The risk of developing heart disease has traditionally been assessed by measurement of LDL (low-density lipoprotein; “bad” cholesterol) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein; “good” cholesterol). However, a recent study demonstrates that about 50% of heart attacks and strokes occur in people with ‘normal’ cholesterol levels. This suggests that many people at risk are presumably “healthy” because they have normal cholesterol levels. Thus, routine cholesterol tests are failing to identify people at risk for heart attack and stroke. This is why it’s important to know your risk for a heart attack or stroke by getting inflammation testing.  

The CVD Inflammation Profile more accurately evaluates the cardiovascular risk for patients who may warrant more aggressive and comprehensive therapy. This group of tests covers an individual’s full spectrum of risk from lifestyle concerns (long-term risk; F2-IsoPs) to the development of cardiovascular disease (early to mid-term risk; OxLDL, hsCRP, Urinary Microalbumin) and initiation of vulnerable plaque and increased risk for adverse cardiac event (near-term risk; Lp-PLA2 and MPO). In short, an individual’s risk for heart disease progression and mortality coincide with biomarker elevations along the inflammation continuum. 

Here are some inflammatory biomarkers that we recommend to our patients:

  1. Myeloperoxidase - Measures the amount of vascular inflammation due to the white blood cell response to damaged arteries. Elevated levels may suggest increased risk for cardiovascular  disease and/or a heart attack.
  2. Lp-PLA2 (The PLAC® Test) - Measures the amount of inflammation within the artery walls due to cholesterol build-up. Elevated levels may predict an increased risk of heart attack and/or stroke.
  3. hsCRP - Measures general inflammation in the body. Elevated levels of hsCRP may indicate an increased risk of disease.
  4. Urinary Microalbumin - Measures very small amounts (micro-) of albumin that can leak into the urine. Elevated levels of microalbumin in the urine may indicate tissue damage that could lead to cardiovascular and kidney disease.
  5. Oxidized LDL Measures LDL cholesterol that has been modified on its ApoB (LDL carrier) subunit and plays a role in the initiation of vascular inflammation. Elevated levels are associated with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome or cardiovascular disease.
  6. F2-Isoprostanes - Measure oxidation in the body due to the metabolism of arachidonic acid, a compound needed for building muscle and basic body functions. Elevated levels can damage body tissue and contribute to chronic disease.

These inflammatory biomarkers together with advanced lipid testing (NMR LipoProfile test) can give you a more complete picture of your heart health and help guide your treatment, so that you can enjoy a longer healthier life.