If you think that a routine lipid screening will be enough to accurately predict your heart attack risk level, think again.  While it’s true that getting your cholesterol levels checked does a play an important part in your risk assessment, it does not give you the complete picture.

In truth, almost 50% of those who suffer a heart attack or stroke have ‘normal’ cholesterol levels.  New evidence suggests that it is not the lipids, but the inflammation within your artery walls that is the main factor when it comes to risk for heart attack and stroke.

Vulnerable Plaque

The vulnerable plaque in your arteries causes heart attack and stroke.  The inflammation in the arteries actually contributes to the formation of this vulnerable plaque; the inflammation can even cause the plaque to rupture.

With advanced testing, doctors can now measure that inflammation and assess your risk of heart attack. These tests can actually see the state of inflammation in your arteries, as pictured in the chart below.

MD Heartpro - Artery Wall

Copyright Cleveland Heart Lab. Used with express permission.

In Part 2 of this post, we will look at the research and science behind testing for inflammation markers.

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