Sunday, February 27, 2011


We all have the enzyme myeloperoxidase, (MPO), in our bodies. But as plaque inside our blood vessel walls becomes more likely to rupture, we produce even more MPO at that site. The increased amounts of MPO, which can be measured in the blood causes erosion of the plaque. When the plaque in the blood vessel erodes enough, it ruptures. There a micro-clot forms to patch the weak spot. Platelets (formed elements) in the blood cells flowing by the clot start participating in growing and firming up this coagulated mass. If that clot blocks blood flow to the heart or brain, a heart attack or stroke usually occurs. A high level of MPO is a signal that a person is in risk of having a catastrophe. This is so even though the cholesterol levels and blood pressure are perfect as in almost fifty percent of these incidents. The MPO oxidizes the LDL cholesterol, modifying so it is more delectable to the certain white cells (macrophages) that reside within the wall of our arteries. These ingest the LDL particles, get sick, die and spill their fatty guts thus enlarging the existing fatty streaks to form an inflammatory plaque. This is the generator of all atherosclerosis. Unbeknownst to most doctors is that Acetaminophen blocks the activity of MPO and stops the transformation of the bad cholesterol (LDL) that is available for the macrophages to ingest.

And Aspirin stops the platelets in our blood from getting sticky, preventing the clump. The basis for the use of low dose aspirin lies in its unique inhibitory effect on a key enzyme, COX-1 (cyclooxygenase-1). In low doses, 81 mg (a child’s aspirin) twice a day, the platelets are less tacky and not as likely to coalesce together to coagulate. However, in higher amounts such as 650 mg (2 adult Aspirins) it affects the arterial walls making them sticky and more likely to initiate a clot on the rough plaque.

A personal friend of mine, Professor Gary Merrill, of Rutgers' department of cell biology and neuroscience, demonstrated significant improvement in acetaminophen-treated hearts compared with non-treated hearts following periods of induced ischemia (reduced blood flow) attributed the rapid post-ischemia recovery of heart muscle and circulation to the antioxidant properties of acetaminophen. This research as part of a growing body of evidence supporting the positive effects of acetaminophen on the cardiovascular system. His findings, together with those of Dr. Addison Taylor of Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, and Professor Phillip Greenspan of the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy, indicate that acetaminophen prevent the damaging effects of LDL cholesterol. Taylor and Greenspan separately conducted investigations showing acetaminophen may protect against the life-threatening condition, hardening of the arteries. The bad press that Acetaminophen has recently had makes this well studied drug almost a curse word. It is true in very high doses like over 6,000 mg a day it can negatively affect the liver and perhaps the kidney, but 1000mg/day is positively healthy for all who want protect their blood vessels.

After the discovery, the Cleveland Clinic, through Cleveland Heart Lab started doing the MPO test. Blood samples, are overnighted to them from the doctors offices, for MPO and four other valuable markers. They include urinary Isoprostain and Microalbumin; a pro-oxidant and an arterial disrupter, HsCRP; indicating lining damage, and Plac2; a predictor of plaque rupture. Many insurance companies and Medicare now cover the test. And for those who don't have coverage, the cost is relatively inexpensive: $189 for MPO and the other tests conducted with it.

If none of the above makes sense to you, still do yourself a favor. Betwixt and between Aspirin and Acetominophen will keep the artery clean-and YOU healthy! If you are a male over the age of 45 or a female over 50-PLEASE take one each of 81 mg Aspirin and 500 mg Acetominophen (Tylenol), both twice a day, it will keep the heart attack and stroke away!!

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