The average blood level of lead found among Americans is high enough to increase the likelihood of heart attack and stroke, according to a new study by researchers Andy Menke, MPH, and his team at Tulane University School of Public Health.
While a ‘high’ blood level is now defined as more than 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (10 mcg/dL), research shows that people with only a fifth that level of lead in their blood are up to 89% more likely to die of heart attack or stroke. An increased likelihood of death from heart attack or stroke has started to be seen in people with blood levels greater than 2 mcg/dL.
These findings show that even “normal” blood levels of lead causes heart disease and strokes. Data for the study came from nearly 14,000 adults who had their blood lead levels checked between 1988 and 1994 for government health studies. Participants were followed for up to 12 years, until the end of 2000. During that time, 267 participants died from heart attacks, 141 from stroke, and 411 from cancer.
What is the best test for finding lead in your body?
What is most troubling is that blood tests underestimate the level of lead and heavy metals in the blood. This is because blood levels only detect lead while it is being transported, and does not measure lead where it resides in our cells. Measuring blood levels would be like trying to measue the population of Portland by counting the number of cars on I-5. At Oregon Regenerative Medicine, we measure your tissue burden of heavy metals through what is called a urine heavy metal challenge, where chelating compounds are given intravenously, which binds on to tissue heavy metals and causes them to leave the body through the urine.
How do small amounts of heavy metals cause heart disease?
Other research has shown that lead and other heavy metals increase tissue levels of Matrix metalloproteinases, or MMPs, compounds that break up tho collagen that holds your blood vessels together and makes them supple and elastic. MMPs trigger an inflammatory reaction that inflames, thickens, stiffens and ultimately hardens blood vessels, making them more brittle.
Is Heavy metal toxicity treatable, and is the damage reversible?
At the Center for Traditional Medicine, we use cutting edge, effective methods to test for lead accumulation, and to safely chelate and safely eliminate lead from the body. Intravenous chelation removes the heavy metal toxins that increase MMP levels, ultimately allowing the blood vessels to repair. Anyone with elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart palpitations or any other condition of the heart and blood vessels should be tested for heavy metals.
SOURCES: Menke, A. Circulation, rapid access edition; Sept. 18, 2006.
News release, American Heart Association.
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