Strokes and heart disease are two of the main under takers in United States. Heart disease is the single-leading cause of death in the United States, executing almost 500,000 Americans every year. Stroke is the third-leading cause of death. About 700,000 Americans have a stroke each year.
Recognizing the risk of patients earlier is the best way to put off a cardiovascular event. Unfortunately for many patients, however, their first signal of heart disease or stroke also may be their last. Around 50 percent of men and 64 percent of women who die suddenly of heart attacks have no previous warning signs, such as increased cholesterol. In addition, there was previously no simple blood test for stroke risk. As a result, researchers have looked for other factors that might expose the risk for future heart attack or stroke.
Precaution If Risk Occurs
The research has included Lp-PLA2 (lipoprotein-associated phospholipase (A2), an enzyme associated with the formation of plaque, or fat deposits in the artery wall. Lp-PLA2 is carried to artery walls by low-density lipoprotein, where the enzyme can start an inflammatory response, making the plaque horizontal to rupture. Scientists now know that clot formation caused by plaque rupture is the main cause of heart attack and stroke. Elevated Lp-PLA2 doubles a person’s possibility of heart attack or stroke.
The good news for doctors and patients is that a low-cost blood test now is available to measure Lp-PLA2. The PLAC test from diaDexus has been passes by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an aid in detecting risk for heart disease, and is the first test approved by the FDA to spot out stroke risk. Once a person is identified as being at high risk, there are a number of lifestyle and therapeutic interventions a doctor can prescribe to decrease that risk.