Blood screening and laboratory testing can be a vital way to gain some information about your individual risk for heart disease. Once you have the information, you can make educated, informed choices to reduce your risk factors, such as:
- Blood pressure
Along with changes in lifestyle and awareness, blood screening and testing are vital for understanding your baseline statistics, tracking progress, and measuring your risk. The following are the four main tests that will illustrate your level of cardiovascular risk: cholesterol, C-reactive Protein, Homocysteine and Fibrinogen. To get an even better understanding of laboratory tests that can be run for Inflammation, visit this page here.
The 4 Main Tests For Determining Heart Disease Risk
High cholesterol affects over 60 million Americans and increases your risk of heart-related health problems and disease. The only way to gauge your cholesterol levels is to have a lipid panel performed, which will provide you with numbers for total cholesterol, High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL), Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), Triglycerides and the Cholesterol to HDL ratio.
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in your blood, and when there is an excess of cholesterol, it builds up in your arteries and restricts blood flow to the heart. LDL is considered the “bad” cholesterol because it creates much of the blockages and gets pulled from the liver, whereas HDL helps flush away the LDL and resulting build-up and put cholesterol back into the liver. Based on the levels of these different types of cholesterol, combined with the triglycerides results, you can evaluate the risk of heart disease and make lifestyle adjustments, such as exercising regularly, quitting smoking, increasing the HDL in your diet, and cutting out foods high in LDL, such as foods with high saturated fat.
High cholesterol does not cause symptoms on its own* – you may not be aware that it is elevated unless you get regular blood screenings.
2. C-reactive Protein
High-Sensitivity C-reactive Protein (hs-CRP) is a protein produced by your liver in response to inflammation in the body. Although levels of CRP cannot isolate the location or cause of the inflammatory response, high levels of this protein, in conjunction with high levels of these other compounds can indicate atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis or a build-up of plaque in the arteries. The American Medical Association does not currently recommend CRP testing for the general public, but if you are already at risk for heart disease, or are concerned about your cardiovascular health, it is another piece of the puzzle in revealing your overall heart risk.
Homocysteine is another substance your body uses to make proteins and tissues, however, can be very toxic to the body. While it has not been proven that reducing your homocysteine levels necessarily corresponds to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, a recent study has shown that highly elevated levels of homocysteine were related to a threefold increase in the risk of heart attack over a five year period. Once again, homocysteine levels are not part of a routine screening but can play a large part in determining overall heart risk if measured during blood screenings.
Fibrinogen is another protein that helps blood clot throughout the body, an important function, but one that can provide heart complications if its levels are too high. Too much fibrinogen can also indicate arteriosclerosis, especially for those with a family history of heart disease.
Getting your blood screened to ensure that your heart will be healthy for many years to come is a good measure. While understanding your health and tracking your progress allows you to manage risk and make the necessary changes, you can always follow a few simple tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the upcoming holidays, and year-round.
How We Can Help With Heart Disease
We offer a variety of tests to choose from, depending on what your goals are. Our programs are individualized to each patient to provide high-level service and effective support plans.
To receive a FREE consultation, give us a call at 303-995-5812 or visit here to schedule your FREE Consultation.