Heart Disease Test
Heart disease remains a leading cause of illness and death across the world. We may be more informed about the dangers, and the lifestyle choices at the core, but the death tolls are still high. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that one in four deaths in the US is now linked to the disease.
This shocking figure shows the need for better care, prevention, and screening methods. The good news is that researchers have developed a new blood test. This test has the aim of detecting heart disease in patients exhibiting symptoms.
This test is all about catching the early signs of a problem and indicating the risk in patients. Preventative measures in heart care are vital for keeping heart disease, and other conditions, under control. The earlier that doctors catch these signs, the faster they can respond. Furthermore, there is the chance that these red flags could lead to a change in lifestyle that stops the problem from getting worse.
Blood Tests Are An Important Part Of Heart Disease Monitoring And Prevention
There are many ways of testing for signs of heart disease at the moment. Many are rather invasive, such as ECG recordings, Echocardiograms and Holter monitors. Patients must wear the holster device for as much as 24 hours for an effective reading.
The Echocardiogram is quicker but still requires an ultrasound device. Some doctors may also choose to use CT or MRI scanners for images of the cardiovascular area. This is an unpleasant experience. Blood tests are a quick, simple procedure carried out by a family doctor. The best can pick up signs of illness and the need for further action. The problem is that the current cholesterol test is not as effective as it could be.
What Is Different About This New Test? What Signs Are Doctors Able To Uncover Here?
This new blood test measures the response of the immune system to inflammation. Inflammation is often linked to heart disease, but it is an area overlooked for other symptoms. The idea here is that the results would create an indicator for the level of risk within a patient.
Those with high results and a risk factor deemed to be high would then be closely monitored. This is a new approach for healthcare officials. Previously, cardiologists and immunologists had little to do with each other. Now it seems that they need to start swapping notes a little more often.
How Was This New Test Developed?
Researchers carried out a nine-year study out on a small test group. None of the subjects were previously diagnosed with heart disease before taking part. The test involved a flu shot, not the standard tool for testing heart health. 90 people, 60 over the age of 60 and 30 under the age of 40, received the vaccination and had their responses tested.
The test looked for markers of inflammation via immunology. The tests produced a reading and a clear indication of which patients were at risk. There was also a clear correlation between inflammation and age. As the immune system weakens with age, and patients respond differently to the vaccine, levels of inflammation increase.
Why Is This Sign Of Inflammation So Important When Testing For Signs Of The Risk Of Heart Disease?
It is all about the white blood cells within the immune system. At their peak, there are plenty of these cells to release cytokines. These cytokines are the catalysts for the immune system, a signal that it needs to work harder to defend the body. The system produces STAT proteins to enhance productivity in the immune system.
Separate studies have shown that younger patients are much better at producing these proteins in the presence of cytokines than older patients. However, the levels of STAT proteins in older patients were already higher before this stimulation. Therefore, something is causing chronic stimulation.
This is the chronic inflammation, that important signal of heart disease. This helps to explain the results of the tests with the flu shots. That is why there is a powerful link between cardiology and immunology. Without a good cardiovascular system pumping plenty of white blood cells, these cytokines can’t work so effectively.
This Test Is Quite The Breakthrough Due To Its Accuracy And Potential
The astonishing thing about this blood test was not just the accuracy of the readings, but its performance against other means of testing. They took cytokine response scores for patients over time and saw direct links between the scores and the signs of atherosclerosis and abnormal heart rhythms.
Over time, they found that the new test was more reliable as a prediction tool than the CRP test of cholesterol testing. This is great news considering the poor effectiveness rating of the cholesterol test.
Potential Benefits To This New Blood Test For Heart Disease, So Why Aren’t Patients Receiving It Yet?
At the moment, the test is not yet ready for general use. The cytokine response score is a little too complex for general health care. However, there is no logic why they shouldn’t simplify it with time. The basics are in place with the fundamental science at work.
Also, the test results have shown that there is a clear advantage to improving the system. It just requires a little thought and refinement before use on a clinical and commercial scale. Even so, the developers are optimistic about its chances. They are sure that the simplicity and accuracy will attract developers and companies open to licensing it.
That is the next step with this blood test: further development of the procedure and more research into its potential. There are now hopes that this new partnership in the world of immunology and cardiology could open doors for the prevention of other diseases.
As this chronic inflammation is a clear signifier in older patients, perhaps there is the chance for testing for other age-related conditions. For now, we can just be glad that preventative testing for heart disease is improving. With time, this breakthrough may save countless lives.Tags: Blood Tests, Heart Disease