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Arterial Elasticity / Heart Rate Variability Testing

Nutritional Therapy and Functional Medicine both focus on prevention of disease as the most effective form of treatment. That is why we utilise the latest and most effective health monitoring devices to assist us in the promotion of optimal wellbeing for our clients.

Optimal health and wellbeing is often measured by our level of vitality not simply the absence of disease. Cardiovascular disease sadly blights many lives and its impact is felt not just by the person affected but by their family and friends as it can often limit a persons physical capabilities in a wide variety of ways.

How we test arterial elasticity and heart rate variability

The Meridian Digital Pulse Analyser (DPA)


"The "DPA" accurately measures the elasticity of small and large arteries and provides important information regarding arterial aging. This FDA approved device provides results in minutes. Accumulating evidence suggests that abnormalities in the pulsatile characteristics of arteries occur early in the disease process associated with increased cardiovascular risk, and can be favorably modified by therapeutic interventions"

Information derived from tests

  • early detection of stiffness of the arterial wall
  • biological age of clients arteries
  • bodies response to stress
  • autonomic nervous system balance

The test is carried out in two parts

1. Arterial Elasticity - one minute test

A measurement probe consisting of a light-emitting diode (infrared LED) and a photodiode is placed over the tip of an index finger. The light from the LED is transmitted through the tissue at the sensor site. The Photodiode detects the changes in the amount of light absorbed by hemoglobin forming a graph called a plethysmograph.

The DPA converts the changes of transmitted light into a waveform and displays digital values of pulse rate as well as a graphic display of the pulse waveform and indices on the LCD screen. The DPA also displays the second derivative pulse waveform (Accelerated Plethysmograph – APG) to provide a better evaluation of arterial aging.

A healthy arterial system is dynamically active, responding to every beat of the heart with a vibrant elastic quality. As we age the elasticity of our arteries often declines resulting in a less responsive and adaptive cardiovascular system that ultimately contributes to the need for the heart to work with more force to achieve adequate blood circulation. In addition arterial plaques may develop that impede the flow of blood through an artery further limiting vital oxygen profusion and placing further strain on the heart. Diet, lifestyle, exercise and illness can all impact upon the health of our arterial system, recognising the early stages of cardiovascular disease provides a valuable opportunity to develop positive changes that can have substantial benefits in our overall wellbeing as we get older.

2. Heart Rate Variability - five minute test

HRV measures the variation in the length of the intervals, measured in milliseconds between heart beats. Studies have shown that low HRV is a valuable indicator or predictor of illness and mortality, especially sudden cardiac death. Other chronic conditions associated with low HRV can include: depression, anxiety, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, hypertension, and diabetes. It has been shown that all of these chronic conditions also have a strong linkage to silent inflammation.

HRV is significantly influenced by our Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which comprises our Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS), often referred to a 'fight and flight response', and our Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS), sometimes called 'rest and digest'. To function at our best we need both to work in harmony with a little more SNS activity than PNS so we feel motivated and alive. However if our SNS becomes too dominant it affects a wide number of normal body functions including digestion, reproduction, breathing and our cardiovascular system. Recognising the influence of our reaction to stress allows us to develop positive changes such as stress reduction techniques (meditation, yoga, breathing exercises) that can all help to moderate our SNS and by doing so improve our cardiovascular health.


How are results or tests presented

The tests results are produced as a series of tables and charts. We will provide you with copies for your own records and explain the findings to you and discuss general dietary and lifestyle changes for you to consider should this be appropriate. The tests may indicate the need for further investigations by your GP or other health care advisor, this is a precautionary measure and will be discussed with you should we deem it necessary.


All tests carried out by Green Apple Nutrition Ltd are for information purposes only. We do not diagnose any medical condition as this may only be undertaken by a qualified medical practitioner. If you have any concerns regarding the result of any test we perform we would advise you to speak with your GP.

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