A Divide Over In-Depth Tests for Cholesterol?

by on March 4th, 2011
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Is There A Divide Over In-Depth Tests For Cholesterol?

In an article from the Associated Press in the News & Messenger Serving Prince William, Manassas & Manassas Park, Virginia, for heart health, you’re supposed to know your numbers: Total cholesterol, the bad LDL kind and the good HDL kind. It’s possible your next cholesterol checkup might add a new number to the mix.

Some Dr.’s Are Going Beyond The Standard Cholesterol Counts:

Did you know more doctors are going beyond the standard cholesterol counts? Some doctors are using another test to take a closer look at the bad fats…a count of particles that carry LDL through the blood.

Cardiologists are divided over the usefulness of that approach. Proponents contend it might help them spot at-risk patients that regular checks might miss, or get more information about how to treat them.

To date, guidelines from major heart organizations do not recommend the extra tests. These tests are more pricier than the regular cholesterol exams, although Medicare and many other insurers pay for them.

People Being Confused Over This Issue:

Dr. Nieca Goldberg of New York University Langone Medical Center and the American Heart Association indicated, seeing a lot of people being confused over the issue, especially when they’re used on lower-risk patients…you don’t know how to make sense of the information.

Half of the patients diagnosed with heart disease apparently had normal levels of LDL cholesterol, and some doctors say particle testing could find some of them sooner.

Dr. Michael Davidson of the University of Chicago stated, “For most people, the standard lipid profile is fine.” but, “I get referred people who said, ‘My cholesterol was fine, why do I have heart disease?’ We’re showing them, well, because your particle number’s sky high and they were not aware that was a problem.

Davidson who chaired a committee of the National Lipid Association which this month called the extra tests reasonable to assess which at-risk patients might need to start or intensify cholesterol treatment. This committee’s meeting was paid for by a grant from eight pharmaceutical companies, including some makers of particle tests.

Cholesterol Is Not The Only Factor Behind Heart Disease:

Cholesterol is not the only factor behind heart disease. Smoking, obesity, high-blood pressure, diabetes or a strong family history of the disease can put someone in the higher-risk category.

References:
News & Messenger Serving Prince William, Manassas & Manassas Park, Virginia, Associated Press Report


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