How to Assess Your Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke

Male aged 54, 5'10, 158 lbs, body fat 19.9%. Triple bypass March 2015. Became a pesco-vegetarian (still have dairy) in February 2016. Shed 35 lbs from date of surgery to present. Exercise daily for one hour.

Off all meds.

I've learned a great deal about CVD since my surgery and here are some things everybody should do whenever they get a blood test. In addition to the traditional lipid profile, ask for the following blood tests:

MPO (Myeloperoxidase) - provides level of vascular inflammation which determines risk level for heart attack and stroke;

high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) test - provides level of general inflammation in the body - a good predictor of a future cardiac event and other diseases.

hbAIC - 3 month average blood glucose level - usually done to determine diabetes, but identifying glucose levels is key to reducing inflammation in the body.

Other non-invasive test:

Brachial Artery responsiveness test - to get your FMD% score - this measures the elasticity of your brachial artery (the major artery in your arm) by cutting off the blood supply for 5 minutes then releasing to see rapidity of blood flow and endothelial response and dilation. A device called the 'angiodefender' is now in use in a clinical setting - takes 20 minutes and uses a blood pressure cuff connected to a computer. Check the link below for more information. In Canada, this test cost me $175 CAD. everisthealth.com/angio-def...

Also have your body fat measured correctly. I went to a company that uses a machine called the bod-pod bodyknow.ca/ I'm sure the machine is available in other parts of the world.

Once you have your numbers, you then have a baseline or reference point to measure changes in the future. 'What gets measured gets done' is an old axiom - it provides an incentive to improve.

With all of these tests, you will get a more complete picture of your cardiac health than just relying on the standard lipid-profile blood test. An angiogram will give the best picture but it is invasive and has risks.

14 Replies

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  • Or, instead of using numbers you could have a CT scan that hopefully will reveal, like mine, that you have zero calcification.

    I eat meat, fish, poultry, game, seafood, natural fat, vegetables, and carbs that don't spike IGF-1, avoiding processed food and additives.

  • I prefer not to have unnecessary exposure to radiation. I will over time re-introduce some meats in my diet but on an infrequent basis and assess the impact on my blood chemistry.

    Although you may not have calcification, low-grade inflammation may also be the source of cancer, dementia, arthritis, and other ailments.

    The National Geographic identified 'blue zones' where longevity is common, have something in common, a diet that minimizes the consumption of meat, other than fish.

    Whatever works for you, I thought I would share my experience as my doctor had said my CVD was genetic. Clearly with the lifestyle changes, it doesn't appear as though it was.

  • Unfortunately - for me I have received not so good a calcium score number as you. Good news or bad news for me? -- good news in the sense that I have had a serious warning to correct my ways. Bad in the sense that, as I am now fitter than I have ever been for the past 50 years or so, it has been an "unexpected" discovery.

  • I guess a lot will depend on where you live. I don't think that tests you mention are routinely available in the UK.

  • True Health Labs sell them online

  • I don't think it is an issue of availability, other than the brachial artery responsiveness test. All of the blood tests I mentioned should be available everywhere, especially in an advanced nation like the U.K. What they are not is 'routine'. Here in Canada, only the lipid profile is routine for CVD screening, the rest I had to request after I learned about them on my own from reading medical journals.

  • Interested in your exercise regime. 60 minutes each day. I note that most Governmental authorities worldwide recommend at a minimum 150 minutes of "moderate" activity ( think walking) or 75 minutes of "vigorous" activity ( think running/jogging) each week and lately they have increased those number twofold. I currently get around 200 minutes of vigorous jogging/running exercise each week - covered over around 5 days per week - running requires some rest days.

  • I discount everything the government says, so let's drop their guidelines.

    Every other day, I do 30 minutes of resistance training with weights - 2 sets of 6 upper and lower body exercises. Followed immediately by 30 minutes of high intensity interval training (HIIT) on a treadmill. This involves a 2 minute warm up at 4 mph, followed by 90 seconds at 8 miles per hour, then 90 seconds at 4 mph, repeat 4 that times. Then 30 second sprint at 9.1 mph, rest 30 seconds, then sprint at 9.2 mph for 30 seconds. Sprint, rest, sprint rest 10 times from 9.1 mph until I get to 10 mph. Then cool down for 3 minutes. Sometimes the rest period between sprints is up to 45 seconds as you have to let your heart rate get back down to 130 bpm.

    On off days I simply walk an hour spread over 2-3 walks.

    There's such a thing known as 'over-training'. There is a point of diminishing marginal returns as you increase frequency and intensity of training. I know a guy who needed a bypass even though he ran daily. It's not unusual for extreme athletes to die, of CVD.

    You may wish to get some professional advice on the frequency, duration and intensity of your current exercise program. You may be doing more harm than good.

  • Ken Cooper found that we only need to train 12 minutes @ an heart rate of 150+ beats per minute, or 20 minutes @ 140+ bpm, or 45 minutes @ 130+ bpm to stimulate a fitness response. Circadian rhythm then necessitates we allow at least a further 24.2 hours for that adaptation to take place.

    People that train every day at the same time and/or exceed those training levels for instance will be impairing their recovery and immune systems.

  • Once one had a heart problem then there is no risk analysis! there is no man made calculation. Bit weight to height ratio still works as the wait is the only one variable.

    We can go for a lot of other investigations to identify heart and stoke issues.

    Enjoy one life with food and drinks intake control and regular exercise. for measuring heart rate the gym equipment measurements are not very accurate apart from the time!, this is what I found in our local gym, the management are not intrusted in fixing this issue. Simple answer is get your own device.

    Racking the garden at this time of the year and snow shovelling in a good indicator of our heart issues, that is if we can do this depending upon the age.

  • You should do a PLAC test (Lp-PLA2) and VAP test to include VLDL, particles etc

  • Enjoy one life, investigation will take us to concentration and confusion. Do our NHS, GPs understand all this?

    Regular exercise and food and drinks intake control can help us towards a healthy life.

  • I have AVG. Your link: everisthealth.com/angio-def... lead straight away to a virus. Luckily I avoided it

  • Sorry, but all I did is copy and paste a URL. You can Google the company yourself. Sometimes anti-virus software is too sensitive and interprets a legitimate site incorrectly.

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