Volume 3 Issue 2

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it's more severe, it's known as periodontal disease (PD). At age 30, there's a 50% probability that you have periodontal disease and, by the time you're 65, risk rises to 70 percent. The leading warning sign of periodontal disease is bleeding gums. Contrary to what many people assume, it is not normal to experience any bleeding, even slight amounts, when you brush or floss. Other symptoms of periodontal disease include bad breath, puffy or receding gums, teeth that look longer (due to receding gums), loose teeth, pockets of pus between your gums and teeth, or a change in your bite. Risk factors for developing periodontal disease include poor oral hygiene, smoking, diabetes, and the hormonal upheavals of pregnancy. Periodontal disease is more likely to strike men than women and disproportionately affects people of certain ethnicities, such as Mexican-Americans. If you have any of these warning signs, alert your dentist or dental hygienist and ask to be screened for periodontal disease. Screening is painless and typically involves: • A visual inspection and exam of your gums, using a mirror and periodontal probe, to check for redness, puffiness, or other signs of oral infection. Unfortunately, many people do not know they have disease in the walls of their arteries. It is important to detect disease before it's severe enough to spark a heart attack or stroke. Screening for everyone over 40 and younger if any one of the following red flags or family history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes is prudent. Family History Several large studies show that having a parent who suffered a heart attack or other cardiovascular event at a younger than usual age can double or even triple a person's risk. Also, if high cholesterol and high triglycerides are also present, a thorough check with an advanced cholesterol panel should be done. In addition to the standard cholesterol checks, lipoprotein (a) (a subtype of LDL) should be checked. Not only do elevated levels of Lp(a) triple a person's risk for heart attacks, three large studies recently found Lp(a) boosts risk for blood clots that can trigger a stroke. Lifestyle doesn't influence Lp(a) levels, which is determined by genes. Nor are statin drugs effective treatment for elevated Lp(a). Instead, the best therapy is niacin (vitamin B3). Health Threat in Your Mouth People with periodontal disease – a bacterial infection of the gums, connective tissue, and bone supporting the teeth – have double or even triple the risk of a heart attack or stroke, recent research suggests. Almost 75 percent of Americans have some degree of gum disease, the most common chronic infection in the United States, many of whom don't know they have it, because in the early stages, the disease is painless. When the infection is relatively mild, it's called gingivitis and when Do you have cardiovascular disease? Everyone Needs A Comprehensive Prevention Plan Are You Headed for a Heart Attack or Stroke? Page 36| Abby's Magazine -

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