Diagnosing Heart Problems Through Blood Tests

Heart is one of the most crucial organs in the human body. It pumps blood to other body parts, to ensure their normal functioning. Conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity can cause heart disease. All these conditions are considered risk factors for heart disease. Several blood tests help to detect heart problems in the very early stages of the disease and help you to receive the timely medical treatment. Blood tests help you to take certain steps towards achieving good health by being informed.

Lipid Profile Test

The lipid profile test, also known as lipid profile or cholesterol test, is used to measure the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. The test measures total cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides. Higher levels of cholesterol and triglycerides indicate a greater risk of developing heart disease. Depending on your age, sex, and other risk factors, doctors advise this blood test.

Homocysteine Test

The homocysteine test measures the amount of homocysteine in our blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid that is present in small quantities in the blood. The reason for this is that the homocysteine formed in our body is continually broken down by the vitamins B6, B9 & B12, into other essential substances. Due to some abnormalities, if this process of breakdown of homocysteine does not occur properly, it gets built up in the body. Higher levels of homocysteine is considered a risk factor for heart disease. This blood test is usually advised for people with a family history of heart disease or those with other risk factors.

BNP Test

The BNP test is one of the easiest ways to detect, monitor, and prevent chronic heart failure. This blood test measures the amount of BNP (B-type natriuretic peptide-BNP), a type of protein hormone in our blood. The heart secretes natriuretic peptides to relax the blood vessels, stabilize the blood pressure, plasma levels and prevent excess water and salt retention in our body. The heart secretes a larger amount of BNP, in response to increased pressure for a longer period. Elevated levels of BNP indicate heart failure, along with many other conditions such as lung, liver, and kidney diseases. So, doctors always recommend an echocardiogram (test) to confirm the diagnosis of heart failure.

C-reactive Protein Test

The C-reactive protein (CRP) test measures the amount of CRP in your blood. CRP is a protein made by the liver in our body. It is usually present in low levels in the blood. While a higher amount of CRP is released by the liver, in response to any infection or inflammation in the body. It also presents the risk factors for heart disease, heart attack (Myocardial Infarction, MI) or peripheral arterial disease. Elevated CRP levels have been linked to a higher likelihood of developing heart attack, according to scientific studies.

Blood Glucose Test

The blood glucose test, also known as the fasting blood sugar test, measures the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood after an overnight fast. High blood sugar is a risk factor for heart disease, especially in elderly people. The test is used to detect diabetes and to monitor blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Research studies have shown that the blood sugar levels in our body control the contraction of the blood vessels. So, increased levels of blood sugar in our body causes dangerous effects on the blood pressure and heart.

Crucial role of Blood tests

Blood tests play an important role in the early detection and prevention of heart diseases. Routine blood tests such as the lipid profile and blood glucose tests can identify risk factors for heart diseases such as high cholesterol and high blood sugar. Specialized blood tests such as BNP and homocysteine tests can help in the diagnosis and management of heart problems. If you’re predisposed to, or have relatives with a heart problem, speak to your doctor regarding essential blood tests for evaluating the risk posed by heart condition. This helps you to get ahead of heart issues before they become more severe problems, resulting in less risk for serious heart complications and a healthier lifestyle.

Regular monitoring of your health is advisable to prevent unexpected medical emergencies. Book your blood tests today at AMPATH, to determine whether you’re at risk of heart disease.