What is Heart Disease?
Heart disease, also called atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), occurs when fatty material builds up and forms plaques in your arteries. As plaque builds, arteries narrow, making it difficult for organs to get the blood that is needed. Narrow arteries limit blood supply to the heart and create increased risk for heart attack and stroke.
Why is it Important to Get a Basic Lipid Test?
The American Heart Association recommends that beginning at age 20, when plaque usually begins to develop, a basic lipid test be performed. The test includes a measure of your total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol (known as good cholesterol), LDL cholesterol (known as bad cholesterol) and triglycerides. The frequency of follow up will depend on your level of risk.
Does Measuring Cholesterol Indicate Cardiovascular Risk?
New research shows that 50% of people at risk for heart disease are not identified by routine testing. This is because it is the lipoproteins that carry cholesterol, and not simply the cholesterol itself, that determine cardiovascular risk. More than 20% of the population has cholesterol-depleted LDL, a condition in which a patient’s cholesterol level is “normal” but his or her lipoprotein numbers, and hence his or her actual risk, is much higher than expected.
Heart Health Testing from BioReference
Heart Health testing from BioReference provides a direct measure of the number and size of your lipoprotein particles themselves, providing a more accurate picture of your true risk for cardiovascular disease. The BioReference Heart Health Panel also includes measures of inflammatory markers and independent risk factors (such as high blood sugar) to provide a complete picture of cardiovascular disease risk.
When to get Tested
The first step in reducing risk for heart disease is to know your current risk level by getting tested. The Heart Health report is easy to read and includes an explanation of all results. Based on the specific outcomes of the test, a physician may recommend medications to control certain risk factors and/or suggest lifestyle modifications through physical activity, healthy eating and smoking cessation.
The first step in reducing your risk for heart disease is to know your risk. Speak with your physician to confirm if testing is right for you.