Your Lab Results: Cardiac Risk Markers

Cardiac Risk Markers

C Reactive Protein (CRP) is a marker for inflammation. Traditionally it has been used to assess inflammation in response to infection. However we use a highly sensitive C Reactive Protein which is useful in predicting vascular disease, heart attack or stroke. The best treatment for a high C reactive protein level has not yet been defined; however statin drugs, niacin, weight loss, quitting smoking, and exercise all appear to improve C- Reactive Protein

Homocysteine is an amino acid that is normally found in small amounts in the blood. Higher levels are associated with increased risk of heart attack and other vascular diseases. Homocysteine levels may be high due to a deficiency of folic acid or Vitamin B12, heredity, older age, kidney disease, or certain medications. Men tend to have higher levels. Our lab normals are 4 - 15 micromole/l , but if you have had previous vascular disease we may recommend medications to reduce it below 10. You can reduce your homocysteine level by eating more green leafy vegetables and fortified grain products or cereals. The usual treatment is folic acid with or without Vitamin B-12.

Elevated lipoprotein(a) (Lp[a]) concentrations are associated with premature coronary heart disease (CHD). The exact mechanism is not yet clear, but it appears that there is a strong genetic component to elevated Lp(a) levels that correlates with coronary disease. Persons with diabetes and a high Lp(a) level appear to be at increased risk of asymptomatic coronary disease.

Note that a few insurance companies refuse to pay for cardiac risk factor testing.




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