Dear Dr Mitch:
I’m trying to figure out whether I am a candidate for problems with heart disease or strokes in the future. Can you give me the names of blood tests I should get and their meaning since I have a strong positive family history?
There is a good composite of tests that are not too expensive. I can discuss some of these, for example, C-Reactive Protein Hi Sensitive, demonstrates whether or not your arteries are suffering from inflammation, which is often the nidus for propagation of arterial plaque. A PLAC-2 test, I find very helpful, especially with people who have a family history of coronary heart disease because it shows whether or not you have friable plaque (plaque which can break off and form a clot in the brain causing a stroke or in the heart causing an Myocardial Infarction) . Most embolic or clot type of strokes and heart attacks are secondary to pieces of plaque that break off. If both of these tests are positive you are at high risk and should consider strong dietary and hormonal changes to your lifestyle changes. I also like checking the homocysteine levels, a toxic amino acid which is a breakdown product that comes from the amino acid methionine. When elevated it can be an independent risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Vitamin D3 levels are most important to check, more than a vitamin and much more like a hormone can ,when low, increase your risk of heart disease as well. Get it checked, levels should range between 60-100 ng/ml. I also like the test for fibrinogen. As it elevates it begins to suggest that your blood is increasing its thickness (viscosity) which decreases the oxygen carrying capacity and nutrients. Once you get your values, feel free to email them to me at email@example.com as I’ll be glad to review them if you would like and give you suggestions for your PCP.
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