Tests to Assess Your Heart Health

Heart drawn on paperI’m often asked which blood tests are the best for evaluating or predicting one's risk for heart disease. The list below is the most comprehensive list that I have come up with to ask your MD or ND.

Total Cholesterol Panel

Including total, HDL and LDL, triglycerides and HDL/LDL ratios. (See my previous post on cholesterol for more info.)

Apolipoprotein B (apoB)

ApoB is the primary apolipoprotein of the low-density lipoproteins (LDL or “bad” cholesterol), and is responsible for carrying cholesterol to the tissues. High levels of apoB can lead to plaque that cause vascular disease (artherosclerosis), and has been found to be a better predictor of heart disease than LDL.

Lipoprotein (a)

This a strong risk factor for coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, atherosclerosis, thrombosis and stroke. Lipoprotein (a) levels are only slightly affected by diet, exercise and other environmental factors and commonly prescribed lipid-reducing drugs have little or no effect. High Lp(a) predicts risk of early atherosclerosis similar to LDL, but in advanced atherosclerosis. Lp(a) is a independent risk factor, not dependent on LDL.

C Reactive Protein (CRP)

A general marker for infection and inflammation. Ask for the high-sensitivity CRP (hs-CRP).


A common amino acid, is related to early development of heart and blood vessel disease. In fact, it is considered an independent risk factor for heart disease. Even slightly elevated levels can significantly increase risk. 

Adrenal Function

Salivary cortisol or Koenisberg test.


A pulse rate of more than 76 beats per minute is a higher risk for heart disease.

Blood Pressure

High blood pressure increases the risk of coronary artery disease.

Heavy Metal Testing

Heavy metal toxicity of lead, mercury, aluminum, and cadmium can increase inflammation and trauma to the blood vessels contributing to atherosclerosis and plaque formation.