Heart Health

Heart Health Lab Tests and health information

Do you know your heart health?

Our comprehensive heart health lab testing can detect hidden cardiac issues before they cause damage.

It's important to be aware of your heart health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing more than 600,000 people each year. This doesn't have to be you! You can take steps now to protect yourself and those you love from heart disease and stroke.

With our lab tests, we can help you understand your risk factors for heart disease and find out if there are things that may put you at greater risk for a cardiovascular event, like a stroke or a heart attack. We offer blood testing services that will give us valuable information about what is going on inside your body so we can work with you to reduce these risks as much as possible.

Our heart health lab tests and panels are the most comprehensive blood tests for heart and vascular disease. They provide information on cardiovascular risk factors, including cholesterol levels, inflammation markers, and more. These lab tests can help identify if you have any of the following conditions that could lead to a heart attack or stroke: high blood pressure (hypertension), coronary artery disease (CAD), diabetes mellitus type 2, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), metabolic syndrome X, chronic kidney disease (CKD).

If you want to learn more about heart health and lab tests, click here. 
Our Heart Health lab panels provide a comprehensive collection of tests and biomarkers to help discover hidden heart problems before they become life-threatening. 

Don't put it off until it's too late; get started now by ordering one of our advanced heart health lab panels from the list below.

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  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Cholesterol (Lipid) Profile
  • C-Reactive Protein High Sensitivity

  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Cholesterol (Lipid) Profile
  • C-Reactive Protein High Sensitivity
  • Homocysteine
  • Lipoprotein (A)

  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Glucose (included in CMP)
  • Lipid Panel
  • Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
  • Complete Blood Count with Differential and Platelets
  • Iron study with TIBC
  • Phosphorus
  • C-Reactive Protein High Sensitivity
  • Cardio IQ equivalent of NMR Profile with Lipoprotein (A), Apolipoprotein B, and Lipoprotein Fractionation

Clopidogrel (Plavix®) is metabolized by CYP2C19 to its active form. This assay detects loss-of-function variants in the CYP2C19 gene leading to reduced therapeutic response to Clopidogrel treatment.

Warfarin (Coumadin®) therapy is associated with significant complications because of its narrow therapeutic index and large interpatient dosage variation necessary to achieve an optimal therapeutic response. This variation is due to both genetic and environmental factors. A promoter variant (-1639 G?A) of the Vitamin K epoxide complex subunit 1 (VCR) accounts for 25%-44% of this variability and variants of the cytochrome P enzyme C (SPCA) account for 10%-15% of this variability. Identification of these warfarin sensitive variants of the VKORC1 and the CYP2C9 genes may allow a more individualized therapy and reduced risk of bleeding complications.

To screen for APC-R associated with venous thromboembolic disorders.

ADAMTS-13 is a zinc metalloprotease that cleaves ultra large vWF multimers. Studies have shown that low levels of ADAMTS-13 activity are associated with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), a life-threatening hematological condition characterized by a low platelet count, microvascular thrombi, red cell fragmentation, and renal complications. Congenital TTP is a rare inherited disease caused by mutations within the ADAMTS-13 gene, which result in the production of non-functional protein. The acquired form of TTP is an autoimmune-like disorder caused by the development of autoantibodies to ADAMTS-13 that inhibits enzyme activity.  

Additional test processing fees will be charged if initial results dictate Reflex (further) testing.

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The adiponectin ELISA assay quantitatively measures human adiponectin in serum. It has been shown that decreased expression of adiponectin correlates with insulin resistance. Adiponectin appears to be a potent insulin enhancer linking adipose tissue and whole body glucose metabolism.

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Aids in the diagnosis of primary disease of skeletal muscle myocardial infarction and viral hepatitis.

Alpha 2-Antiplasmin inhibits the action of plasmin. Inherited deficiency may lead to bruising and bleeding. The test may also be useful in monitoring substitution therapy.

Description: An ALT test is a blood test that is used to screen for and diagnose liver disease.

Also Known As: Alanine Aminotransferase Test, Alanine Transaminase Test, GPT Test, SGPT Test, Serum Glutamic Pyruvic Transaminase Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is an Alanine Transaminase test ordered?

