I have mentioned previously that around 50% of heart attack patients have normal LDL levels which suggests that tracking your LDL levels alone is not a very reliable way of predicting your risk. Current research suggests that LDL particle size (see previous blog entry) and the amount of oxidised LDL you have offer greater predictive value. Oxidised LDL particularly when they become attached or embedded in the arterial wall are the root cause of plaque build up.
Just over a week ago I decided to go for a private oxidised LDL test. I have given up on asking my GP about these things mainly because when I previously asked him about LDL particle size he had not got a clue what I was talking about. I had to explain to him the principles of LDL particles size and the relevance to heart disease. It may be that he is just too busy to keep up with current ideas but I suspect that the information funnel he is sat under is closely controlled by the drug companies. Research findings that endorse the value of say Statins will be on his desk promptly on a Monday morning but ask him about Homocysteine and the use of simple old Vitamin B12 and you are more likely to get a blank expression.
I had my oxidised LDL test done through my usual source BlueHorizon blood tests. It involved a trip to a blood sampling lab near Harley street in London. the trip from the Midlands was wonderfully smooth on a warm sunny day last week. From the Midlands I caught a train at 11.30am and I was back in the Midlands at 3.30pm after a quick lunch in London. The blood clinic was just around the corner from the Oxford Street tube station. BlueHorizons were offering a number of free extra blood tests as an incentive so I opted to have my Zinc levels tested as well as a freebie.
The results came back today quicker than expected and my Oxidised LDL came in at 57.5 ng/ml which is well below the threshold of 170 and perfectly normal. My Zinc levels came in at 16 umol which is again good as the acceptable range is 11 – 18. These are two tests that I probably wont repeat too frequently as its quite likely that my current diet and life style is capable of managing these readings into the future.