AHA study shows African Americans and women are predominantly impacted by CVD risk factors

A study recently published in the American Heart Association’s (AHA) journal, Circulation, suggested there is an unequal impact of cardiovascular disease (CVD) on race and gender. Researchers from Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts studied data from 13,541 people in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study. Participants attended examinations during four periods (1987-89, 1990-92, 1993-95 or 1996-98) when they were 52-66 years old and free of CVD. Researchers examined population attributable risk (PAR) changes for five major cardiovascular risk factors — high cholesterol, smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. The PAR measures how common a risk factor is and how much the factor raises the chance of future cardiovascular disease.

These results highlight that African Americans and women are the demographic populations most prominently impacted by CVD risk factors. The study results highlight the ongoing need for targeted as well as population-based approaches to risk factor modifications in order to reduce the overall risk for heart and vascular disease, researchers said.

The VAP+ Lipid Panel® provides patients with a comprehensive lipid analysis in order to identify their risk for CVD. Knowing your risk is the first step in preventing hard coronary events. Interestingly, the Jackson Heart Study – the largest investigation to date of causes of cardiovascular disease in an African American population – found increased levels of triglyceride rich remnant lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL3, IDL) measured with the VAP+ Lipid Panel® were a significant, independent predictor of heart attack events among participants in multivariate analysis.  These findings show the value of comprehensive lipid testing in specific patient populations to provide valuable information not captured by the basic lipid panel.

To learn more about the VAP+®, visit Atherotech.com.  To learn more about this study, visit: http://newsroom.heart.org/news/blacks-women-face-greater-burden-from-cvd-risk-factors?preview=2c70


Atherotech’s Kenneth French Appears on Eva Herr Radio Show

select1394On June 15, Atherotech’s very own Kenneth French was featured as one of the guest’s on a six-part early detection and prevention series hosted by The Eva Herr Radio Show. Eva Herr is considered one of the world’s top experts in integrative and preventive healthcare issues.   During the segment, Kenneth detailed the increasing prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the United States and the benefit of comprehensive lipid testing, such as the VAP® + Lipid Panel, on determining a patient’s CVD risk. Kenneth discussed the importance of patient’s knowing their cholesterol numbers to determine the real risk of CVD without relying on a calculated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol in the body), which can be misleading in regards to lipid based CVD risks. Kenneth explained the history of cholesterol testing, starting with the basic lipid panel, and its limitations, and stressed that by knowing your risk, patients have the ability to prevent future and recurrent cardiac events.

Kenneth is a Medical Science Consultant at Atherotech and has extensive experience in atherosclerosis and dyslipidemia. For several years now, Kenneth has served as a medical liaison for several companies as well as national laboratories through education regarding topics on atherosclerosis, dyslipidemia, metabolic syndrome, and comprehensive testing.  He is utilized as a resource in lipid management, participating in numerous round-table discussions and consulting with physicians on how to interpret laboratory metrics.

To listen to Kenneth discuss the impact cardiovascular disease has on our nation and the evolution of lipid testing, click here, or to listen to Kenneth’s full segment, visit: http://bit.ly/1jBkWVe.


Lipoprotein and Vascular Diseases Division and Atherotech Diagnostics to Hold Annual Dinner Meetings on July 28-29 during the American Association for Clinical Chemistry’s Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo

Atherotech Diagnostics is excited to announce two events it will co-sponsor with the AACC Lipoproteins and Vascular Diseases Division (LVDD) during the American Association for Clinical Chemistry’s Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo in ChicDr. Davidsonago, IL.


The first event is the annual LVDD Dinner Meeting scheduled for Monday, July 28 at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago from 5:30-9:30 p.m. The event will be led by Dr. Michael Davidson of the University of Chicago. LVDD members are invited to this annual awards celebration and scientific session on current topics in cardiovascular disease. Tickets cost $50 and are limited to the first 100 LVDD members. Registration includes a reception, awards presentation and dinner followed by scientific presentations. Tickets can be picked up at the McCormick Place Convention Center at Conference Registration.



