February is American Heart Month: do you know your personal 10-year risk of heart disease? And the key factors that elevate heart disease risk?
What’s Your Personal 10-Year Risk of Heart Disease?
You can easily calculate your own 10-year risk of heart disease. In fact, the risk calculator is even available in an app (my cardiologist used his phone to calculate my risk during our last appointment). If you do not already have heart disease, are between 40-80 years old, and have an LDL cholesterol level lower than 190 mg/dL, you can calculate your 10-Year risk of heart disease with an online calculator.
When I told my cardiologist that nearly every adult in my family takes a statin due to a family history of high cholesterol, he asked if anyone had ever undergone a Coronary Calcium Scan.
I’d never heard of that test, and none of my relatives had either.
But I paid out-of-pocket for that test last month.
The reason: my cholesterol results worsened slightly versus a year ago. My latest Cardio IQ blood test* revealed a high number of LDL (bad) cholesterol particles, and that these LDL particles had shifted from the ‘safe,’ fluffy Pattern A type to the more dangerous,
Last week, I got some bad news which I’m hoping I can turn into good news.
The bad news: my cholesterol has hit a personal high of 267 but more concerning, my triglycerides skyrocketed to 253 (‘goal’ is lower than 150 … and in the 10 lab results I’ve tracked since 2002 my triglycerides have NEVER been over 200.)
Also, I now have some “mild kidney insufficiency” which may be related to what’s driving my triglycerides sky-high: a) a diet too high in sugar, carbs and alcohol; and b) not enough exercise.
If you have high cholesterol but no other cardiac disease risks, ask your doctor about the High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (HS-CRP) test.
The HS-CRP test is an important predictor of heart disease risk. Actually, as explained in Why You Should Ask For Advanced Lipid Testing, if you are concerned about heart disease risk, you might want to ask your doctor about three key tests: HS-CRP, ApoB and LDL Pattern Type. (While they’re separate tests, all are included in one single Advanced Lipid Panel blood test.)
The HS-CRP test in particular predicts heart disease risk by measuring inflammation in the blood vessels.
Controversies in Cardiovascular Medicine is the intriguing title of a 2009 article in the American Heart Association’s Circulation publication.
Stop laughing – cholesterol research can be intriguing! I’d label the situation frustrating more than intriguing, but here’s what is going on.
The controversy is essentially that advanced lipid testing (explained in Cholesterol Tests Your Doctor Hasn’t Told You About) has been around for 50 years and is a better predictor of cardiovascular disease risk than standard cholesterol blood tests, and yet these ‘advanced’ tests are still not widely prescribed.
In fact, the ‘standard’ cholesterol blood panels (total cholesterol,