New Cholesterol Test
Friday, July 30th 1999, 12:00 am
News On 6
According to the American Heart Association, there are 1.5 million heart attacks each year. Stress tests and cholesterol checks can predict and prevent many heart attacks. A new test being studied at three medical centers may reduce the number of heart attacks by half. Ralph Law is on his fifth stationary bike since 1970. He says, "I think I've been around the world a couple of times, probably." A former coach, Law thought he was healthy until he went for a routine physical. "My blood pressure was so high that the doctor told me not even to move, don't even stand up. He said I could have a stroke at any second." By 42, Law had two bypass surgeries, a heart attack and cholesterol near 300.
Carlos Ayers, M.D., an internist at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, says, "Coronary artery disease is the number one killer of men and women." Ayers says right now, medical tests can only predict heart attacks in about 40 percent of patients. He says a new type of blood test will bring that up to 80 percent. It's called Vertical Autoprofile, or VAP. Ralph had the test done. "The VAP test gave us a greater definition of all of his problems," says Dr. Ayers. "In the 1980s, we started learning our cholesterol levels. In the 1990s, we were told HDL and LDL levels. The VAP test goes further and tells you even more."
The result? Doctors can prescribe the best medication. It made a difference for Law. His total cholesterol is down to 150. He says, "When you're faced with death, it's not so hard." His wife, Michelle, sees the change, too. "He's doing all the right things, thank goodness." His father died at age 54 of heart problems. He credits living past his father's age to willpower and medical technology.
The VAP test takes only a few days to get results -- less than regular tests. Right now, it's only being used at one center in Alabama called Atherotech, Incorporated.
If you would like more information, please contact:
2100 Southbridge Pkwy. Suite 482
Birmingham, AL 35209