Inflammation is one of the most common high blood pressure symptoms. Thankfully, inflammation testing is increasingly proving a very valuable predictor of cardiovascular risk.
This is supported by data from the American Heart Association (AHA), which reports that 50 percent of all heart attacks and strokes occur in individuals with normal cholesterol. Indeed, for approximately 30 percent of patients with cardiovascular disease, the first sign of disease is death.
The pathologist Dr. Kurt Landé and biochemist Warren Sperry were the first to report way back in 1936 that there was no correlation whatsoever between blood cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis - the first true sign of an impending heart attack.
These findings were subsequently confirmed by a 1961 Indian study on 20 recently deceased patients and 200 more cases from autopsy records. The authors clearly state: “In the present study, we did not find any significant correlation between the blood serum total cholesterol and atherosclerotic index as a representation of the extent and severity of atherosclerosis for any of the vessels studied.”
More recently, in 2003, two scientists from the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York reported that aggressive lipid-lowering by statins did not affect atherosclerosis. They concluded that when it came to LDL cholesterol lowering, ‘lower is better’ is not supported by changes in atherosclerotic plaque progression.
Similar studies have been performed in many other parts of the world - and none have shown any correlation whatsoever between serum cholesterol levels and degree of atherosclerosis.
On the other hand, there is a clear and growing body of evidence that supports a strong role for inflammation in determining cardiovascular risk.
Indeed, a recent conference of leading corporate wellness experts concluded that inflammation testing provides a very comforting reassurance of heart health to employees and employers alike at the workplace.
Along with early detection of employees with possible hidden cardiovascular risk, inflammation testing also provides positive feedback for employees who are already leading healthy lifestyles. Knowing that their health habits are decreasing their levels of inflammation and lowering their risk of a cardiac event can be a powerful incentive for people to stick with positive lifestyle changes.