Heart Health Testing
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the number one causes of death worldwide. It is a class of diseases that affects the heart and blood vessels (arteries, veins, or both). Risk factors include unhealthy diet, obesity, inactivity, smoking, alcohol use, age, gender, and a myriad of other underlying problems, i.e. diabetes, poor nutrition. Approximately 85% of people who die from CVD are 65 years or older, however, trends globally suggest the development of CVD in younger individuals as well. Men have a greater tendency towards CVD than women, but the risk of CVD in women increases after menopause. With all the statistics of CVD independent of age and gender it is a serious disease with significant complications for health and early death.
The most appropriate way to combat CVD is through lifestyle factors such as healthy eating, avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol, and exercising regularly. In fact, these lifestyle suggestions often benefit many individuals with other diseases that increase CVD risk such as diabetes.
Laboratory testing for various markers such as total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL), high density lipoprotein (HDL), and triglycerides are important as a way to monitor blood fats. In addition, to these markers measuring for inflammation can be important too. Chronic inflammation within the vascular system is another risk factor for the development and progression of CVD. The marker C-reactive protein (CRP) is a useful way of seeing if excess inflammation is occurring in the cardiovascular system.
Finally, because diabetes is such a major problem worldwide and an independent risk factor for CVD monitoring two parameters with regards to blood sugar balance is critical – fasting insulin and hemoglobin A1c. Insulin is the hormone that helps maintain proper blood glucose (sugar) and when excess blood sugar occurs overtime it is reflected in the production of excess hemoglobin A1c.