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Triglycerides and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Testing More than LDL Cholesterol

Triglycerides are a strong risk factor for men and women and normal levels are associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Risk of having high cholesterol is also well studied but is not the end all it used to represent. It can be maintained through diet, exercise and other means. As cholesterol has important antioxidant, structural and hormonal functions in the body, optimal levels are associated with protective effects and balanced synthesis in the liver and intestines via reasonable dietary intake and normal metabolism. High HDL – the ‘good cholesterol – is known to have a positive influence even with moderate elevations in LDL ‘bad’ or total cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol is of course one of the most significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease. But, here are some parameters that your doctor may not typically check that I strongly urge you to ask for:
 

Apolipoprotein A-1

As a component of HDL cholesterol, Apo A-1 is associated with a protective effect regarding cardiovascular risk. Levels of this marker typically correlate with the HDL level. Normal Apo A-1 is particularly favourable in adolescents and men with a family history of myocardial infarction or other cardiovascular disease, as low levels have been shown to be good predictors of future risk.

Apolipoprotein B

Apolipoprotein B is a key component of LDL cholesterol. Normal levels denote a good dietary and metabolic control of LDL activity. Levels of this marker typically correlate with the LDL level. Apo B can be a good predictor of premature atherosclerotic processes, so that a normal level provides a measure of confidence that these processes are not proceeding in an accelerated manner.

Apo B / Apo A-1

The ratio is regarded as an important component of cardiovascular risk, the apolipoproteins being a more refined gauge of risk than HDL & LDL levels.

Lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)]

Low levels of Lp(a) are desirable and translate into a decreased cardiovascular risk. Lp(a) levels are generally independent of various lifestyle factors involved in
cardiovascular health such as smoking, exercise, obesity, and diet.

Homocysteine

Elevated homocysteine is a factor which increases cardiovascular risk, normal levels are highly desirable and beneficial. Continued attention to nutritional influences such as vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid will help maintain this level.

hs C-Reactive Protein

(CRP) has been shown to be a useful predictor of cardiovascular disease, indicating the presence of chronic inflammation. Normal levels of hs-CRP therefore indicate normal inflammatory processes which may otherwise influence cardiovascular risk.

Fibrinogen

This is one of the participants in the clotting process and is manufactured by the liver. As fibrinogen is associated with increased cardiovascular risk via enhancement of coagulation and increased blood viscosity, such normal levels are desirable to maintain.

Carotid Doppler

This ultrasound is a painless and harmless test that uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of the insides of your carotid arteries to assess whether the waxy substance known as plaque has built up in your carotid arteries.