Health and Wellness Blog

Getting to the Heart of Cardiovascular Disease Through Testing


Cardiovascular disease — a classification of illnesses that involve the heart or blood vessels — can lead to heart attack, stroke, arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat), cardiomyopathy (enlarged, thickened, or stiffened hearth muscle), and coronary artery disease (aka, atherosclerosis and hardening of the arteries). In fact, one person every 40 seconds or so in the U.S. dies from cardiovascular disease.

In our experience, conventional medicine offers only short-term, band aid solutions for heart disease, including the following:

  • If your blood pressure is high, your doctor is likely to prescribe one or more medications to lower it, which is a good idea to prevent stroke.
  • If your high-density cholesterol level is high, your doctor is likely to prescribe a medication to lower it.

Most medications target one or more causes of cardiovascular disease, but they do not target the root causes, which may include hidden infections, nutrient deficiencies, hormone imbalances, mental or emotional stress, or other factors or combinations of factors.

Types of Heart Disease Illustration

Results from today’s next-level tests, such as those we offer at BioDesign Wellness — Tampa’s Functional Medicine practice — in coordination with the Cleveland HeartLab, give us insight into the causes of inflammation in the heart and blood vessels, so that we can pursue a more proactive and longer term approach to correcting and preventing inflammation, which underlies cardiovascular disease and many other chronic health conditions.

Once we understand a patient’s complete genetic profile and advanced cardiac markers, we can devise a plan that not only reduces the risk of developing a serious cardiovascular disease but also helps, in many cases, reduce the need for pharmaceutical medications, which can often cause or contribute to other health complications and issues.

The tests we offer in coordination with the Cleveland HeartLab can be broken down into three categories, each of which is covered in greater detail later in this post:

  • Inflammation tests
  • Advanced lipid tests
  • Advanced cardiovascular tests

Inflammation Tests

If you’re a candidate for a study of your body’s inflammation, advanced testing is used to evaluate your inflammatory state and cardiovascular risk. The tests we recommend can detect inflammation early or identify advanced stages. Our objective is to catch inflammation as early as possible and start treating it before it becomes a bigger problem.

The inflammation tests we order include the following: continue reading

Fishing for Less Toxic Sources of Omega 3 via SMASH


In Tampa, we eat a lot of seafood, and that’s generally a healthy indulgence. After all, many fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins D and B2 (riboflavin), and minerals including calcium, phosphorous, iron, zinc, magnesium, and potassium. In many ways, fish high in omega-3 fatty acids are brain food — essential nutrients that help the body regulate the brain’s structure and function, especially in early development, throughout pregnancy and breast feeding, and during the aging process.

(Photo by Caroline Attwood from Unsplash)

Omega-3s also have anti-inflammatory properties that may help prevent and treat a host of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, and autoimmune conditions. And, they may help to reduce symptoms of metabolic disorders by reducing belly fat, blood pressure, insulin resistance, and high triglycerides. Unfortunately, consuming too much fish can increase your exposure to certain toxins that tend to build up in these underwater creatures, particularly the heavy metal mercury and various fat-soluble pollutants from water pollution.

To reap the health benefits of eating fish while lessening the risks, we recommend you choose wild-caught fish referenced in the SMASH acronym below:

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Anchovies
  • Sardines
  • Herring

These species are not only the best choices for omega-3s, but they’re also generally less toxic, assuming they’re caught in the wild. An added benefit is that they tend to be higher in selenium, which can help the body detox from mercury and other pollutants.

Another tip for reducing your exposure to mercury and other toxins in fish is to  continue reading

Understanding Migraine Causes and Treatments


Tony Award winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth is no stranger to migraines. She has been living with migraines since she experienced her first episode in a rehearsal room for a Broadway show nearly 25 years ago. Unfortunately, she is in a profession in which she cannot easily avoid her migraine triggers — spotlights, flashing lights, flying, and driving. At times she hasn’t been able to perform due to a debilitating migraine.

Chenoweth is not alone. According to the Migraine Research Foundation, 12 percent of the population (including children) suffers from migraine — 18 percent of women in the U.S., six percent of men, and 10 percent of children. Migraines are most common between the ages of 18 and 44.

(Photo © Anh Nguyen — sourced from

Migraines are not just bad, throbbing headaches. Symptoms also include nausea/vomiting, dizziness/loss of balance, disturbed vision, fatigue, and sensitivity to light, sounds, and odors.

Each person’s migraine experience is unique, and symptoms can vary with each episode.

Some people experience intolerable pain that can knock them down for days at a time. Others can muddle through the day. Some migraine sufferers can keep symptoms at bay with medication and lifestyle changes, whereas others continue to suffer episodes despite their best efforts.

Migraine Causes and Treatments

Like many other chronic health conditions, migraines can be caused by a number of factors working alone or together, so a single solution such as a pill is usually not enough to help most people. Effective treatment requires identifying and addressing whatever is causing the migraines — the root cause(s).

Based on our experience, we have identified four primary causes of migraines, listed below (not necessarily in any order of relevance or frequency): continue reading

Update on Toxic Mold in Tampa


Last year, we wrote about mold outbreaks at the MacDill Air Force Base and the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center. (See our previous post Responding to the Mold Outbreak at VA Bay Pines Center.”) Just this month, Stars and Stripes and the Tampa Bay Times reported that five military families have since filed a federal class-action lawsuit “against owners and managers of private housing at MacDill Air Force Base, alleging years of negligence in persistent problems with mold throughout the buildings.”

The lawsuit claims that “the Michaels Organization, the private company responsible for managing the on-base housing at MacDill, knew the houses there had mold and did not protect the health and safety of service members and their families.”

(Image © Florida Middle District Court)

In one case, Jason Genrich, a chief warrant officer in the Army, developed chest pains, mood swings, dizziness, and fatigue within five months of moving into military housing at MacDill. Genrich visited four specialists before a neurologist diagnosed him as having “sick building syndrome.” For the first time in his 17-year military career, Genrich was placed on medical deferment from physical activity.

In another unit, Air Force Staff Sargent Gary Elbron and his family had an air conditioner that was leaking water into the inside of their home. The family reported the problem to the building management company numerous times, but the air conditioner was never repaired. Water seeped under the linoleum flooring (see image above) leading to mold growth in the subflooring and health problems for the family.

Mold growth in many of the homes was linked to  continue reading

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