For quite awhile now, I’ve been encouraging you to look at more than just your standard cholesterol panel to assess your risk for heart disease. I’m going to share the findings of an expert panel that supports this need.
In the Journal of Clinical Lipidology a panel of specialists concluded that patients considered at intermediate risk for heart disease be tested for C-reactive protein. It’s likely this applies to a majority of the U.S. population since overweight and obesity is rampant. Family history, diet, exercise, and tobacco use also factor into determining if you are at intermediate risk.
Just evaluating total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol does not work well for predicting heart attack and stroke risk, especially for patients with metabolic syndrome or diabetes. It’s even more difficult to evaluate risk if a patient is using cholesterol lowering statin medications.
C-Reactive protein is a marker for inflammation and is associated with plaque build up in blood vessel walls. The plaque build up in coronary arteries leads to narrow arteries, which can cause chest pain. If these arteries rupture you are dealing with a heart attack or stroke.