What is blood viscosity?
Blood viscosity is a measure of the thickness and stickiness of your blood. It measures how easily your blood flows through your vessels. It is an indicator of how much friction is being generated between your blood and the walls of your blood vessels, how hard your heart is working to pump your blood, and how easily oxygen is being delivered to your heart, your brain, your muscles, and every other tissue in your body.
Blood viscosity affects the health of every part of your body. Best of all, blood viscosity can easily be improved with diet and other lifestyle-based interventions.
Blood Viscosity, Heart Attack & Strokes
Blood viscosity is the only biological marker that has been associated with all other major cardiovascular risk factors, including high blood pressure, elevated LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, Type II Diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity, smoking, chronological age, and male gender.
In the largest blood viscosity study ever conducted, nearly 1600 adults were studied for an average of five years. This study found that blood viscosity was significantly higher in patients experiencing heart attacks and strokes. In fact, elevated blood viscosity is a better predictor of the likelihood of a cardiovascular event that many other risk factors.
Blood Viscosity & Blood Pressure
High blood viscosity is strongly associated with high blood pressure. It stands to reason, if your blood is thicker, your heart has to exert more pressure to move it through your blood vessels. High blood viscosity also makes your blood vessels stiffer, adding even more resistance to blood flow and increasing blood pressure.
In one study, 331 middle-aged men with high blood pressure were divided into three groups according to blood viscosity. Following up over a period of 12 years, researchers found that the group of men with the highest blood viscosity had nearly 350% more cardiovascular events (heart attacks, frequent or severe chest pain, strokes) as the men in the lowest viscosity group.
Blood Viscosity & Cognitive Function
Blood viscosity is an important determinant of blood flow—the higher the viscosity, the lower the flow–and this is significantly linked with cognitive function. The reason for this is simple. Blood carries crucial nutrients and oxygen to all our tissues, including the brain. The better the blood flow, the more oxygen and nutrients reach our brains, and the more efficiently toxins and waste products are removed. Without adequate oxygen and nutrients, and with the build-up of toxins and waste products, our brain function deteriorates.
Reduced Flow = Reduced Function
Multiple studies point to a link between elevated blood viscosity and loss of cognitive function, Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias.
Who should be tested?
A screening Complete Blood Viscosity Profile is prudent for people who:
- Have a history of heart disease or stroke
- Have a family history of cardiovascular disease
- Have high blood pressure
- Have a history of blood clots or DVT
- Have been recommended to take “blood thinners”
- Are diabetic or pre-diabetic
- Have autoimmune conditions
- Are experiencing declining cognitive function
- Have eye conditions such as glaucoma or retinopathy
- Are men supplementing with testosterone
- Are young male athletes
What is your blood viscosity? Meridian Valley Lab has an excellent test for blood viscosity. Please have your blood test for blood viscosity as soon as possible!
About the Author
Douglas C. Hall, M.D.
Dr. Douglas Hall, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on Jan. 30, 1941. He received his BS and Doctor of Medicine at the University of Florida, training in obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Hall has been in private practice since 1974 and currently has a large practice in Ocala, specializing in OB/GYN and Functional Medicine.