The uncovered risk of heart attack & stroke

What is cardiovascular disease

In most adults, cholesterol (Lipids) causes a fatty deposit called plaque to build up in the walls of the arteries. When these walls become inflamed, our body produces an enzyme called Lp-PLA2. Scientists used to think that narrowing of arteries was the main cause of heart attacks and strokes. However, recent studies show that in over 68% of heart attacks the arteries are not narrow. Instead, the inside wall of the inflamed artery becomes weakened and ruptures, letting plaque into the bloodstream, where the plaque can cause a clot.

Why don’t people know they have cardiovascular disease?

Your arteries do not hurt when they are inflamed and there are no early symptoms of cardiovascular disease. You may have problems without knowing it.

What is Lp-PLA2 TEST?

Lp-PLA2 test is a simple blood test that measures the amount of an enzyme in your blood called Lp-PLA2. When your arteries are inflamed, a fatty deposit called plaque builds up in the walls of the artery. If the amount of Lp-PLA2 in your blood is high, this may indicate that the plaque might rupture through the inside wall of the artery into your bloodstream, where it may cause a clot that could result in a heart attack or stroke. Your body will create a thick fibrous cap to contain the lipid pool and stabilize the plaque. As the lipid pool continues to grow, the fibrous cap thins and eventually ruptures resulting in a clot (thrombus). Individuals who have an elevated Lp-PLA2 Test score and one or more risk factors have more than twice the risk of having a heart attack. If the Lp-PLA2 Test is elevated and they have high blood pressure, their risk for stroke increases more than 6 times. In addition, almost 95% of people with risk factors for heart attack or stroke who had a normal or low Lp-PLA2 Test result did not have a heart attack or stroke within 2 years.

People with the highest Lp-PLA2 levels were 89% more likely to have heart attacks, angina, or bypass/angioplasty procedures than were people with the lowest Lp-PLA2 levels. Risk quickly rose with rising Lp-PLA2 levels.

Are you at risk for heart attack or stroke?

There are a number of factors that have been shown to help predict that someone is at increased risk of a heart attack or stroke. These factors include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Family history
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Physical inactivity
  • Smoking
  • Borderline or high cholesterol
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Men above 40 years and women above 55 years


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