite music. It doesn't mean you have to go to the gym and do some, some specific, right it's simply movement.

[22:45] Your blood lipids love that fiber, the healthier ones are more likely to be pronounced when you've got plenty of fiber on board. So green leafy vegetables are a great way to get fiber. You can have ground FLA seeds, a few nuts and seeds. Those have fiber in them, fruits, fresh fruits, absolutely other kinds of vegetables, not necessarily green ones. All of those food groups have fiber naturally in them, can take fiber as supplements.

[23:22] Smoking's another risk factor. Smoking basically sets your blood vessels on, on fire. If you will, it's a kind of inflammation and the sort of damage that smoking those blood vessels makes it far more likely that the unfriendly lipids will park in the blood vessels and turn into those Velcro balls. I talked about it. So their Velcro balls happen.

[23:51] Yes. And the sitting the smoking. And I know you're gonna talk about blood sugar and diabetes, right?

[24:01] Absolutely. Blood sugar, um, problems where blood sugar rises chronically high and doesn't come back down or the blood sugar roller coaster for people who go from super high to really low, super high, to really low experience, to hang, reach phenomenon, hungry and angry who have first too much blood sugar. And then not enough, it just plummets like a rock off a cliff. This is a problem, right? It's another risk factor.

[24:34] That blood sugar wants to hang onto the proteins in your blood. The proteins belong there, but too much blood sugar does not. And you have extra blood sugar. It hangs on those proteins to create big old honk and molecules called protein glycan.

[24:52] Tries to get through your tiny little capillaries. Well, it doesn't fit. <laugh> it's too big. And so all of your circulation starts to be compromised. So then when you have the unfriendly fractions of that, of the lipids, they see this mess and one of them joins it's a pile <laugh> it just gets bigger and bigger. It's a problem.

[25:13] Yeah. So let, so the blood, sugar's a problem. Definitely gotta get that under control. Yep. And let's segue into the lipids. So let's talk about that. How does that contribute and what testing do people have? And let's dive into that.

[25:30] Lipid fractions that we care about, here are the ones that should be on most lab tests. They are HDL, which stands for high density, lip protein; there's LDL, which is low density, lip protein. Then there's V LDL, which stands for very low density like protein. There are some other fractions as well. One of them that is super helpful to know about is called lipoprotein little a right. So lipoprotein little a it's either shown as a lowercase, a or in parentheses an after the word lipoprotein, depending on the lab, the lab, company's way of doing that call out.

[26:20] Think of it as like beach balls in your blood. It's good. It's not thick into anything. It's kind of natural. Telon it's not toxic at all. In this case, it's just good for you. It doesn't cause problems and cholesterol as a large category is the building block a substrate for all the sex hormones. We actually want cholesterol in the body. What we care about is what the body is doing to the cholesterol or interacting with it. So if you have the presence of other kinds of inflammation, which we'll talk about later, this is where lipid pro profiles and fractions matter a lot.

[27:08] Same is true for V LDL, a very low density lipoprotein in the presence of inflammation. It too can be troublesome. LDL is more likely to take people out compared to V LDL triglycerides.They, too, are another fraction of lipid, and they can definitely be problematic. And it's all about inflammation. So back to where we talked about the biggest loser in one of their trainers, Bob Harper, who you know, seemed to be amazingly fit and in shape and blah, blah, blah, and still dropped like a rock from a heart attack. Well, it turned out he hadn't unfriendly cholesterol profile, a very unfriendly one. And again, if he hadn't been in a place where people saw him drop over from a heart attack, he probably would've died because he wouldn't have gotten help fast enough.

[28:11] No, I do. And I'm trying to think of the name of that famous marathon runner who also dropped dead from a heart attack. So just because you're physically, you look physically fit doesn't mean that you are. Yeah. So when people get a regular lipid profile from their doctors, they usually get what total cholesterol, LDL VDL chide and HDL, correct.

[28:39] Right. And so I also gonna say is that sufficient, and I just want to let everybody listening in the podcast know that Dr. Bev is getting ready to give a master class to the women in my midlife mastery program. And so that's who she's talking to. <laugh> when she's showing, uh, look, look at my hands and stuff.

[29:09] And the course of now 30 years of, of clinical practice and growing where they'll come in, their total cholesterol number will be higher than 200. So it's considered L of or high, right. It automatically falls into the category of at risk. However, a lot of times for these women, especially in midlife and older it's because their HGL fraction has gone up the protective good gal, good girl, kind of cholesterol.

