The standard lipid panel is outdated as we have better tests such as the Quest Diagnostic's CardioIQ Advanced Lipid panel or Labcorp's NMR LipoProfile. These tests provide much more information about one's lipoproteins including size and number and other tests such as Lipoprotein (a) and Apolipoprotein B. Two patients may have the exact same numbers on their standard lipid panel (HDL, LDL, Triglycerides, Total Cholesterol) but have very different cardiovascular risk of heart attack and stroke. Advanced lipid panels clarify the risk much more accurately. I routinely order these tests on appropriate patients.
A test that I have been doing since the 1990s is a Coronary Artery Calcium Score (CCS). This is a CT scan that focuses on the heart only and is timed to an EKG as the heart is always moving. This test will give a report of the amount of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries as a numerical value. A score of zero is no calcium and higher numbers correlate with increasing amounts of calcium. There are no false positives; meaning if you have calcium, you have some level of plaque build up. Very high levels give immediate concern as it indicates extensive coronary artery disease and risk of heart attack. This can enable a patient to implement more effective measures to reverse or stabilize the condition and prevent angina and heart attacks. I have many tools that I use with patients with success.
Many patients will go to Tristan Associates for the CCS. It is a self paid test and costs $150. It used to cost many times this so this is a reasonable price. It takes only minutes to do and can be scheduled through Pinnacle. It requires a doctor's prescription. (see their link: Coronary Calcium Scoring)
Besides Cholesterol lowering supplements, hormones, diet, and IV therapies (EDTA Chelation Therapy A Non-surgical Treatment for Heart Disease and Atherosclerosis) being used for CAD prevention or reversal, I want to mention an often forgotten nutrient in reversing calcium build up: Vitamin K. There are three different forms of Vitamin K. (see Thorne Research Vitamin 3 K Complete)
Vitamin K plays a vital role in preventing calcium buildup in arteries and other places. Atherosclerotic plaque (blockages in arteries) becomes calcified and causes fixes narrowing of arteries. Supplementing with Vitamin K may help reverse clogged arteries and coronary artery disease. For more information, please see these links on PubMed:
- Vitamin K status and vascular calcification: evidence from observational and clinical studies.
- The role of vitamin K in vascular calcification of patients with chronic kidney disease.
- Matrix Gla protein as natural inhibitor of vascular calcification and potential treatment target
BUY recommended Vitamin K products: