Blood tests for heart disease

Blood tests

Blood tests for heart disease

Your blood will say a lot about how healthy your heart is. High levels of “bad” cholesterol in your blood, for example, may indicate that you’re at a higher risk of getting a heart attack. Some compounds in your blood will help your doctor figure out whether you have heart disease or are at risk for fatty deposits (plaques) in your arteries (atherosclerosis).

It’s crucial to note that a single blood test won’t tell you whether you’re at risk for heart failure or not. The most important risk factors for heart disease are smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Here’s a look at some of the blood tests doctors use to diagnose and manage heart disease.

Cholesterol test

A cholesterol test, also called a lipid panel or lipid profile, measures the fats in your blood. The measurements can show your risk of having a heart attack or other heart disease. The test typically includes measurements of:

  • Total cholesterol.This is the amount of your blood’s cholesterol content. A high level can increase your risk of heart disease.

Ideally, your total cholesterol should be below 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L).

  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.This is sometimes called the “bad” cholesterol. Too much LDL cholesterol in your blood causes plaque to buildup in your arteries, which reduces blood flow. These plaque deposits sometimes rupture and lead to major heart and blood vessel problems.

Your LDL cholesterol level should be less than 130 mg/dL. Desirable levels are under 100 mg/dL, especially if you have diabetes or a history of heart attack, a heart stent, heart bypass surgery, or other heart or vascular condition. In people with the highest risk of heart attacks, the recommended LDL level is below 70 mg/dL (1.8 mmol/L).

  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.This is sometimes called the “good” cholesterol because it helps carry away LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, keeping arteries open and your blood flowing more freely.

If you’re a man, your HDL cholesterol level should be over 40 mg/dL (1.0 mmol/L). Women should aim for an HDL over 50 mg/dL.

  • Triglycerides are another type of fat in the blood. High triglyceride levels usually mean you regularly eat more calories than you burn. High levels can increase your risk of heart disease.

Your triglyceride level should be less than 150 mg/dL.

  • Non-HDL cholesterol.Non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-C) is the difference between total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. Non-HDL-C includes cholesterol in lipoprotein particles that are involved in hardening of the arteries. Non-HDL-C fraction may be a better marker of risk than total cholesterol or LDL cholesterol.


Call +94 11 4504 663 to book an appointment for a blood test

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