Inflammation is a CulpritThe advanced tests are based on studies suggesting that inflammation is a primary culprit in cardiovascular disease. Inflammation is an immune system response to an irritant. As soon as you prick your finger, come in contact with an allergen or catch a cold, your immune system activates, sending an army of white blood cells to fight off “foreign invaders” like bacteria, allergens and viruses. Even injuries like sprained ankles, tennis elbow and tendonitis cause inflammation as white blood cells flood injured areas to remove bacteria that may be present and dead cellular debris. Sometimes inflammation is noticeable, like the redness and swelling that appears in an injured area; this is referred to as acute inflammation. However, chronic inflammation occurs on a deeper, more internal level and is usually invisible, leaving us unaware that an underlying, potentially dangerous health issue, like heart disease, may be brewing. Click here for some simple tips to help you lower your inflammation »
The Inflammation and Cardiovascular Disease Link
Inflammation is Not the Only Problem
Staying current with standard cardiovascular disease screenings and tests can help you manage your heart health. However, adding advanced tests that can determine your inflammation level, cholesterol particle size and oxidation damage can predict your risk for heart disease more accurately and are more effective with helping you prevent a heart attack or stroke.
• hsCRP – measures the levels of C-reactive protein, an indicator of general inflammation in the body due to injury and infection. High levels are a good indicator of heart disease and predictor of future cardiovascular events.
• Advanced Cholesterol Testing: the VAP® Test – measures the cholesterol concentrations in lipoproteins, which are protein particles that shuttle blood fats (lipids) like cholesterol and triglycerides around the body. The cholesterol content and size of various lipoproteins may predict increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
• ApoA1 and ApoB – measures the type and number of apolipoproteins that bind proteins to lipids to form lipoproteins. Apo A1 sits on the surface of high-density lipoproteins (good cholesterol) and high levels suggest a decreased risk of heart disease just as Apo B sits on the surface of low-density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol); high levels indicate a higher the risk for heart disease.
• Oxidized LDL (OxLDL) - measures the amount of oxidized bad cholesterol. High levels of OxLDL raise the risk of cardiovascular disease and prediabetes.
• MPO – measures levels of myeloperoxidase, an enzyme secreted by white blood cells that kills harmful bacteria but when elevated in your blood can cause a host of problems. MPO reduces the effectiveness of good cholesterol, which can lead to arterial plaque build-up. It also releases a bleach-like substance that erodes the arterial walls, causing the plaque in the arteries to become unstable and possibly rupture. When a rupture occurs, the body forms a clot to patch the area. However, a clot can impede blood flow, causing a heart attack or stroke. CardioMPO is 95 percent accurate for predicting a heart attack, the need for aggressive treatment or a heart-related death within the next six months.
• CoQ10 – measures the levels of coenzyme Q10, a vitamin-like substance found in every cell that has various functions such as helping cells produce energy, assisting with cellular growth, maintenance and repair, and protecting the heart. CoQ10 also functions as an antioxidant, helping minimize oxidation-related damage. Low levels of CoQ10 suggest low levels of high-density lipoproteins (good cholesterol) and/or ApoA1 (good apolipoprotein transporter), which raise the risk of cardiovascular disease.
• NT-proBNP – measures the amount of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), a hormone that when elevated is linked with ventricular dysfunction. BNP rises when the heart is stressed from a lack of blood flow to if the heart wall is over stretched from too much blood volume, which is linked with high blood pressure and endurance training.
• Urinary Microalbumin – measures the amount of albumin, a protein that circulates the blood and is filtered through the kidneys. When the kidneys are damaged, their filtering ability is impaired, leading to albumin in the urine. This is called microalbumin and it is usually a complication of diabetes but also linked with other conditions such as high blood pressure and heart failure.
Using the results from your annual wellness exam is probably the most effective method of preventing or controlling cardiovascular disease. This is because the wellness exam provides more than just a set of diagnoses; it is actually a launching pad from which you and your MDVIP-affiliated physician can use to develop a personalized wellness plan to help you live a healthier life and prevent/control a host of diseases, including cardiovascular. Click here to continue reading about the recent American Heart Disease/American College of Cardiology heart disease prevention guidelines »