When a person undergoes a standard health examination, ALT may be ordered as part of a full metabolic panel.

When a person has signs and symptoms of a liver problem, a healthcare provider will usually prescribe an ALT test.

Because many people with minor liver damage have no signs or symptoms, ALT may be ordered alone or in combination with other tests for persons who are at an elevated risk for liver disease. With modest liver injury, ALT levels will rise even if there are no other symptoms.

ALT may be ordered on a frequent basis during the course of treatment to establish whether the medication is effective when it is used to monitor the treatment of persons with liver disease.

What does an Alanine Transaminase blood test check for?

Alanine aminotransferase is an enzyme found mostly in liver and kidney cells. It's also found in much lesser concentrations in the heart and muscles. This test determines the amount of ALT in your blood.

The enzyme ALT converts alanine, a protein amino acid, into pyruvate, an important intermediary in cellular energy production. ALT levels in the blood are low in healthy people. ALT is released into the bloodstream when the liver is injured, frequently before more evident indications of liver injury, such as jaundice, appear. As a result, ALT is a useful test for detecting liver disease early on.

The liver is a critical organ positioned directly behind the rib cage on the upper right side of the abdomen. It is engaged in a variety of vital bodily functions. The liver aids in the digestion of nutrients, creates bile to aid in fat digestion, produces a variety of essential proteins such as blood clotting factors and albumin, and breaks down potentially hazardous compounds into safe substances that the body may utilize or discard.

Damage to liver cells can be caused by a variety of factors, resulting in an elevation in ALT. The test is most useful for detecting damage caused by hepatitis or medications or other toxins that are harmful to the liver.

As part of a liver panel, ALT is frequently tested alongside aspartate aminotransferase, another liver enzyme. When the liver is injured, both ALT and AST levels rise, albeit ALT is more specific for the liver and may be the only one to rise in some circumstances. An AST/ALT ratio can be used to help distinguish between different types of liver injury and their severity, as well as to distinguish liver injury from heart or muscle damage.

Lab tests often ordered with an Alanine Transaminase test:

  • AST
  • ALP
  • GGT
  • Bilirubin
  • Liver Panel
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Albumin
  • Total Protein
  • Prothrombin Time
  • Hepatitis Panel General

Conditions where a an Alanine Transaminase test is recommended:

  • Liver Disease
  • Hepatitis
  • Jaundice
  • Cirrhosis
  • Alcoholism
  • Wilson Disease
  • Hemochromatosis

How does my health care provider use an Alanine Transaminase test?

The alanine aminotransferase test is commonly used to diagnose liver damage. It's frequently ordered as part of a liver panel or complete metabolic panel with aspartate aminotransferase to screen for and/or diagnose liver disease.

ALT is an enzyme found mostly in liver and kidney cells. ALT is released into the bloodstream when the liver is injured. As a result, ALT is a useful test for detecting liver disease early on.

Although ALT is more specific to the liver than AST, they are both considered to be two of the most significant tests for detecting liver impairment. When AST is directly compared to ALT, an AST/ALT ratio is calculated. This ratio can assist distinguish between different types of liver disease and identify cardiac or muscle harm.

To assess which type of liver illness is present, ALT values are frequently matched to the results of other tests such as alkaline phosphatase, total protein, and bilirubin.

ALT is frequently requested to monitor the therapy of people with liver disease to evaluate if it is effective, and it can be ordered alone or in combination with other tests.

What do my ALT test results mean?

A low ALT level in the blood is normal and anticipated. The most prevalent cause of ALT levels that are higher than normal is liver disease.

Acute hepatitis and viral infections are the most common causes of very elevated ALT values. ALT levels are normally elevated for 1-2 months after acute hepatitis, but they might take up to 3-6 months to return to normal. ALT levels may also be significantly raised as a result of exposure to liver-toxic medications or other chemicals, or in situations that produce reduced blood flow (ischemia) to the liver.

In chronic hepatitis, ALT levels are frequently less than four times normal. Because ALT levels in this scenario regularly fluctuate between normal and slightly elevated, the test may be ordered frequently to observe if a trend emerges. Other reasons of mild ALT elevations include bile duct obstruction, cirrhosis, heart damage, alcohol addiction, and liver cancers.