In addition to the annual dinner, the second event will be the International Lipoprotein Standardization Forum and takes place the following night on Tuesday July 29, 2014 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago. Dr. Peter Toth of CGH Medical Center in Sterling, IL will lead the forum entitled, ‘ACC/AHA Guidelines on Blood Cholesterol Management: Controversies and Curious Omissions.’ LVDD members are invited to join the discussion on recent findings related to lipoproteins, with a focus on new technologies and standardization efforts. Tickets cost $40 and are limited to the first 60 LVDD members. Registration includes a reception followed by dinner and scientific presentations. After July 23, registration will take place onsite at the meeting.


Atherotech is committed to supporting scientific lipoprotein advances and standardization efforts for research and clinical care.

For more information on both events, visit: http://www.aacc.org/events/2014_annual_meeting/conference/special-events/pages/default.aspx


Does one treatment plan fit all? The Benefit of Patient-Centered Management of Dyslipidemia

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 71 million American adults have dyslipidemia, or high strongheartcholesterol, with only one in three of them taking the necessary steps to control it.  As this issue greatly impacts our nation, it’s critical that we as clinicians are doing everything we can to understand our patients risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), specifically coronary heart disease. With heart disease being the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States, it’s imperative that we are educating our patients on the various ways to prevent and/or manage dyslipidemia.  It’s critical that we are identifying primary and secondary patients who are at risk for heart attacks, strokes and death early on. By identifying those patients we can work together to prevent and/or manage dyslipidemia. There are staggering statistics that show heart attacks and strokes occur every 60 seconds in America. What’s more – during any 30 minute block of time 120 Americans will have a heart attack or stroke and one-third of them will die. That is why it is so crucial to catch the warning signs early in order to prevent one of these life-threatening events from occurring.

Statin Therapy Guidelines

As I’m sure many of you are aware, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) latest guidelines recommended statin therapy  to manage cholesterol for four groups of people who have or are at a high risk for developing the disease. While these recommendations can be beneficial to some patients, the guidelines only address four types of cases and therapy needs that are based heavily on the use of a statin. Since patient cases vary, I’m a firm believer that we need to establish a “back-to-basics” approach and personalize therapy options to successfully help each unique patient case.

NLA Draft Recommendations

The National Lipid Association (NLA) recently issued draft recommendations for patient-centered management of dyslipidemia.  These recommendations were created by an expert panel looking to add information to the statin therapy guidelines by the ACC and AHA. The draft recommendations outlined the importance of acknowledging risk factors for dyslipidemia including age, gender and family history of cardiovascular disease (CVD). They also highlighted the importance of non-high-density lipoprotein (all of the bad cholesterol) and low-density lipoprotein (which usually approximates 70% of the bad cholesterol) as primary targets for therapy and the need for clinicians to personalize how each patient manages dyslipidemia.

I’m a fan of this proposed approach and hope the recommendations are adopted.  In my practice, I always customize my treatment plan based on the particular patient. What works for one patient, may not always work for the next. The expert panel suggested that clinicians take a personalized approach by counseling patients and catering to their specific needs in order to obtain overall heart health. I find this recommendation to be especially useful as it focuses on patient’s needs on a case-by-case basis as opposed to generalizing all dyslipidemia patients.

When I work with my patients, I start off our first meeting by asking them about their family history, lifestyle, eating habits and acknowledge any other health concerns they may have. Based on their situation, I recommend the VAP® + Lipid Panel, which provides me with an in-depth picture of their potential cardiovascular lipid risks. Once we receive the results from the VAP® + Lipid Panel, I work with the patient to determine what form of treatment will be the most beneficial in lowering their individual risk. We discuss various forms of treatment from medications to lifestyle modifications, such as losing weight, quitting smoking, eating a well-balanced diet and getting necessary exercise, and we determine what will work best to help he or she lessen their risk for CVD. It is important for patients to know their options when looking to control and/or eliminate risk factors that could lead to a life-threatening disease.

