Most doctors will do only basic blood work for the heart consisting of cholesterol numbers. Unfortunately, this does not give a good picture of how healthy your heart is. Research has shown that 50% of heart attacks and strokes occur in people with normal cholesterol levels. Read on to find out what markers beyond cholesterol you need to know for heart health.
In one of the best studies on heart health, the Framingham Study, the director William Castelli stated that LDL cholesterol levels by themself are not good predictors of risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). He also remarked that total cholesterol/HDL ratio was a much better marker to predict risk.
Progression of Coronary Heart Disease
When we look at CHD there are three stages, oxidation and inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, and plaque deposits on the arterial walls. Here are the markers you want to look at in each of these stages.
This test is the gold standard for measuring oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress is the first sign to identify the risk for atherosclerosis and cancer.
Oxidized LDL (OxLDL)-
This cholesterol number is very predictive of heart disease. When LDL particles form ApoB protein on their surface, this is a sign of particle oxidation.
This marker is a metabolite of L-arginine and can inhibit nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide is essential for heart health. When ADMA is elevated, it is associated with endothelial dysfunction, insulin resistance, hypertension, and subclinical atherosclerosis.
This marker shows small amounts of albumin in the urine. Albumin is a protein that assesses kidney function. If it is elevated, it can indicate endothelial dysfunction and an increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
High-sensitivity C-reactive Protein (hs-CRP)-
This marker shows systemic inflammation. When elevated, it is associated with the risk of future adverse cardiovascular events. Research shows this risk happens even with people who do not have symptoms or seem to have stable coronary artery disease.
This marker is a vascular-specific inflammatory enzyme that increases when the body releases macrophages in the lesions on the artery wall. This signifies more significant endothelial dysfunction, coronary heart disease (CHD), or a CHD event.
This is another enzyme marker that is specific to the vascular system. This enzyme is released into the bloodstream in response to plaque buildup, erosions, or fissures on the arterial wall. When MPO is elevated, it is associated with the risk of cardiac events and, when paired with a hs-CRP, can predict higher cardiovascular risk.
Here is a video that dives deeper into LDL cholesterol numbers-
If you want to know more about the blood work that can help you see if you are at a higher cardiovascular risk, don’t hesitate to contact us; we can help you with this information.