ALT is frequently used in conjunction with an AST test or as part of a liver panel. See the Liver Panel article for more information on ALT values in relation to other liver tests.

The ALT level is usually greater than the AST level in most forms of liver disorders, and the AST/ALT ratio is low. There are a few exceptions: in alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and heart or muscle injury, the AST/ALT ratio is frequently more than 1, and it may be greater than 1 for a day or two after the onset of acute hepatitis.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

Description: An antinuclear antibody screening is a blood test that is going to look for a positive or negative result. If the result comes back as positive further test will be done to look for ANA Titer and Pattern. Antinuclear antibodies are associated with Lupus.

Also Known As: ANA Test, ANA Screen IFA with Reflex to Titer and pattern IFA Test, ANA with Reflex Test, Antinuclear Antibody Screen Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

IMPORTANT Reflex Information: If ANA Screen, IFA is positive, then ANA Titer and Pattern will be performed at an additional charge of $13.00

When is an ANA Screen test ordered?

When someone exhibits signs and symptoms of a systemic autoimmune illness, the ANA test is requested. Symptoms of autoimmune illnesses can be vague and non-specific, and they can fluctuate over time, steadily deteriorate, or oscillate between periods of flare-ups and remissions.

What does an ANA Screen blood test check for?

Antinuclear antibodies are a type of antibody produced by the immune system when it is unable to differentiate between its own cells and foreign cells. Autoantibodies are antibodies that attack the body's own healthy cells, causing symptoms like tissue and organ inflammation, joint and muscle discomfort, and weariness. The moniker "antinuclear" comes from the fact that ANA specifically targets chemicals located in a cell's nucleus. The presence of these autoantibodies in the blood is detected by the ANA test.

The presence of ANA may be a sign of an autoimmune process, and it has been linked to a variety of autoimmune illnesses, the most common of which being systemic lupus erythematosus.

One of the most common tests used to detect an autoimmune disorder or rule out other conditions with comparable signs and symptoms is the ANA test. As a result, it's frequently followed by other autoantibody tests that can help establish a diagnosis. An ENA panel, anti-dsDNA, anti-centromere, and/or anti-histone test are examples of these.

Lab tests often ordered with an ANA Screen test:

  • ENA Panel
  • Sed Rate (ESR)
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Complement
  • AMA
  • Centromere antibody
  • Histone Antibody

Conditions where an ANA Screen test is recommended:

  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Sjogren Syndrome
  • Scleroderma

How does my health care provider use an ANA Screen test?

One of the most often performed tests to diagnose systemic lupus erythematosus is the antinuclear antibody test. It serves as the first step in the evaluation process for autoimmune diseases that might impact various body tissues and organs.

When a person's immune system fails to discriminate between their own cells and foreign cells, autoantibodies called ANA are created. They attack chemicals found in a cell's nucleus, causing organ and tissue damage.

ANA testing may be utilized in conjunction with or after other autoantibody tests, depending on a person's indications and symptoms and the suspected condition. Antibodies that target specific compounds within cell nuclei, such as anti-dsDNA, anti-centromere, anti-nucleolar, anti-histone, and anti-RNA antibodies, are detected by some of these tests, which are considered subsets of the general ANA test. In addition, an ENA panel can be utilized as a follow-up to an ANA.

These further tests are performed in addition to a person's clinical history to assist diagnose or rule out other autoimmune conditions such Sjögren syndrome, polymyositis, and scleroderma.

To detect ANA, various laboratories may employ different test procedures. Immunoassay and indirect fluorescent antibody are two typical approaches. The IFA is regarded as the gold standard. Some labs will test for ANA using immunoassay and then employ IFA to confirm positive or equivocal results.

An indirect fluorescent antibody is created by mixing a person's blood sample with cells attached to a slide. Autoantibodies in the blood bind to the cells and cause them to react. A fluorescent antibody reagent is used to treat the slide, which is then inspected under a microscope. The existence of fluorescence is observed, as well as the pattern of fluorescence.

Immunoassays—these procedures are frequently carried out using automated equipment, however they are less sensitive than IFA in identifying ANA.

