Blood test for heart disease measures either blood lipids, minerals, hormones, blood cell count and cardiac enzymes or proteins which can help diagnose or assess the risk of heart disease.
However, these tests are usually combined with some kind of imaging tests which increases the chances of finding the cause of heart related problems.
CHOLESTEROL AND TRIGLYCERIDES
Measuring blood lipids is frequently used blood test for heart disease. Although extremely low values can be dangerous too, in most people blood lipids tend to be elevated.
Elevated triglycerides, total and LDL cholesterol can lead to atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, increase the risk of heart attack and chest pain.
Electrolytes are minerals which have an effect on the nerve and muscle function, amount of water in the body, blood pH levels and other body functions.
Since kidneys and few hormones work together, when it comes to regulating electrolytes levels in the blood, urine test is good indicator of kidney function. Kidneys are vital organ, when it comes to blood pressure regulation, detoxification and many other processes which can affect the heart and blood vessels.
Also, sweating, dehydration, diarrhea, vomiting, intense or prolonged exercise, malnutrition and alcohol intoxication can affect electrolytes levels in the blood.
Homocysteine is a naturally occurring amino acid, found in the blood. High levels are associated with cardiovascular disease, especially with atherosclerosis, heart failure and heart attack.
Elevated homocysteine is usually caused by folic acid, vitamin B-12 and B-6 deficiency or malnutrition. Homocysteine blood test for heart disease can be combined with CK, troponin and myoglobin.
CREATINE KINASE (CK)
Creatine kinase is an enzyme found in the heart, brain, skeletal muscles, and other tissues. When it comes to heart disease, it can help diagnose heart attack and cardiac muscle damage.
Since creatine kinase can also be elevated due to kidney failure, surgery, injury, myositis or breakdown of skeletal muscles because of intense of prolonged exercise, CK-MB can be measured, too.
Creatine kinase-MB is one of three different forms of CK which is mostly found in the heart muscle which makes it much more useful for diagnosing the damage of the heart muscle.
TROPONIN AND MYOGLOBIN
Troponin and myoglobin are two types of proteins which are usually measured along with creatine kinase. They are found in skeletal and cardiac muscle.
However, while myoglobin is found in both types of muscles, troponin T and especially troponin I are found mainly in the heart muscle. Elevated values of CK, troponin and myoglobin are used to diagnose damage of the cardiac muscle and heart attack, among other.
C-reactive protein (CRP)
CRP is a type of protein released during inflammation, by the liver. High levels of CRP are associated with coronary artery disease and rheumatoid arthritis which can lead to inflammatory heart disease and damage the heart muscle.
CRP can be elevated due to bacterial or viral infection, obesity, in a case of chronic inflammation or due to unbalanced hormone levels, especially when estrogen is high. Normal values are between 0 and 10 mg/dL.
Fibrinogen is a protein produced by the liver which is needed for blood clot formation. It helps prevent bleeding.
However, some people may have too much fibrinogen in their blood which can cause heart attack. On the other hand, some may have too little fibrinogen in their blood which can cause bleeding.
Normal values are between 200 - 400 mg/dL.
Besides diagnosing diabetes, measuring fasting blood sugar levels, is also helpful blood test for heart disease.
Although it is not used to diagnose heart disease, it can help asses the risk from heart related problems in the future. The better your body is able to control blood glucose levels, the lower your risk and vice versa.
BLOOD CELL COUNT
Complete blood cell count (CBC) is the most often type of test preformed, in general. Although it is not specifically used to diagnose heart related diseases, it can help assess your overall health and function of the liver, kidneys and bone marrow.
This is important since impaired liver or kidney function as well as overactive or underactive immune system can lead to heart problems, over time.
Although there are many hormones that can increase or decrease the risk from heart disease, there are few of them such as sex and stress hormones that have the biggest affect.
However, in most cases, doctors overlook these type of blood test for heart disease. While at his office, tell your doctor that you want to check your hormones, too, especially estrogen, ACTH and cortisol, along with other markers for heart disease.
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