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Unmasking the Hidden Killer Behind Heart Attacks and CVD — Part 3

Part 1 — What Makes Inflammation So Dangerous?

Part 2 — Understanding CRP and the Inflammation / Plaque relationship

Summary

Inflammation is bad. In fact, it’s far worse than one could have imagined in its effects on our body, particularly our heart. Inflammation is the other 50% of the risk quotient in heart attack and heart disease patients. Testing for and monitoring cholesterol levels with a standard lipid panel is simply not sufficient to get the full picture of cardiovascular risk.

Here’s How You Catch the Killer

If you remember the “silent killer” narrative from the first two posts on this topic, I’m going to introduce the silent killer’s worst nightmare — MD HeartPro.

MD-HeartPro-Logo

 

 

MD HeartPro is an advanced lipid panel that tests for inflammation levels that contribute to heart attacks and heart disease. It works in combination with the standard lipid panel, which measures cholesterol. Plaque and Inflammation build in stages, and tracking which phase you’re in is critical to knowing what treatment options fit your current cardiovascular stage and risk elements. Here’s a visual of those stages, produced by our partners, Cleveland Heart Lab. (Used with permission)

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What’s the Next Step?

As with anything related to your physical health, accurate testing and proper diagnosis are crucial and necessary. At Premier, we’re working on a directory of physicians who use our Advanced Lipid Panel. In the meantime, if you want next level diagnostics for your cardiovascular health, tell your doctor about MD HeartPro.

If you’re a physician who is interested in discussing MD HeartPro further, Contact Us and we will set up a no cost, no obligation consultation.

 

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Unmasking the Hidden Killer Behind Heart Attacks and CVD — Part 2

(Click here to read Part 1 of this article)

So, what’s CRP? I thought you said the killer’s name was Inflammation.

Ok, good. you’re tracking well. CRP stands for Creactive protein, which is a molecule that the liver produces in response to an inflammatory signal. So, measuring CRP is like a gauge or measuring stick for inflammation in your body.

In addition to the fact that having high CRP readings can increase your risk for heart attacks, the converse also proved true. Men and women with very low CRP readings rarely ever have heart attacks.

So, what about plaque?

Great question. The buildup of cholesterol in the arteries can certainly lead to cardiovascular disease and events like heart attack and stroke. But, around 50% of all heart attacks that occur happen in people with normal cholesterol or lipid levels. In other words, there are people who got a clean bill of health from their heart doctor, but still ended up having a heart attack. What’s worse is that some of these heart attacks in people with normal cholesterol levels are as severe and fatal as those in people with high cholesterol level. So, what gives? Oh, right. Inflammation. The secret killer.

How does Inflammation contribute to heart attacks?

Doctors are not completely certain exactly how this works, but the current medical opinion is that inflammation seeps inside plaque buildup, which ends up making the plaque unstable. The heart attack occurs then, when the inflammation causes the plaque buildup to rupture, causing arterial blockage, sometimes complete blockage.

Who is at risk? Does this affect the general population?

Doctors don’t necessarily recommend that the general population be concerned about being testing for inflammation levels. But more and more, research points to recommending that CRP be monitored and measured in people who are more prone to cardiovascular disease. Minimally, “a high CRP level might tip the balance in favor of more aggressive therapy with treatments that are already known to work.”

In Part 3, we’ll discuss Testing and Treatment options for Inflammation-induced Cardiovascular Risk.

(NOTE: The medical research and quotations in this article are taken from The Inflammation Research Foundation’s article on Inflammation Science, which was featured in TIME Magazine’s February 23, 2004 issue.)

 

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