Advanced ‘PLAC’ test
What is advanced PLAC testing?
Hardening or furring of the arteries, also known as atherosclerosis, is due to the accumulation of calcium and cholesterol in plaques on artery walls. Atherosclerosis is a potentially serious condition as it leads to restricted blood flow that can damage organs and stop them functioning properly.
There are two broad categories of atherosclerotic plaques: stable and unstable (or vulnerable). Unstable plaques are more likely to rupture causing a blood clot that blocks the supply of blood to the heart – triggering a heart attack; or the brain – triggering a stroke.
Cardiovascular risk assessment
Assessing stroke and heart attack risks using computer programmes that grade individuals based on age, sex, ethnicity, cholesterol level, blood pressure, smoking status and family history can be very helpful.
Unfortunately research has shown that one in five individuals having had a heart attack might not have been graded as being at high or moderate risk using the currently available computer programmes before the heart attack occurred.
Moreover, according to an expert review published recently in the American Journal of Cardiology, neither exercise heart testing on a treadmill nor most X-ray/ultrasound techniques will identify individuals at high risk for atherosclerotic plaque rupture.
What other factors should be considered before embarking on Lp-PLA2 testing?
- The Lp-PLA2 test should always be used in addition to measuring and assessing traditional risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose.
- If the Lp-PLA2 level is raised you will then need a more detailed review of all your risk factors for heart disease and stroke plus closer monitoring by your own doctor. Adverse lifestyle factors such as smoking, obesity, inactivity, poor diet and excessive alcohol intake will also need to be addressed.
- If your Lp-PLA2 is raised it will also be necessary to adopt a much more aggressive approach to addressing any risk factors that can be altered, even if they have previously been reported as `normal`. For example both your blood pressure and cholesterol might need to be lowered further if your Lp-PLA2 test is elevated.
- Ongoing research is examining treatments that might affect Lp-PLA2 activity and stabilise rupture-prone atherosclerotic plaques.
How much does it cost?
Your Advanced ‘PLAC’ test costs just £70 – call us on 0800 652 2173 to book your test today.