Inflammation (swelling) of the arteries is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease. To see if your arteries are inflamed as a result of atherosclerosis, doctors can test your blood for C-reactive protein (CRP). The body produces CRP during the general process of inflammation. Therefore, CRP is a “marker” for inflammation, meaning its presence indicates an increased state of inflammation in the body.
Blood cell count, clotting time, homocysteine, inflammation testing, differentiating lipid panel.
CRP, High Sensitive
INR, International Normalized Ratio
The Prothrombin Time (PT) Test is a blood test used to measure the body’s ability to form blood clots and the time is measured against the International Normalized Ratio (INR).
Total Cholesterol: LDL and HDL cholesterol, in conjunction with a triglyceride determination, provide valuable information for the risk of coronary artery disease. Total serum cholesterol analysis is useful in the diagnosis of hyperlipoproteinemia, atherosclerosis, hepatic and thyroid diseases.
Serum Triglyceride Analysis
Serum Triglyceride analysis has proven useful in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with diabetes mellitus, nephrosis, liver obstruction, other diseases involving lipid metabolism, and various endocrine disorders. In conjunction with high density lipoprotein and total serum cholesterol, a triglyceride determination provides valuable information for the assessment of coronary heart disease risk.
HDL cholesterol is inversely related to the risk for cardiovascular disease. It increases following regular exercise, moderate alcohol consumption and with oral estrogen therapy. Decreased levels are associated with obesity, stress, cigarette smoking and diabetes mellitus.
Direct measurement of LDL Cholestorol
- Factors that can cause the plasma homocysteine concentration to be high include deficiencies of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folic acid; renal insufficiency; and genetic variants in enzymes responsible for homocysteine metabolism.
- Higher plasma homocysteine levels are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and peripheral arterial disease.
- Supplementation of B vitamins and folic acid can lower plasma homocysteine levels.
- Randomized controlled trials of supplementation to prevent cardiovascular events and other adverse outcomes have had mostly negative results. However, most patients in these trials had normal baseline plasma homocysteine levels.
- Needed are randomized trials to see if supplementation improves outcomes in patients with high homocysteine levels.
White Blood Cell Types (WBC differential)
The major types of white blood cells are neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils. Immature neutrophils, called band neutrophils, are also part of this test. Each type of cell plays a different role in protecting the body. The numbers of each one of these types of white blood cells give important information about the immune system. Too many or too few of the different types of white blood cells can help find an infection, an allergic or toxic reaction to medicines or chemicals, and many conditions, such as leukemia.
White Blood Cell Count
White blood cells protect the body against infection. If an infection develops, white blood cells attack and destroy the bacteria, virus, or other organism causing it. White blood cells are bigger than red blood cells but fewer in number. When a person has a bacterial infection, the number of white cells rises very quickly. The number of white blood cells is sometimes used to find an infection or to see how the body is dealing with cancer treatment.
This test measures the amount of space (volume) red blood cells take up in the blood. The value is given as a percentage of red blood cells in a volume of blood. For example, a hematocrit of 38 means that 38% of the blood’s volume is made of red blood cells. Hematocrit and hemoglobin values are the two major tests that show if anemia or polycythemia is present.
The hemoglobin molecule fills up the red blood cells. It carries oxygen and gives the blood cell its red color. The hemoglobin test measures the amount of hemoglobin in blood and is a good measure of the blood’s ability to carry oxygen throughout the body.
Red Blood Cell Count
Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. They also carry carbon dioxide back to the lungs so it can be exhaled. If the RBC count is low (anemia), the body may not be getting the oxygen it needs. If the count is too high (a condition called polycythemia), there is a chance that the red blood cells will clump together and block tiny blood vessels (capillaries). This also makes it hard for your red blood cells to carry oxygen.
Red Blood Cell Indices
There are three red blood cell indices: mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC). They are measured by a machine, and their values come from other measurements in a CBC. The MCV shows the size of the red blood cells. The MCH value is the amount of hemoglobin in an average red blood cell. The MCHC measures the concentration of hemoglobin in an average red blood cell. These numbers help in the diagnosis of different types of anemia. Red cell distribution width (RDW) can also be measured which shows if the cells are all the same or different sizes or shapes.
Platelets (thrombocytes) are the smallest type of blood cell. They are important in blood clotting. When bleeding occurs, the platelets swell, clump together, and form a sticky plug that helps stop the bleeding. If there are too few platelets, uncontrolled bleeding may be a problem. If there are too many platelets, there is a chance of a blood clot forming in a blood vessel. Also, platelets may be involved in hardening of the arteries.