Advanced Testing for Heart Health: What you probably didn’t know already…
Let's talk HEART HEALTH! Cardiovascular health is important. Sometimes, we need an event in our lives or in the lives of our loved ones to understand the importance of our health, and that’s okay. Today, I want to talk about heart health and some markers that can be tested for and monitored.
Cardiovascular disease is an incredibly common chronic disease that can sporadically appear at any one point in our lives. It is also a disease that with a family history, especially, can magnify consequences down the road. Our genes are tricky – we can change the environment that the genes live in (epigenetics) and are expressed, but sometimes, we also are unable to completely change our genetic makeup. This article is for information purposes only and please do not try any interventions without consulting your healthcare provider.
We are human. We are not perfect. But, let’s try and take steps towards prevention. If you’re at a point where you think you can do better – then what you can do is try.
Unless we all had angiograms done of our hearts routinely from a very young age (which is just not a possibility), we may not even know that we were at risk. But, here are some risk factors of cardiovascular disease that we can try and mitigate.
These are risk factors that we can try and modify (Modifiable risk factors):
Sedentary lifestyle (lack of activity)
Diabetes (or family history of)
High blood pressure (or family history of)
High Blood lipid levels (unhealthy vs. healthy fats)
These are risk factors that we can’t go back and modify (Non-modifiable risk factors):
Environment (heavy metal/mold exposure) growing up
If you have any of the modifiable risk factors above, we need to be cautious with the approach that we take. Attention is needed, so that we do not develop METABOLIC SYNDROME: High blood pressure, high cholesterol (unhealthy type), high blood sugar.
Of course, it is important to have routine blood work done with your primary health care provider and/or specialist and any other tests for screening (ECG, EKG, etc.).
I am a proponent of testing and not guessing! There are particular markers that I like to check for in patients wanting to improve cardiovascular health or even prevent cardiovascular disease. It goes beyond the general cholesterol panel & blood sugar markers normally performed. The following is just an OVERVIEW of some markers that we can test to help improve HEART HEALTH and prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD):
Insulin– Insulin resistance (constant up and down of insulin due to sugar intake) can increase the risk of CVD.
Adiponectin– A plasma protein inversely related to cardiovascular disease. Low levels can increase risk of CVD.
Leptin– A hormone made in white fat cells (adipocytes). High levels increase the risk of CVD by promoting atherogenesis (plaque formation) in the inner layer of arteries.
LDL (Low-density Lipoprotein)– An unhealthy form of cholesterol in relation to HDL. Carries cholesterol to tissues.
VLDL (Very Low-Density Lipoprotein) – Carries triglycerides (an unhealthy form of fat) to tissues.
HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) – Healthier form of cholesterol in comparison to LDL and within a certain limit.
Buoyant HDL 2b – A subgroup of HDL. Indicative of how well cholesterol is cleared from the body. High levels = better cardiovascular health.
ApoLipoprotein A1 (ApoA1)– A protein carried in GOOD cholesterol (HDL). Should be tested with Apo B.
Apolipoprotein B (ApoB)– A protein that promote plaque formation in arteries. High levels increase risk for CVD. Now determined a strong prognostic marker for CVD in comparison to HDL alone.
Omega-3/Omega-6– Omega-3 is cardio-protective and anti-inflammatory, while Omega-6 does the opposite. Knowing this value can help determine appropriate dosing of Omega-3. Omega-3 examples: DHA , EPA. Omega-6 examples: arachidonic acid, linoleic acid.
I hope that you found this overview of information useful! I do offer this advanced testing for these markers which can all be run as part of a larger cardiovascular panel.