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At-Home Testing for Cardiovascular Health and Wellness

Erica Dermer
6 minutes
Published:
Updated:
February 24, 2020
September 11, 2020

The cardiovascular system is complex, and there is no single marker that is the silver bullet for longevity or cardiovascular health. Repeat, there is no single test that describes all cardiovascular diseases. There are so many messages in today’s media about dieting and exercising, but what if I told you that some of your cardiovascular health was determined for you at birth? Wouldn’t you want to know all of your potential cardiovascular risk factors for your future? We would too.

Here at imaware™ we’re bringing knowledge, power, and the gift of proactive health care directly to your door step. We have several cardiovascular tests that can help uncover your genes, your biomarkers, and help you tell a more complete story about your cardiovascular health.

Cardiovascular Wellness: Screen for baseline heart health with this comprehensive panel 

Everyone should baseline their cardiovascular risk with HDL, LDL, triglycerides, and inflammation markers. Most doctors will order this type of test to establish a baseline value for you and your cardiac health. Most of us have had this test done at our physician’s office, but we wanted to offer you a chance to follow your numbers whenever you’d like to, not just when you have an annual (or longer) physical. 

But what more can you be doing to monitor your cardiovascular health? What can you test for to see any further risks beyond a baseline test? The following tests measure "independent risk" and view your cardiovascular health beyond any LDL or HDL. Consider our advanced cardiovascular health and wellness tests for a more complete picture of your risk factors.  

Lipoprotein(a): Screen for your inherited risk factor for adverse cardio events

A simple blood test can measure your Lp(a) levels, however, many doctors do not order this test today as part of your standard cholesterol screening panel.

What is Lp(a)? 

Lp(a), is a smaller LDL (low-density lipoprotein) particle that carries cholesterol, fat, and protein in your blood. In high levels, it dramatically increases your risk for cardiovascular disease. Approximately one in five people (20%) have high levels of Lp(a) that are genetically inherited (around 80-90%) from birth. As these high levels of Lp(a) travel through the bloodstream, it collects in the arteries, causing them to narrow. This can increase the risk of clots, strokes, or a heart attack - even in seemingly healthy individuals. 

Lp(a) is not affected by statins, which can make you think that you carry no risk if your average cholesterol panel is fine - before diving deeper into your Lp(a). Elevated Lp(a) is found in up to 1/3 of heart attack survivors. 

Because it is inherited, everyone should be tested if they had family members die of sudden heart attack or stroke, especially at a young age. You should also get tested if you or a family member  have premature vascular disease, familial hypercholesterolemia or a family history of Lp(a). 

What Do My Results Mean?

Unfortunately, diet and exercise have little to no impact on your Lp(a). Based on your results, your cardiologist may ask you about certain treatments like apheresis or supplements for Lp(a). New treatments are on the horizon as more and more medical providers are starting to understand the importance of this life-saving test and the importance of Lp(a). 

Where Can I Learn More? 

Lp(a) foundation is a great resource for further reading.

Lp-PLA2: Screen for this independent inflammation risk factor for cardio events

What is Lp-PLA2?

Lp-PLA2 (PLAC) (Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2 levels) is an inflammatory biomarker that can be indicative of cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular risk. It is strongly associated with stroke and other life-changing cardiovascular events.

Did you know that 50% of heart attacks take place in people with normal cholesterol levels? PLAC is an independent measure that looks at rupture-prone plaque - a leading cause of heart attack. This is a much better, and more stable test than hs-CRP for identifying vascular inflammation. This biomarker might be associated with obesity and a western diet. Lp-PLA2 might even be associated with cardiovascular disease and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.

What Do My Results Mean? 

This test will help stratify your risk of future cardiovascular events, and can help your cardiologist better understand what medications, dietary, and lifestyle changes would be useful for this specific risk factor

Haptoglobin: Screen for a specific genetic variant that raises your risk, especially for diabetics

Knowing your haptoglobin genotype can provide your clinician with guidance for treatment to help lower your risk of heart attack or stroke.