Other laboratory tests linked to inflammation, such as the erythrocyte sedimentation rate and/or C-reactive protein, can be used to assess a person's risk of SLE or another autoimmune disease.

What do my ANA test results mean?

A positive ANA test indicates the presence of autoantibodies. This shows the presence of an autoimmune disease in someone who has signs and symptoms, but more testing is needed to make a definitive diagnosis.

Because ANA test results can be positive in persons who have no known autoimmune disease, they must be carefully assessed in conjunction with a person's indications and symptoms.

Because an ANA test can become positive before signs and symptoms of an autoimmune disease appear, determining the meaning of a positive ANA in a person who has no symptoms can take some time.

SLE is unlikely to be diagnosed with a negative ANA result. It is normally not required to repeat a negative ANA test right away; however, because autoimmune illnesses are episodic, it may be desirable to repeat the ANA test at a later date if symptoms persist.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) converts Angiotensin I to Angiotensin II. Angiotensin II exerts a negative feedback control of renin release. Angiotensin II, along with direct renin, is useful in the classification of patients with hypertension.

The ATR1 receptor gene polymorphism is associated with increased risk for hypertension and cardiovascular risk. Substantial increase in the c allele frequency was observed among patients with severe hypertension, particularly among individuals carrying dd ACE genotype.

Apolipoprotein A1 (APO A1) has been reported to be a better predictor than HDL cholesterol and triglycerides for Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). Low levels of APO A1 in serum are associated with increased risk of CAD. The measurement of APO A1 may be of value in identifying patients with atherosclerosis.

Description: Apo A1 and B is a blood test that measures that amount of Apolipoprotein A1 and Apolipoprotein B in the blood’s serum along with the ratio between B/A1. This test is used to assess cardiovascular risk. Low levels of APO A1 are associated with Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and are said to predict CAD better then triglycerides and HDL does.

Also Known As: Apo A1 and B Test, Apo A1 Test, Apo B Test, APOAB Test, Apolipoprotein B-100 Test, Apolipoprotein Evaluation Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: Fasting for 12 hours is required.

When are Apolipoprotein A1 and B tests ordered?

Apolipoprotein A-I and B, as well as other lipid tests, may be ordered as part of a screening to identify a person's risk of cardiovascular disease.

Apo A-I is a protein that plays a key function in lipid metabolism and is the most abundant protein in HDL, or "good cholesterol." Excess cholesterol in cells is removed by HDL, which transports it to the liver for recycling or elimination. Apo A-I levels tend to rise and fall with HDL levels, and apo A-I deficits are linked to an increased risk of CVD.

Apo B is a protein that plays a role in lipid metabolism and is the major protein component of lipoproteins including VLDL and LDL, popularly known as "bad cholesterol." Apo B concentrations are similar to LDL-C concentrations.

What does Apolipoprotein A1 and B blood tests check for?

Lipids are transported throughout the bloodstream by apolipoproteins, which mix with them. Lipoproteins are held together by apolipoproteins, which protect the water-repellent lipids at their core.

Lipoproteins are cholesterol or triglyceride-rich proteins that transport lipids throughout the body for cell absorption. HDL, on the other hand, is like an empty cab or taxi. It travels to the tissues to collect excess cholesterol before returning it to the liver. Cholesterol is either recycled for future use or eliminated in bile in the liver. The only mechanism for cells to get rid of excess cholesterol is by HDL reverse transport. It protects the arteries and, if enough HDL is present, it can even reverse the formation of fatty plaques, which are deposits caused by atherosclerosis and can contribute to cardiovascular disease.

Sticking with the taxi analogy, the driver is Apolipoprotein A. It permits HDL to be detected and bound by receptors in the liver at the end of the transport by activating the enzymes that load cholesterol from the tissues into HDL. Apolipoprotein A is divided into two types: apo A-I and apo A-II. Apo A-I has a higher prevalence than apo A-II. Apo A-I concentrations can be evaluated directly, and they tend to rise and fall in tandem with HDL levels. Deficiencies in apo A-I are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Chylomicrons are lipoprotein particles that transport dietary fats from the digestive system to tissue, primarily the liver, via the bloodstream. These dietary lipids are repackaged in the liver and combined with apo B-100 to create triglyceride-rich VLDL. This combo is similar to a taxi with a full load of passengers and apo B-100 as the driver. The taxi moves from place to place in the bloodstream, releasing one passenger at a time.

