Imagine going to the doctorís office and having a tube of blood drawn that can tell with reasonable accuracy that youíre at risk for heart disease. Itís not a plan for the future. Some laboratories are doing it today.
Doctors have discovered up to ten biomarkers, which are biological molecules that can tell oneís risk for heart disease. Itís not unlike the biomarkers done to detect cancers of certain types in the body.
Many biological markers are related to cholesterol and include things like the size and concentration of LDL particles. It turns out that the smaller the size of LDL particles, the greater is the risk for heart disease. There are also biomarkers unrelated to cholesterol, such as the hs-CRP or C-reactive protein, which is a measure of inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a big part of developing a heart attack so that you are at higher risk for heart disease if you have inflammation in your body.
The laboratory produces a panel that overall shows your risk for heart disease and can target those who need further evaluation, such as an angiogram or stress test, or those that need to have aggressive lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking, weight loss, and exercise. It turns out that making even small changes in ones weight or other parameters changes oneís risk for heart disease.
The next time you see your doctor, find out if they offer a biomarker panel for heart disease. It is gradually becoming more common to have this available. Such a panel could save your life.