Heart disease continues to be the #1 killer for American men and women. It used to be just a men’s disease, but cardiovascular disease has killed more women than men every year since 1984. Each year, 12 times more women die from cardiovascular disease than from breast cancer.
The risk factors for cardiovascular disease include genetic, environmental, and hereditary features. Some of these attributes are ethnicity, age, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity, sedentary life-style, poor nutrition and menopause.
It is interesting to note that almost 50% of all patients who have heart attacks have “normal” cholesterol levels. Is this due to the fact that other factors influence coronary heart disease such as genetics and inflammation? Or is the traditional lipid panel limited in telling us the whole truth?
The answers to these questions can be found in a more detailed cholesterol screening test known as a VAP (Vertical Auto Profile) Test. Traditional routine cholesterol testing measures cholesterol, HDL (good cholesterol), LDL (bad cholesterol), and triglycerides (TG). This lipid panel identifies only 40% of people at risk for coronary heart disease.
The VAP test is a more extended lipid panel that detects up to 90% of all patients who have heart disease. It includes not only the measurements from the traditional panel, but includes the size of the LDL, Lipoprotein A, IDL, CRP, VLDL, HDL subtypes, and homocysteine levels. These letters may not mean much to you, but they explain how much inflammation is present, your genetic predisposition, and the quality of the LDL and HDL. The more we know, the more specific the treatment can be for each person.
Ask you doctor or practitioner about getting a VAP test. You still need to be fasting for about 10 hours before getting your blood drawn. The cost is slightly higher than the traditional cholesterol screening, but you’ll get more specific and accurate information.