Triglycerides are removed from VLDL by an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase, which produces intermediate density lipoproteins first, then LDL. VLDL contains one molecule of apo B-100, which is kept as VLDL loses triglycerides and shrinks to become the cholesterol-rich LDL. Apo B-100 is detected by receptors on the surface of many different types of cells in the body. The absorption of cholesterol into cells is aided by these receptors.

LDL and apo B-100 transport cholesterol that is essential for cell membrane integrity, sex hormone generation, and steroid production. Excess LDL, on the other hand, can cause fatty deposits in artery walls, as well as blood vessel hardening and scarring. Atherosclerosis is a condition in which fatty deposits restrict blood arteries. The risk of a heart attack increases as the atherosclerotic process progresses.

LDL-C levels, which are typically ordered as part of a lipid profile, tend to mimic Apo B-100 levels. Many experts believe that apo B levels will eventually show to be a more accurate predictor of CVD risk than LDL-C. Others disagree, believing that vitamin B is only a modestly superior choice and that it should not be used on a regular basis. The clinical utility of apo B, as well as other developing cardiac risk markers including apo A-I, Lp(a), and hs-CRP, is still unknown.

Lab tests often ordered with Apolipoprotein A1 and B tests:

  • Cholesterol Total
  • HDL Cholesterol
  • LDL Cholesterol
  • Triglycerides
  • Lipid Panel
  • Lipoprotein (a)
  • Homocysteine
  • hs-CRP
  • Lipoprotein Fractionation, Ion Mobility

Conditions where Apolipoprotein A1 and B tests are recommended:

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Angina

How does my health care provider use Apolipoprotein A1 and B tests?

An apo B/apo A-I ratio can be determined by ordering both an apo A-I and an apo B test. To assess the risk of developing CVD, this ratio is sometimes used instead of the total cholesterol/HDL ratio.

An apo A-I test may be ordered in the following situations:

Assist in the diagnosis of apo A-I deficiency caused by genetic or acquired diseases.

Assist those with a personal or family history of heart disease, high cholesterol, or triglycerides in their blood.

Keep track of how well lifestyle changes and lipid therapies are working.

An apo A-I test can be ordered in conjunction with an apo B test to determine the apo B/apo A-I ratio. This ratio is occasionally used instead of the total cholesterol/HDL ratio to assess the risk of developing CVD.

As an alternative to non-HDL-C, Apo B levels may be ordered to assess the success of lipid treatment.

An apo B test may be conducted in rare circumstances to assist determine a genetic issue that causes apo B overproduction or underproduction.

What do my Apolipoprotein A1 and B test results mean?

Low apo A-I levels are linked to low HDL levels and slowed elimination of excess cholesterol from the body. Low levels of apo A-I, as well as high levels of apo B, are linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Deficiencies in apo A-I are caused by a number of hereditary diseases. Abnormal lipid levels, notably excessive amounts of low-density lipoprotein, are common in people with certain illnesses. They frequently have a higher rate of atherosclerosis. Low apo A-I levels are caused by several genetic diseases.

Raised apo B levels are linked to elevated LDL-C and non-HDL-C levels, and are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Elevations may be caused by a high-fat diet and/or a reduction in LDL clearance from the blood.

A direct cause of abnormal apo B levels is some hereditary diseases. Familial combined hyperlipidemia, for example, is an inherited condition that causes excessive cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. Apolipoprotein B deficiency, also known as Bassen-Kornzweig syndrome, is a relatively rare hereditary disorder that results in unusually low amounts of apo B.

A variety of underlying diseases and other factors might result in abnormal apo B levels.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

Heart disease is the world's biggest killer. It accounted for 20 million deaths in 2019 alone.

This has shown us more and more just how important heart health is to overall health. If you aren't checking and taking care of your heart health, you could be developing heart disease right now.

The best way to check your heart health is to get heart health tests. These blood tests can detect biomarkers related to heart health.

To learn more about these tests and how you can take care of your heart, keep reading.