The relationship between clinician and patient is essential to the treatment process and overall outcome. I strongly encourage you to use comprehensive lipid testing for your patients to gain a better picture of their CV risk. This will help you customize their specific treatment plans. I hope to see these recommendations come to fruition in the near future as I think our dyslipidemia patients may benefit from more personalized care.


Are Your Patients at Risk? Tips for Identifying and Reducing the Risk of Stroke

May is Stroke Awareness Month – a time to encourage our patients to not only recognize the warning signs, but to know how at risk they truly are. According to the American Stroke Association (ASA), stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in America, so it’s critical that we, as clinicians, are helping our patients lower their risk by identifying potential risk factors early on.NSA_AwarenessLogo_196

While risk factors vary person to person, common ones include family history, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. One of the most common, and honestly frustrating, misconceptions is that strokes can’t be prevented – when in fact, there are a number of diseases linked to stroke that CAN be treated through various lifestyle modifications, such as diet and exercise. In this post, I’d like to examine two of the most common risk factors for stroke – high blood pressure and high cholesterol – and offer suggestions on how we can reduce our patients’ risk.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

According to the National Stroke Association (NSA), an estimated 73 million Americans have high blood pressure. Often referred to as “the silent killer” high blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major risk factor for stroke and in some cases, may not present any symptoms. Therefore, it’s critical that if there is a family history of high blood pressure or your patient has one of the other several risk factors, including age, gender and/or race, they receive routine blood pressure readings. While high blood pressure can be a life-threatening disease, it can be controlled through diet, exercise, tobacco cessation and/or medication.

High Cholesterol

The NSA states that high cholesterol may raise a person’s risk for stroke by increasing the risk of heart disease, a common stroke risk factor. Since high cholesterol doesn’t give off any symptoms, a blood test should be requested for all patients with one or more risk factors, including family history, age, and high blood pressure. Similar to high blood pressure, high cholesterol can be controlled through diet, exercise and/or medication. Since there are so many different factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease, I like to request that my patients have a VAP® + Lipid Panel – Atherotech’s comprehensive lipid test – as it uses a direct measurement of all lipid components  to identify risk in three different categories, cholesterol-rich, triglyceride-rich and hereditary lipid defects. This allows me to create personalized and more effective treatment program based on a patient’s individual risk(s). In addition to the VAP® + Lipid Panel, Atherotech also offers the PLAC Test, the only blood test that measures the amount of Lp-PLA2 – a vascular-specific inflammatory marker in the formation of rupture-prone plaque – in the body. The higher the level of Lp-PLA2, the higher the risk for stroke. In honor of Stroke Awareness Month, the PLAC Test will donate $1 to the NSA each time information is “shared” from its Facebook Fan Page – check it out today and help raise funds for the NSA!

A recent study published in Stroke by the ASA and American Heart Association (AHA), stroke survivors should work to control their blood pressure, cholesterol and weight through diet and exercise. In addition to the recently updated guidelines by the AHA that outline specific weight management techniques, I think a great resource for patients is the organization’s 5 Goals to Losing Weight – an online resource that provides quick and easy tips for incorporating a healthy diet and exercise routine into daily life. For those that are unsure of their risk, the NSA also has several unique resources, including the ‘Stroke Risk Scorecard,’ which helps patients evaluate their risk based on a series of risk factors. Patients can complete the scorecard on their own and share with their doctors upon completion. This is a great and easy way to get your patients to consider their risk for stroke.

With 610,000 new stroke victims every year, it’s evident that further education is needed to reduce our patients’ risk. I hope you’ll join me in raising awareness of stroke not only during the month of May, but throughout the entire year. To help spread the work, I’ve included some posts for you to share on your various social media pages and encourage you to share them with your patients as well.


Did you know that stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in America and a leading cause of adult disability? May is Stroke Awareness Month – a time to raise awareness and encourage people to know their risk for stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. Visit www.CobblesCorner.com to learn to learn about stroke prevention as well as ways to achieve and maintain a healthy heart.


Do you know your risk of having a stroke? Visit www.cobblescorner.com to learn how to prevent a stroke from happening to you.


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