Blood Test Predicts Strokes
Reported September 2009
BOSTON (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Every 40 seconds someone in the United States suffers a stroke. Every 26 seconds, someone suffers a heart attack. More than half of those people had no prior warning signs, but a new blood test is helping doctors diagnose those who may have hidden risks.
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Lisa Deck is a three-time stroke survivor.
"I started having a severe headache," Deck recalled to Ivanhoe. "My left side went numb. I was confused. My face even went numb."
Lisa is among the 780,000 Americans who have a stroke without any warning signs.
"There are many people who have a heart attack or stroke who aren't identified by those traditional risk factors," Dick Karas, M.D., a cardiologist at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Mass., explained.
But an FDA approved blood test goes beyond the traditional risk factors like high cholesterol and blood pressure. The PLAC test measures inflammation in the arteries.h
"Inflammation is absolutely an integral part in the process of hardening of the arteries or arthrosclerosis," Dr. Karas said.
High levels of this enzyme also increases the risk of the plaque inside the arteries rupturing. This can lead to an artery-blocking clot, the major cause of strokes and heart attacks.
"It's measuring by an antibody that detects the specific protein that's of interest, and it's able to determine the amount of that protein in the blood," Dt. Karas explained.
"I think the hardest thing is not knowing what's going on," Deck remarked.
The PLAC test could provide knowledge to some patients that can help them live a healthier life.
The test is covered by Medicare and also by many individual insurers.
Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:
Kirsten M. Tarin Fallon
Schwartz Communications, Inc.
Waltham, MA 02451
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