Health Cast: New Heart Checks

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It used to be that the best way to test your heart health was with an echocardiogram, a stress test or an x-ray, but doctors say in women those tests reveal false positives 35 percent of the time. But researchers are developing better ways of detecting heart disease and they only require a drop of blood.

When her female patients start showing signs of heart disease, one of the tests cardiologists at Rush University Medical Center, Annabelle Volgman, MD, recommends is the Corus CAD. It’s a simple blood test that measures a woman’s risk of coronary heart disease.

“Whether it’s a negative or positive test it helps me decide whether we need to pursue further testing,” Volgman said.

The out-of-pocket cost for the Corus CAD test is around 1,200 dollars, but some insurance, including Medicare, will cover it.

This next blood test isn’t new, but the idea of using it to check for heart disease is. Diabetics are five times more likely to develop heart disease. The hemoglobin A1C test measures blood sugar levels, and researchers have found that if someone with diabetes can keep it below seven percent; they lessen the chance that diabetes complications will damage their arteries.

And the Mayo Clinic has just released a first-of-its-kind blood test that may be able to predict a heart attack five years before it happens. The test measures a class of lipids that researchers found are highly associated with chronic heart failure.

Mayo Clinic researchers say their test is especially useful for identifying at-risk patients and starting them on a treatment of lipid-lowering drugs.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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