Integrative Cardiology Labs
Traditional methods of testing for cardiovascular disease have included a blood test for a lipid panel (cholesterol panel) and the use of various risk factors. The lipid panel is a measure of the amounts of fatty substances (lipids) in the blood and includes:
- TC (total cholesterol)
- LDL-C (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol)
- HDL-C (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol)
- TG (triglycerides)
The focus most often for heart health has been LDL-C and HDL-C which are two key types of cholesterol:
- LDL-C: classically defined as “bad cholesterol”. However there are two key types of LDL-C which include small & dense LDL-C which are the true dangerous types of LDL-C that can penetrate vessel walls creating inflammation and damage and the large & fluffy LDL-C which are less of risk to heart health. Traditional lab lipid panel testing does not differentiate these types of LDL-C.
- HDL-C: classically defined as “good cholesterol” which helps remove LDL-C from your blood vessels. It carries the “bad cholesterol” to the liver to be removed from the body.
Although the screening tests to date have been helpful providing basic screening information it does not tell the full story and research shows that lipid panel testing alone is not an accurate prediction of your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Clinical trials have shown that lowering LDL-C does reduce the risk for a cardiovascular event but only by 25% on average. In a nut shell this means that standard drug therapy fails to address 75% of a person’s residual risk for cardiovascular disease. Angiograms (x-ray picture of the health of a vessel) even show that those who are using traditional drug therapies may have lower cholesterol by lipid panel tests but may not have healthy vessels. It is actually more advanced markers and the health of the endothelium (the lining of blood vessels) that gives you a more reflective measure of cardiovascular risk.
Assessment of blood vessel health and inflammation is a key component in determining one’s true risk for heart health concerns. Advanced cardio tests are recommended which include additional blood work (apoA1, ApoB, Lp (a), Homocysteine, LP particle number & size, oxidized LDL, CRP-hs, Insulin, HbA1c) and an in-office, non-invasive testing (EndoPAT 2000) which assesses the health of the endothelium.
We recommend a New Patient Visit for the most comprehensive approach to your health or a Pre-Lab Visit for a quick snapshot prior to lab testing and a Post-Lab consult to review your results.
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