Specialty Heart Health Testing
Know Your Numbers: Cardiovascular Health Testing
It’s never too late or too early to take steps to protect your heart. The first step is specialized lab testing to determine your risks so your doctor can develop a customized treatment plan for you. In the past, doctors have predominantly focused on cholesterol as the primary factor in determining heart health. It is now known to be so much more than just cholesterol.
The better assessment includes testing for:
- lipid profile
- myocardial stress
- lipoprotein markers
- fatty acids
Revolution Health Medical Center utilizes the following cutting-edge testing from Vibrant America Labs to ensure you receive the best assessment of your heart health.
CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH TESTS
Total serum cholesterol analysis is useful in the diagnosis of hyperlipoproteinemia, atherosclerosis, hepatic and thyroid diseases, as well as the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
HDL (the “healthy” or “good” cholesterol) is inversely related to the risk for cardiovascular disease. It increases following regular exercise, moderate alcohol consumption and with oral estrogen therapy. Decreased levels are associated with obesity, stress, cigarette smoking and diabetes mellitus.
LDL is the “bad” cholesterol. Even within the normal range of total cholesterol concentrations, an increase in LDL cholesterol can produce an associated increased risk for cardiovascular disease. LDL cholesterol binds to receptor sites on macrophages in blood vessel walls inciting several changes to the blood wall which enhance atherosclerotic plaque development.
Triglycerides are fats from the food we eat that are carried in the blood. Most of the fats we eat, including butter, margarines and oils, are in triglyceride form. Excess calories, alcohol or sugar in the body turn into triglycerides and are stored in fat cells throughout the body. This test will measure the amount of triglycerides in the blood.
Apo A-1 represents the “good” cholesterol, so higher levels are best. Apolipoprotein A-1 (Apo A-1) has been reported to be a better predictor than HDL cholesterol and triglycerides for coronary artery disease. Low levels of Apo A-1 in serum are associated with increased risk of coronary artery disease. Measurement of Apo A-1 may be of value in identifying patients with atherosclerosis.
Apo B represents the “bad” cholesterol, so lower levels are best. Apo B is the main structural component of the non-HDL lipoproteins, including VLDL, IDL, LDL and Lp(a). Each Apo B molecule is attached to one LDL particle and is therefore more representative of actual atherogenic particles than LDL, which represents cholesterol content of lipoproteins.
This enzyme plays a role in the inflammation of blood vessels. A build-up of unstable fatty plaque deposits in the arteries can lead to blockages in the blood vessels and may eventually cause a heart attack, brain damage, or stroke. PLAC is an independent risk marker for cardiovascular disease and other heart diseases.
Homocysteine may be ordered as part of a screen for people at high risk for heart attack or stroke. It may be useful in someone who has a family history of coronary artery disease but no other known risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, or obesity. It may be an early indicator of Vitamin B12 and Folate deficiency, even before those tests show abnormal results.
C-reactive protein (CRP) is a protein that the liver makes when there is inflammation in the body. It’s also called a marker of inflammation, and can be measured with an hs-CRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein) test. Inflammation is a way for the body to protect itself from injuries or infections, and inflammation can be caused by smoking, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar. Excessive inflammation has been linked to heart disease.
Oxidized LDL is LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) that has been modified by oxidation. Oxidized LDL triggers inflammation leading to the formation of plaque in the arteries, also known as atherosclerosis. Oxidized LDL may also play a role in increasing the amount of triglycerides the body produces, as well as increasing the amount of fat deposited by the body. In turn, fat tissue can enhance the oxidation of LDL, creating a vicious cycle.
Cardiac troponins are a marker of all heart muscle damage, not just myocardial infarction, which is the most severe form of heart disorder. They are measured in the blood to differentiate between unstable angina and myocardial infarction (heart attack) in people with chest pain or acute coronary syndrome.
Myeloperoxidase (MPO) enzyme is found in neutrophil primary granules and monocyte lysosomes. MPO catalyzes the conversion of hydrogen peroxide to hypochlorite and hypochlorous acid. MPO is encoded by a single gene that undergoes posttranslational modification to produce the active enzyme found in leukocytes.
NT-proBNP is primarily secreted from the cardiac ventricular myocytes in response to cardiac stress. NT-proBNP is a useful diagnostic and prognostic tool as elevated levels may indicate the presence of an underlying cardiac disorder.
Small dense low-density lipoprotein transports cholesterol and triglycerides throughout the body. The smaller the particles, the more likely it is that they will get “stuck” in the artery wall, thus forming a build-up. A high result may indicate that a patient is at risk for cardiovascular disease. Lower numbers may indicate that you have fewer large “fluffy” particles, which are less likely to get stuck in the wall of the arteries.
Elevated Lp(a) is an inherited condition for four different types of vascular disease: CAD (coronary artery disease), PVD (peripheral vascular disease), ischemic stroke, and AAA (abdominal aortic aneurysm). Lp(a) is very resistant to treatment and it is important to aggressively treat all associated atherogenic lipopoprotein abnormalities.
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) with a double bond (C=C) at the third carbon atom from the end of the carbon chain. The three types of omega-3 fatty acids involved in human physiology are α-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The American Heart Association and the European Society for Cardiology recommend dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids to reduce cardiovascular disease risk. In contrast to omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids (eg, arachidonic acid [AA]) and their metabolites are more proinflammatory than anti-inflammatory. Increased consumption of omega-6 fatty acids in place of saturated fats and trans fats is associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease.
Revolution Health Medical Center is open Monday thru Saturday. You can call or use the patient portal to schedule your appointment.