Laboratory tests will help to detect hidden threats to the heart and blood vessels at the initial stages. Elena Gorina, general practitioner, expert at the Gemotest laboratory, told Izvestia about them.
“Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Russia and around the world. The problem was further exacerbated by the new coronavirus infection: it provoked and aggravated the course of many diseases. In modern laboratories, a person can undergo in-depth diagnostics to search for early hidden disorders that lead to cardiovascular disasters – heart attacks and strokes, ”the specialist explained.
So, a blood test for troponin I helps to detect heart problems even in the absence of complaints. This protein is found in the heart muscle – the myocardium. Troponin I increases in the blood during inflammation, muscle overload, and also when part of it dies.
“Usually blood levels of troponin I are measured to confirm a patient has a myocardial infarction. Today, however, modern laboratories can perform highly sensitive tests that detect even a slight increase in protein levels in the blood. This makes it possible to detect myocardial damage when nothing bothers the patient, ”Gorina specified.
The second in-depth study is the atherogenic index. It is used to analyze the ratio of fractions of cholesterol in the blood – bad to good. An increased concentration of bad cholesterol in the composition of low and very low density lipoproteins leads to the formation of plaques on the walls of blood vessels.
This disease is called atherosclerosis, and it threatens to disrupt the blood supply in any part of the body due to a sharp narrowing of the damaged vessels. If the pathology is in the vessels of the heart and brain, a person can experience a heart attack and a stroke, respectively. In addition, plaques tend to fragment, and then their parts are carried with the bloodstream, clogging the vessels of a smaller caliber.
Another substance that can pose a threat to the health of blood vessels is homocysteine. At an increased concentration in the blood, this amino acid damages the walls of blood vessels, which causes more cholesterol to settle on them. Another negative consequence of elevated homocysteine is the risk of thrombosis.
A standard question at an appointment with a cardiologist is to identify a family history, that is, diseases of relatives, but few people have this information.
“To find out all about the risks hidden in the genes, you can take a DNA test once in a lifetime for a predisposition to cardiovascular diseases. Also, this genetic study is recommended if the patient or his immediate family has an elevated level of cholesterol in the blood. The results of these analyzes will help develop examination tactics and preventive measures to prevent diseases, ”the doctor said.
According to her, cardiovascular diseases are insidious, because they are asymptomatic for a long time. However, with the high level of modern medical diagnostics, it is extremely reckless to think about health only when complaints appear, Gorina concluded.
Philip Paleev, a cardiologist, spoke about the non-obvious signs of heart problems. So, this can be indicated by fatigue during the usual physical exertion, the appearance of edema in the legs, as well as the so-called shop window disease.