MEDICAL CARDIOVASCULAR TESTS

It is good to understand about all of the medical tests that could be utilized to monitor your heart health. Speak to your Physician about these tests. Ask for copies of the results. Be in charge of your health as a co-partner with your doctor.

BLOOD PRESSURE
A device is attached to the arm to test. When the arteries are inflamed and swollen, they are unable to expand through the narrowed vessels so blood pressure increases. Any reading above 120/80 mm is considered high blood pressure.

ECHOCARDIOGRAM
This is a non-invasive test that bounces sound waves off the heart and back onto a monitor, which can then give us an accurate picture of the heart. It can tell the size of the heart and the heart's wall motion, that is, whether it is flexible or stiff, or excessively thick. These signs may indicate low blood flow or scar tissue from a previous heart attack. The test can indicate function of the valves, whether the heart is swollen or how well the chambers are working. It can also tell if there is fluid in the pericardium which is the pouch that is around the heart.

DOPPLER ULTRASOUND SCAN OF THE CAROTID ARTERY
This is a non-invasive test done with a handheld device placed over an artery that sends a high-frequency sound waves into the artery. The sound waves are bounced off the red blood cells and any obstructions that may be inside the artery. When testing the carotid artery it can determine the degree of atherosclerosis (inflammation) in the vessel and whether there is insufficient blood flowing to the brain.

ANKLE BRACHIAL INDEX
This non-invasive test uses a Doppler ultrasound applied to the ankle. It senses whether there is a decreased blood flow in the legs or any sign of peripheral vascular disease.

ULTRASOUND TEST OF AORTA
This non-invasive ultrasound tests the aorta artery that rises from the left ventricle and runs like a tree trunk down the center of the body. It also branches off to carry blood to the other organs such as spleen, kidneys and liver. The test can determine whether there is decreased blood flow due to athersclerosis or blood clots. It can also tell if there is weakness (aneurysm) in the wall of the artery.

SPECT NUCLEAR TEST
This is an invasive test called a single proton emission computed tomography test. This is a type of nuclear cardiac imaging a procedure in which a small quantity of a radioactive substance (isotope) is injected into a vein in the arm of the patient to be absorbed by the heart and coronary arteries, where the radioactive substance can be seen and interpreted. The SPECT camera can move around the whole patient whereby the PET scan cannot. An angiogram can only see inside the artery but cannot see the artery itself. But the SPECT can do this and give more information about artery tissue, the heart and its core (endocardium). It can also determine if the thymus gland shows changes indicating bacterial infection in the body.


BLOOD TESTS

TOTAL BLOOD CHOLESTEROL
This is the most important of all the cholesterol tests. Ideal is less than 150 mg/dL.

LDL CHOLESTEROL
The second most important cholesterol test measures low-density lipoproteins that promotes artery inflammation. Should be less than 100 mg/dL, and preferably less than 70 mg/dL.

HDL CHOLESTEROL
High-density lipoproteins provide limited protection against heart disease. If your total cholesterol is high, good HDL won't help much. Ideally should be 50 mg/dL.

TRIGLYCERIDES
A percentage of blood fats, or triglycerides become LDL cholesterol that reduces circulation to cells and organs as a risk for heart disease. Should be below 150 mg/dL.

FASTING GLUCOSE
This test indicates whether a person is diabetic. A normal level is below 109 mg/dL, but better if it is below 100 mg/dL.

INSULIN LEVELS
High insulin is a risk factor for weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. An ideal range is 5-27 pIU/mL. 

HOMOCYSTEINE
It tests for a bad amino acid that can irritate and inflame arteries. A normal result is 4-12 pmol/L, but better if 10 pmol/L or less.

FIBRINOGEN
Tests fibrous material of a protein in the blood that causes clots. Best is below 350 mg/Dl.

LIPOPROTEIN A
Indicates a liver that is distressed by numerous dietary factors and likely triggering inflammation. A healthy test is less than 30 mg/dL. 

C-REACTIVE PROTEIN
Tests a bad protein in the blood produced by the liver. Anything below 0.5 mg/dL is normal.

LIVER-FUNCTION TESTS
AST (aspartate transaminase) is produced in the liver and if high, indicates inflammation and possibly cancer. Normal is 0-36 international units per liter. Also check ALT (alanine transaminase) with normal being 0-40 IU/L.

KIDNEY FUNCTION
Checks levels of blood urea nitrogen and serum creatinine. A reading above 7-21 mg/dL can indicate possible kidney disorder, excessive meat intake, bleeding, stress, or the presence of certain drugs in the system. A decreased result can indicate possible starvation, liver failure, kidney disease, and pregnancy.

INTERLUKIN-6
Normal is less than 9.8 pg/ml. A reading higher can indicate inflammation possibly due to heart disease, excess milk consumption, mild allergy, as well as maybe bacterial infection.


 

ASSESSMENTS