By Michael A. Smith, MD
For instance, the size and density of lipoproteins are important factors for assessing cardiovascular risk. Large, buoyant LDL (bad cholesterol) is much less dangerous than smaller, dense LDL particles. Likewise, large HDL (good cholesterol) offers greater protection than smaller HDL.
The problem is that the standard cholesterol test that your doctor orders doesn’t include cholesterol subtypes and doesn’t characterize the size and shape of the lipoproteins. For this reason, if you really want to assess your risk for heart disease, you should consider an advanced cholesterol test called the VAP test.
What’s the VAP Test?The VAP test is an advanced cholesterol test that more accurately assesses your risk for atherosclerosis. VAP stands for Vertical Auto Profile because it gives you a nice vertical display of all the cholesterol and lipoprotein subtypes.
The power of the test can be best demonstrated with a sample case study: Jim is 42 years old and has no significant history of heart disease. His blood pressure, weight, and fasting blood sugar are all optimal.
Jim’s dad suffered a heart attack at age 59. During a routine check-up, Jim’s doctor ordered a basic cholesterol test. Here are the results that came back:
- Total cholesterol = 210
- LDL-cholesterol = 110
- HDL-cholesterol = 45
- Triglycerides = 120
Two months later, Jim suffers a mild heart attack. Luckily, he’s okay — but what did his doctor miss?
Why VAP Test Results are a Better Measure of Atherosclerosis RiskAfter leaving the hospital, Jim went to a second doctor who ordered a VAP test. Listed below are three of Jim’s additional measurements that are dangerously abnormal. See, the standard cholesterol test didn’t measure these and inaccurately assessed Jim’s risk as low when his risk is actually moderate-to-high.
- Total Cholesterol = 235
- Direct LDL-cholesterol = 135
- Direct HDL-cholesterol = 40
- Direct triglycerides = 130
- Lipoprotein (a) = 40
- ApoB100 = 140
The last two measurements listed are only included with a VAP test. These measure highly atherogenic proteins, which means they’re directly involved in arterial plaque formation and progression. Jim’s results are extremely high and dangerous. This could be why he suffered a mild heart attack.
What Does the VAP Test Measure?The table below lists each component of the VAP test and the clinical significance of each measurement. The information was provided by Atherotech®, the company that Life Extension® uses for all of our VAP testing services:
|A direct measurement of the “bad” cholesterol throughout your body. (The standard cholesterol test only provides an estimate.) The higher the number the greater the risk of heart disease.|
|A direct measurement of the “good” cholesterol. The higher the number the lower the risk of heart disease.|
(Very Low-Density Lipoprotein)
|A direct measurement of the “bad” cholesterol. The higher the number the greater the risk for heart disease and diabetes.|
|Total VLDL-3||An independent risk factor of heart disease.|
|Sum Total Cholesterol||HDL + LDL + VLDL. Used to help further assess risk of heart disease.|
(fats in bloodstream)
|A direct measurement of fats in your blood. The higher the number the greater the risk of heart disease and may be related to simple sugar intake.|
|Total Non-HDL Cholesterol||LDL + VLDL. The higher the number the greater the risk of heart disease.|
|This special protein helps to create and deliver “bad” cholesterol to the body. Knowing this number adds validity to the VAP test risk assessment.|
|A highly atherogenic (plaque-causing) protein that is inherited. It does not respond to traditional cholesterol lowering strategies.|
|Inherited and elevated in people with a family history if diabetes.|
|LDL-R (Real) Cholesterol||The real amount of circulating “bad” cholesterol.|
|Sum Total LDL-Cholesterol||Lp(a) + IDL + Real LDL.|
|LDL-Cholesterol Size & Pattern||Measures the size and the pattern of “bad” cholesterol. Small & dense are risk factors of heart disease while large & buoyant are protective.|
|Total HDL-2||The most protective form of “good” cholesterol. A low number is a risk factor of heart disease.|
|Total HDL-3||Not as protective as HDL-2.|
What’s Your Real Level of Cardiovascular Risk?Do you know what you Lp(a) is? What about your ApoB100? Our friend Jim didn’t know either and he thought his “cholesterol” was okay.
If you don’t want this to happen to you, consider getting a VAP test today. It really is a much better measure of your overall risk. You can either order one through your doctor or from the Life Extension blood testing service.
Share | |