Archive for October, 2013

High Cholesterol

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We sell thousands of laboratory blood tests and it is increasing typical to have results report individuals with high cholesterol.  Approximately 100 million Americans have high cholesterol and can be caused by diet, family history and other factors.  According to the American Heart Association, Coronary artery disease (CAD) is caused by elevated levels of blood cholesterol and triglycerides (in addition to high blood pressure and smoking).

What Can You Do to Lower Your Cholesterol?

1.  Change Your Diet  – One of the easiest ways to decrease your cholesterol is to reduce your intake of saturated fat.  Most saturated fat is found in animal-based foods such as beef, pork, veal, milk, eggs, butter, and cheese.  Additionally, you find plant-based saturated fats in many processed and packaged foods:  coconut oil, palm oil, or cocoa butter, stick margarine, vegetable shortening are in many cookies, crackers, chips and other packaged snacks.

2.  Lower Your weight  – losing a few pounds can decrease your triglycerides and increase the good cholesterol, HDL.  Additionally, you will feel and look better without extra pounds.

3.  Increase Your Activity Level – Exercise may have some bad connotations with some people so it’s better said to “increase your activity.”  This can be easy things such as house cleaning, gardening or playing ball with your kids.  When you don’t have a lot of physical activity, you LDL can increase.

4. Quit smoking  – Smoking can lower your good cholesterol and has many other negative health effects.

5. Get Tested –  Be sure you know what your cholesterol levels are so you can manage it.  Know that if you are diabetic or have thyroid issues, you may be at increased risk for high cholesterol and heart disease.

What You Can’t Control But Effects Cholesterol

1.  Your age and gender  – As you age, your cholesterol levels will naturally rise.

2.  Your Family History – Chances are if you know of family members that have high cholesterol, you have a higher probability of having high cholesterol also.

Take Control of Your Health!

Medical Disclaimer:  The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.  The writer is not a physician or other health provider.

 


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Cardiac C-Reactive Protein Blood LabTest

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What is the Cardiac C-Reactive Protein Blood Lab Test

The Cardiac C-Reactive Protein (CRP) blood test is used to measure the amount of CRP protein in your blood.  The CRP is a protein that is present in the blood when the body has inflammation.  Examples of diseases that have chronic inflammation include arthritis, lupus or inflammatory bowel disease.  Most notably, the arteriosclerotic plaques in the coronary arteries is also considered an inflammatory process that correlates with C-reactive protein and therefore the CRP test is a good prognosticator of heart disease.

For October 2013 only, get the Cardiac C-Reactive Protein Blood Lab Test for only $30.

Why Would One Get a CRP Blood Test?

The test is ordered, along with other blood tests, to estimate your chance of developing cardiovascular disease.  It can also help determine your risk of having a sudden heart attack.   The current CRP test that we offer is also called CRP-hs where hs denotes that it is sensitive enough to detect chronic low-level inflammation.

What if my CRP Tests are Elevated?

It is known that recent illness or tissue injury and chronic inflammation from arthritis can increase CRP levels and these may not be indicators of your risk for heart disease.  It is important to discuss values outside the reference range with your health care provider.   In general, elevated CRP values are associated with an increased risk for heart attack and stroke.  It is unknown if having CRP in your blood stream actually causes the increased risk or if it is just present in the body.  Typcially, those with high CRP levels will be treated with statins to reduce their cardiovascular event risk.

Because CRP levels can fluctuate over time, most experts now recommend measuring 2 CRP levels a few weeks apart, and averaging the two values.

If you’re having a CRP test to evaluate your risk of heart disease, these are the current risk levels used:

  • Low risk. You have a CRP level of less than 1.0 milligrams per liter (mg/L).
  • Average risk. You have a CRP level between 1.0 and 3.0 mg/L.
  • High risk. You have a CRP level greater than 3.0 mg/L.

A test result showing a CRP level greater than 8 mg/L is a sign of serious inflammation or infection, and you should talk to your doctor about your test result to check for other medical problems.

A CRP test that is out of the normal reference range may prompt additional testing:

  • cholesterol test,
  • a stress test or
  • a coronary angiogram,

There are many lifestyle change recommendations and/or medications available to decrease your risk of heart attack.

Medical Disclaimer:  The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.  The writer is not a physician or other health provider.

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