Although most heart attacks involve chest pain or discomfort, some occur without these symptoms. In addition, milder chest discomfort and other heart attack symptoms such as dizziness or shortness of breath may not readily signal a heart attack to the patient, or even the doctor.
Previous research in the US and elsewhere has suggested that anywhere from 20% to 40% of heart attacks may go undetected. But these estimates are based on patients who had heart attacks prior to the late 1980s, according to the authors of the new report, led by Lori L. Boland of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
First of all, please understand that a total cholesterol level is very close to meaningless unless it is above 300. I have seen a number of people over 250 who actually were at low heart disease risk due to their HDL levels. Conversely, I have seen even more who had cholesterol levels under 200 that were at a very high risk of heart disease based on the following additional tests.
A fasting blood sugar level test is the simplest and least expensive. One used to have a blood sugar level greater than 140 to be diagnosed with diabetes. That has now been reduced to 126. Anyone with a level between 110 and 125 is considered pre-diabetic. Earlier this year, however, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation announced they use a fasting blood sugar of 90 mg/dl or higher as a biomarker of coronary heart disease risk.
Fasting Insulin level should be below 10 for certain, but an better level is below 5 and ideal level is below 2.
Iron can have a devastating effect on your body. It is a major contributing factor for disease and can easily be screened for with a ferritin level and total iron binding capacity.
Homocysteine levels should be below 8 (Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Jan;77(1):63-70)
Lipoprotein a [Lp (a)]: Acceptable levels per dl of blood would be <10 mg. 11-24 md/dl are borderline high; >25 are very high. If your Lp (a) levels are over 10, you need to take action at once.
Nearly five years ago I posted information from a JAMA article that is relevant today. The following are four additional blood tests that have been reported to help determine your risk for a hear attack.
1. An elevated C-reactive Protein (CRP) was a risk. CRP is elevated when there is inflammation going on somewhere in the body.
2. An increased white blood cell count (WBC) was also a risk. A WBC count greater than 8.5 was found to be the cutoff.
3. Decreased albumin levels were also a factor that could indicate a relative protein deficiency and excess of carbohydrates.
4. Elevated fibrinogen levels, which indicates an increased tendency towards clotting.