What Is Heart Health?

Heart health refers to the physical condition of your heart muscle. The better you take care of your body, the better your heart will be. Better heart health lowers your risk for developing a myriad of heart conditions:

  • Blood vessel diseases like coronary artery disease
  • Infections of the heart muscle
  • Heart valve disease
  • Problems with your heart's rhythm
  • Diseases in your heart muscle

To avoid developing these kinds of conditions, you need to make sure that you're taking care of yourself. This means you need to eat right, exercise often, avoid stress, and see your physician regularly.

Other than these conditions, some patients may also have congenital heart defects. These are conditions that a patient is born with. Most of these congenital conditions are physical heart deformities.

Risk Factors for Poor Heart Health

Since heart conditions are the number one killer of people worldwide, researchers have conducted thousands of studies on the heart. As a result of all of this research, professionals have found a lot of risk factors for poor heart health:

  • Age: your risk for heart-related illnesses rises with age as your heart muscle weakens.
  • Sex: men are at a greater risk for developing heart conditions, although the risk for women increases after menopause.
  • Family History: you're more likely to develop a heart condition if one of your immediate relatives has/had a heart-related diagnosis, especially if they received the diagnosis at a young age.
  • Smoking: smoking restricts your blood vessels, leading to lower blood volume and high blood pressure, which can cause blockages in the arteries (atherosclerosis) and damage the heart over time.
  • Poor Diet: researchers have linked diets with high levels of fat, salt, sugar, and/or cholesterol to heart conditions.
  • Lack of Exercise: your heart is a muscle, and you need to work out so that it can be strong enough to sustain your blood flow.

Although you can't control your family history, age, or biological sex, you can help your heart health in other ways by adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet, exercising more, and avoiding smoking. Your heart will thank you later.

Pre-Existing Conditions That May Impact Heart Health

Some pre-existing conditions are linked to heart conditions. Because these kinds of chronic illnesses are linked, it's important to keep each one under control before it leads to worse things like heart failure.

Let's review some of the most common conditions that can affect your heart health.

Those with the pre-existing condition of hypertension are more likely to develop heart conditions as uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to narrowed blood vessels. If you have hypercholesterolemia (high levels of cholesterol), it can cause plaque formation in the blood vessels that can lead to atherosclerosis

Excess weight can also put unnecessary strain on the heart. So, if you're overweight or obese, the excess weight could be causing slow damage over time.

Because diabetes is tied to risk factors such as obesity and high blood pressure, many scientists have found it to also be related to heart conditions.

Poor dental health is another thing to look out for. Bacteria that cause conditions like endocarditis come in through the mouth, and good dental hygiene is the first defense against them.

Lastly, too much stress can damage your arteries over time due to elevated cortisol levels in the blood.

If you are currently dealing with any of these conditions, make sure that your primary physician knows. With this information, they can take better care of you and watch out for further complications.

If you do happen to develop a heart condition due to any of these conditions, you should listen to your doctor closely. A heart condition doesn't have to be what kills you. There are ways that you can help to reverse the condition and stop it from getting worse.

Causes of Heart Diseases

The causes of heart disease depending on the kind of disease that you have. There are many kinds that a patient can develop.

Let's review the most common causes of each kind of heart disease.

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) develops from a buildup of fatty plaque in the arteries (atherosclerosis).

Abnormal rhythms, also known as arrhythmias, can form as a result of many conditions. These include CAD, diabetes, drug abuse, chronic stress, valvular disease, medications or supplements, high blood pressure, smoking, excessive alcohol or caffeine, and congenital defects.

Cardiomyopathy, the thickening of the heart muscle, can form from a widened left ventricle (dilated cardiomyopathy), reduced elasticity of the heart muscle (restrictive cardiomyopathy), or a genetic predisposition (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy).

Heart infection can develop after exposure to certain bacteria, viruses, or parasites.

Valvular heart conditions can be congenital. However, some people develop them after rheumatic diseases, infections, or connective tissue disorders.

Lastly, congenital heart conditions can develop due to genetics, medications that the mother took, or maternal health conditions.

Your heart is one of the most vital organs in your body. Because it is connected to so many systemic conditions, there are many risk factors and causes that you need to keep in mind as you're making daily life choices. 

