Haptoglobin---is this the future of diabetes and heart disease?

Do you think you have heard or read every fact about heart disease and diabetes, the number one and number seven cause of death in the United States? Well I have news for you---- you have more to learn…and this news is life-altering! Say it with me, Haptoglobin. Yes, Haptoglobin. The October 2015 issue of the Journal of American College of Cardiology reports the Haptoglobin 2-2 genotype may identify individuals with diabetes to be at a greater risk for coronary heart disease. 

If you have ever gotten your blood drawn at the doctor, I am sure you have gotten either a hemoglobin or a hemoglobin A1C drawn while doing so. A hemoglobin blood test will tell various things about you---your levels of iron, if you are injured, if you have had blood loss, etc... A hemoglobin A1C is a glycosylated hemoglobin, and it shows a person’s approximate blood sugar levels over the past three months. This is especially important for those with diabetes because if a person carries the Hp1-2 or 2-2 gene and has an A1C above 6.5, they have an increased risk for a cardiovascular event, aka a heart attack.

Research shows that 65% of diabetics will die of a heart attack, and 70% of the population carry at least one form of the Hp2 gene---know your chances and get tested today! Since you now know these facts, any person with diabetes or a family history of diabetes should get tested to see if they have the Haptoglobin genotype. The genetic test for Hp is a simple oral rinse. Those with diabetes and the Hp1-2 gene are THREE times more likely to have a cardiovascular event, while diabetics with the Hp2-2 gene are FIVE times more likely to suffer a cardiovascular event. Therefore, Hp1-2 and 2-2 directly predict heart disease in those with diabetes. Having this gene can possibly increase your chance of having a heart attack by up to 1000%. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Since there are over 30 million Americans suffering from diabetes, 80 million with prediabetes, and approximately 375 million people with diabetes in the world, it is safe to say most people know someone with diabetes that they can share this information with. Although these numbers were reported in 2012, they are steadily growing and researchers are estimating that there will be over half a billion people suffering from diabetes by 2035.

Haptoglobin is also associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease by itself. Moreover, Hp2 carriers face increased cholesterol levels, increased risk for aneurysms, as well as increased chances of arteries becoming inflamed, which is known to lead to strokes. Patients who carry the Hp2 gene require more treatment support and follow-up once out of the hospital than normal patients which turns into more dollars spent.  The easiest way to prevent these costs is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eat a diet low in sodium, fat and cholesterol. Exercise regularly. Avoid smoking. Do not drink in excess. Keep your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and stress levels at an appropriate level. 

The good news is that there are treatment and prevention options for those who carry the Hp1-2 and 2-2 genes.  These options are only for this specific population of Hp1-2 and 2-2 carriers and should be used with caution as prescribed by their medical professional. The treatment and prevention option used is a 200-400IU dosage of Vitamin E. Vitamin E has antioxidant properties has been shown to improve outcomes in those with these specific medical issues. It is important to note Vitamin E should only be administered in patients where the genotype is known.  Some studies show that Hp1-1 carriers can have an increased risk of a cardiovascular event while taking Vitamin E supplements.

Additionally, there are many cases when Hp gene-carriers are found to be Vitamin C deficient because the vitamin is utilized at a higher rate to make up for the decreased function of Hp; therefore, supplementation of Vitamin C may be needed. Sources of Vitamin C include oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, bananas, broccoli, spinach, potatoes and tomatoes.

In conclusion, do not become another statistic! The facts are already presented to you. Heart disease is the number one and diabetes is the number seven cause of death in the U.S. With one simple test you can find out if you are at risk and how to help lower your risk with proper treatment. There are options.  From my research, I have found that a physician can order a Haptoglobin test from MyDNANow.com for their patients. If you are a patient and you are without a physician, you are in luck because MyDNANow.com is a telemedicine website, and their licensed physician can determine if a you meet the needs for the test. All test requisitions are reviewed by a clinical physician team, led by Dr. Ford Brewer. The tests offered are not available in New York. A CLIA-certified reference laboratory provides the test results. The laboratory is a testing facility only, providing laboratory results for use by a healthcare provider for diagnosis and patient management. Talk with your physician about your options and ask them to order a test for you today!