Cholesterol Health Issues

Cardiac Risk Estimation Tests- A Quick Guide

Cardiac risk assessment tests are a group of tests conducted in order to evaluate the risk of heart-related problems such as stroke or cardiac arrest. The results of these tests are further refined in order to know the level of threat (low, medium or high) posed to the test subject.

What all is included in this “group of tests”?
The “groups of tests” mentioned above are of two types-invasive and non-invasive. The invasive tests include arteriography/angiography and cardiac catheterization. On the other hand non-invasive type tests include tests such as Computerized Tomography (CT) scan, Electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG), Echocardiogram, ECG Stress test, Magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA), nuclear stress test and Lipid profiling.

Apart from these tests there are some other tests which are used to determine the extent of threat posed to one’s heart. These are Lipoprotein A (Lp (a)) test and High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) test.

* Lipoprotein A (Lp(a)): It is imperative to assess the levels of this lipoprotein because, quite unlike LDL-C, Lipoprotein A (Lp(a)) does not respond in the same manner to conventional cholesterol lowering methods such as lipid-lowering drugs, exercise, or diet. It seems that the level of Lipoprotein A (Lp(a)) is determined by one’s genes, something which makes intervention difficult.

* High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP): It has been indicated that a positive result of high sensitivity C-reactive protein test can also point out the chances of developing cardiac problems such as heart attack, peripheral arterial disease, stroke, and sudden cardiac death.

Some other factors also looked into while determining risk of cardiovascular problems
Apart from the result of these tests, physicians also look for other factors such as age, blood pressure, cigarette smoking, diabetes, exercise history, hereditary factors, and weight in order to correctly assess the risk of cardiovascular problems.

Who are most likely to face the risk of cardiovascular diseases?
Not everybody faces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. The risk is the maximum in those who have high blood pressure, are diabetic and overweight, smoke excessively and/or have the disease running in their family.

Course of Treatment Prescribed
The nature and course of treatment employed chiefly depends upon the level of risk (low, medium or high) revealed by the tests. In cases wherein the chief cause of the problem was one’s lifestyle a prescription of altered diet and any type of exercise may be recommended by the physician.

However, there may be cases when such lifestyle changes might not work. In such cases, medications such as statins are used to lower down blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides. Further, the same might be useful in cases wherein the cause of the problem lay in the familial or genetic history of the individual.