What is Haptoglobin?

Haptoglobin is a hemoglobin binding protein, and its main function is to prevent heme-iron mediated oxidation, meaning it removes iron from the blood. If the extra iron is not removed, it can cause oxidative stress, a buildup of iron, and inflammation in the circulatory system. This is the cause of increased risk for heart attack and stroke. 

What Does The Genotype Tell Me?

Multiple studies have shown that the Hp2-2 genotype is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular complications in those with diabetes. For 36% of people - those with Hp2-2 genotype, there is a deficiency that causes iron to further oxidize and cause damage. The Hp2-2 genotype is more common in Southeast Asia - with 90% of individuals with this genotype.

Cardiovascular disease is the single most major cause of death among Diabetes Mellitus (DM) patients, accounting for approximately 65% of mortality in those with DM. Type 2 Diabetics are at significant risk - those with Hp2-2 genotype are 500% more likely - a five times greater risk - to have a CVD event. This simple gene test can help stratify your risk for a major cardiovascular event with diabetes. 

This genotype might even factor into cardiovascular disease in patients with sleep apnea as well. 

Vitamin E Therapy - Not for Everyone

Vitamin E therapy performed with guidance from your health professional can help reduce this risk for those with the 2-2 variant. However, in diabetics who are not Hp2-2, Vitamin E can actually increase CVD risk. This test helps establish your genotype so you can engage in appropriate healthcare.

Future Cardio Wellness Test from imaware™

We're seeing even more tests coming out that further identify risk, such as OxPL, which is a promising marker that can identify risk across the spectrum of CVD phases. Stay tuned for more products coming out from imaware™ that help you stay healthy and stay informed. 

Summary

If you had the power to know more about your genetic and lifestyle risk factors for cardiovascular disease, wouldn’t you want to know? Patients need to take more control in understanding their family history, other risk factors, and engage in dialogue with their doctors to ensure they are getting a more complete picture into potential cardiovascular risks.  

 

Read more on:

Haptoglobin: 

Haptoglobin Genotype and Its Role in Determining Heme-Iron Mediated Vascular Disease

Haptoglobin Phenotype Is an Independent Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Disease in Individuals With Diabetes: The Strong Heart Study

Haptoglobin Phenotype as a Predictive Factor of Mortality in Diabetic Haemodialysis Patients

Haptoglobin Polymorphism Is a Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Disease in Patients With Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome

The Genetics of Vascular Complications in Diabetes Mellitus

Correction of HDL Dysfunction in Individuals With Diabetes and the Haptoglobin 2-2 Genotype

Pharmacogenomics and the prevention of vascular complications in diabetes mellitus

Haptoglobin and haptoglobin genotypes in diabetes: A silver bullet to identify the responders to antioxidant therapy?


PLA2

Lipoprotein-associated Phospholipase A2 Predicted Cardiovascular Disease in Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome

The Relationship Between Dietary Patterns and Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2 Levels in Adults With Cardiovascular Risk Factors: Tehran Lipid and Glucose Study

Does Lp-PLA2 Determination Help Predict Atherosclerosis and Cardiocerebrovascular Disease?

The Relationship Between Dietary Patterns and Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2 Levels in Adults With Cardiovascular Risk Factors: Tehran Lipid and Glucose Study


Lp(A)

Lipoprotein(a) in Clinical Practice

Most Doctors Don’t Know About This $20 Test for Hidden Heart Attack Risk

Understand Inherited Lipoprotein(a)

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Erica Dermer

Consumer & Patient Engagement at imaware™

Erica is as a food & wellness expert with an established reputation as a celiac & autoimmune disease influencer. Writing, editing, appearing on TV and publishing her own book, Erica campaigns and supports those with autoimmune diseases using everything she has learned through her career and living life with celiac disease.