New Screening to Help Identify Heart Disease Risk

heart diseaseThis fall, we’re offering two new screenings. One is a blood type, the other is called High-sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hsCRP). Yeah, the latter is a mouthful. But it may better define your risk for heart disease when taken into consideration with other traditional risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, family history, and obesity.

hsCRP

Elevated levels of hsCRP are an independent risk factor for heart disease. “This particular lab test can help determine who is at higher risk of developing coronary artery disease and myocardial infarctions,” says 9Health Medical Advisory Committee member Dr. Michael McDermott. If you’re considering this screening, it’s recommended you get it in conjunction with the blood chemistry and hemoglobin A1c screening which screens for diabetes and cholesterol.

Just note, your levels may show an increase if you are experiencing illness and/or inflammation at the time of the screening. So, we don’t recommend it if you are ill or have been recently injured because it may give you a temporarily elevated level.

“This test measures inflammation by measuring low levels of circulating inflammatory chemicals,” explains Dr. McDermott. “However, it is nonspecific and is affected by inflammation anywhere in her bodies and not just in the heart.”

Because the test measures inflammation in the body, you might now find yourself wondering about those anti-inflammatory diets that are starting to get more attention. “A well-balanced healthy diet that consists of a balanced amount of all the recommended food groups is recommended for all of us.  Anti-inflammatory diet specifically have not been shown to actually reduce inflammation,” says Dr. McDermott.

You may be wondering, why is 9Health Fair adding this new screening now? Recent research shows that chronic inflammation may occur within the arteries of the heart. This may play a role in the development and progression of heart disease, acting as a “silent killer”.

According to Dr. McDermott, “If someone has a high test level, it would just represent one additional reason why aggressive cholesterol lowering and reduction of other cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and obesity should be pursued.”

If you already know you might be at risk for heart disease, you may want to consider getting this screening. As with all our screenings, we encourage you to share the results with your healthcare provider.