[29:50] They've been told, oh, it's high cholesterol. It's time to put you on a statin as a reflexive response, irrespective of anything else about their lifestyle. And it's not, in my opinion, in a scientific, clinically measured way to go. It doesn't make sense. If your cholesterol profile is dominant with HDL high density protein, you have an unusual amount of protection and that's good. And if you don't have inflammation, it's even better because now it is highly unlikely. You'd be is such a low risk category for a heart attack, right? You just are. Now the other way, this could go HDL is low and V LDL or more likely LDL, usually LDL and triglycerides will elevate more so than V LDL.

[30:52] And when it comes to lip profile, we care a lot because stress at the moment for a reason that you burn it off with activity, like you literally had to lift the car off a loved one, you were literal, really running from a bear for instance is okay, it's good for us. It keeps us safe. It can save lives. The problem with stress is when it's chronic, and it runs away with us, and we are trapped, we feel overwhelmed. And those chemicals surge throughout our body, whether it's cortisol, the primary stress, chemical adrenaline, some other things, right, neurotransmitters, they all get in the mix.

[31:52] And if enough of it builds up, it creates what's called those Atheros or those fattythis fatty buildup, those fatty plaques on the walls of the blood vessels. That's where the word athero sclerosis will come from where it's this process where, because the blood vessels been damaged now, the fats are trying to patch it. And the fat's really hard to sign to patch. It that's just a bad patch.

[32:26] You know, this is super important. What you just said about chronic stress. And this is what gets back to the hormones. Ladies. I always say everything leads to hormones <laugh>. So by the time we hit midlife, it's usually not only our sex hormones that have a problem, but this is one of the reasons why we have what we call pathologic menopause in, in America is because our cortisol stress hormone has been struggling for years. And usually at midlife really takes a hard hit. Well, while you're having stress, this cortisol is working on your arteries and causing these micro injuries that become a hospitable place for toxic lipoproteins to, to set up shop and start blocking your arteries. So stress is not just a mental health issue. It is a physical issue.

[33:45] I'd like to leave everyone with this. Please take action. Most of these processes are silent and invisible. And by the time you start to develop symptoms, you know, you're well on the way to some serious outcomes. So being proactive, this is one of those times when you are so richly rewarded and don't let someone Buffalo you into ignoring something that's important for your health. So if you have a family history of heart disease, you really need to be particularly vigilant because you may have a genetic predisposition to it, but please understand how you live your life, your lifestyle and the environment you're in and how many tox exposed to like you live near a factory or a source of diesel fumes, et cetera, all these things accumulate and make that difference for your health. Please be proactive. Clearly if you're here, if you're listening to Dr. Kirin and the good, wonderful work she's doing the great stuff she does with the hormone club, then you're probably really dialed in and tuned in to continue to take action because the person has to live with the problem.

[35:34] Yes. So well said, I love this quote that you shared with me from Maya Angelou. We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but really admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty. I don't think I've heard that quote from her before and it's fabulous. And I think it speaks to this situation because so many women want to transform their health. And they're looking for the one thing, the one super supplement, the one diet that's gonna fix everything. And it really is a labor of love and very intensive, right?

[35:57] Yes. Thank you so much. I know you have the guide on how to improve your hemoglobin A1C and fasting blood sugar numbers and beyond for those people who are wanting to improve their blood sugar and decrease their risk for heart attack, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, including strokes. And we will have the link in the show notes. Do you wanna tell them a little bit about that?

[36:20] Yeah, sure. So in that guide, you know, I, the information there is clear and we talk about the big topics that affect it. Some of it would be things you would expect like around nutrition. All, some might be some things you may not know that some aspects of gut health, other things interact to really make that difference.

[36:59] Great. Well, thank you so much for that wonderful resource and thank you for the work that you do and for sharing this important, very important information with us today.

[37:08] You're welcome. Thank you for letting me be a part of your mission here. Um, I really love that we are so aligned with helping people live their best lives.

[37:15] And thank you all for listening to another episode of the whole hormone prescription podcast with Dr. Kyrin. I'm very grateful that you've taken time out of your precious day to spend it with us. Hopefully you have learned some information that's going to impact your life positively. And I hope that you share that information with your loved ones.

Get this for FREE: How to Improve Your A1C and Fasting (Morning) Blood Sugar Numbers (and Beyond) by Dr. Beverly Yates


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