If you fear that you're at risk for developing one or more of these conditions, you should talk to your healthcare provider.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Heart Diseases?

It's difficult to pin down a cardiac patient. Some presentations may be obvious such as those where a patient is clutching their chest. However, others aren't so obvious, like those where a patient is complaining of nausea.

Because of the close proximity and how the heart works, signs or symptoms of heart diseases can form all over the body. Here are some of the most common:

  • Chest pain, tightness, pressure, and/or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper back, or upper abdomen
  • Pain, numbness, or weakness in your arms and/or legs
  • A fluttering feeling in your chest
  • A fast or slow heart rate
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Pale gray or blue skin color
  • Easily tiring during exercise or other physical activity
  • Easily becoming short of breath during exercise or other physical activity
  • Swelling in the legs, ankles, and/or feet
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Generalized weakness
  • Persistent dry cough
  • Skin rashes

The signs of symptoms of heart conditions exist all over the entire body. Because of all of these manifestations, it's important to get your heart health checked often. A small rash could be a cry for help from your heart.

How Is Heart Health Measured?

There are three main ways that healthcare providers check your heart health at a checkup:

  1. Heart rate
  2. Blood pressure
  3. Lab work

First is your heart rate. Your heartbeat shouldn't be too fast or too slow. The rate that it beats tells the physician how often your heart is pumping blood out to the rest of your body.

Next is your blood pressure. This tells the physician how much pressure the blood in your body is putting on the walls of your arteries. Systolic blood pressure (the top number) tells them how much pressure is in your arteries when your heart squeezes, while diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) tells them the pressure when your heart relaxes.

Finally, physicians will order lab tests to check your heart health along with the health of systems related to your heart.

The Lab Tests to Screen, Diagnose, and Monitor for One's Heart Health

Since your heart affects your entire body, there are plenty of blood tests to check heart health. Our advanced, comprehensive heart health tests look at the following biomarkers:

  • Lp-PLA2 - inflammation marker specific to the heart
  • Lipoprotein (a) - a risk factor for developing heart disease
  • Apolipoprotein A1 - a protein that plays a role in lipid metabolism
  • Apolipoprotein B - a protein that is involved in lipid metabolism
  • MTHFR Mutation - tests for the potential for cardiac enzymes to mutate
  • Hs-CRP - finds lower levels of general inflammation in the body
  • LDL Cholesterol - the "bad" cholesterol that we want low levels of
  • Lipid Panel - looks for abnormalities in lipid levels
  • Fibrinogen - looks for acute inflammation or tissue damage
  • Homocysteine - signals vitamin deficiencies in the body
  • Complete Blood Count - reviews levels of blood cells
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel - covers electrolytes and organ function
  • BNP - a hormone produced by your heart
  • Lactate dehydrogenase - an enzyme involved in energy production
  • Cystatin C w/ eGFR - checks for normal kidney function
  • Hemoglobin A1C - a measurement of your average blood sugar over the past few months
  • Insulin - the amount of glucose-suppressing hormone you have in your body
  • Lipoprotein fractionation - a measurement of the lipids in the body
  • Myeloperoxidase Antibody (MPO) - an antibody associated with a higher risk for cardiac problems
  • Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids - a healthy source of energy for the body
  • Vitamin D-25-Hydroxy - measurement of the amount of Vitamin D in the body

With the results of all of these heart health lab tests, you'll be able to tell whether or not you currently have or maybe are developing any heart conditions.

Remember, getting this kind of lab work early can help improve your prognosis or future outcome. If you can catch the damage early, you can prevent further damage and even reverse the damage that's been done.

Get Your Heart Health Tests With Ulta Lab Tests

So, what are you waiting for? Your heart is one of the most important organs in your body. It works 24/7 for you.

You need to take care of it.

Ulta Lab Tests offers tests that are highly accurate and reliable, so you can make informed decisions about your health.

  • Secure and confidential results
  • No insurance referral is needed
  • Affordable pricing
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee

Order your heart health tests today, and your results will be provided to you securely and confidentially online in 24 to 48 hours for most tests.

Take control of your health today with Ulta Lab Tests.