Can I prevent having a heart attack or stroke? The PLAC Test can help.
What is the PLAC® Test? The PLAC Test is a blood test that measures the level of Lp-PLA2 (Lipoprotein-associated Phospholipase A2), an enzyme associated with the inflammation of your arteries. Increased levels of Lp-PLA2 increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
How is the PLAC Test different from other heart and stroke tests my doctor may order? In most adults, cholesterol causes a fatty deposit called plaque to build up in the walls of the arteries. When arterial walls become inflamed, your body produces the enzyme Lp-PLA2. If the amount of Lp-PLA2 is high, this may indicate that the plaque is more likely to rupture through the inside lining of your artery into your bloodstream, where it may cause a clot that could result in heart attack or stroke.
The PLAC Test can provide you and your doctor with information about the health of your arteries that was not available in the past.
Why might my doctor order the PLAC Test for me? When you have an infection in a cut, the cut becomes inflamed and hurts! Your arteries do not have the same type of pain receptors, and are unlikely to hurt when they are inflamed. The PLAC Test measures an enzyme that increases when your arteries are inflamed. That is why the PLAC Test can help your doctor better understand what is happening in your arteries, and assess your risk for heart attack and stroke.
Your doctor probably has ordered other tests for you such as cholesterol and is ordering the PLAC Test to gain more specific information about your health, and to help identify the best course of treatment for you.
If your PLAC Test is high, you are at increased risk for heart attack or stroke. Now is the time to work with your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe lifestyle changes, such as exercise or diet. Your doctor may also order prescription medication, or medicine you can buy without a prescription. Remember, your arteries do not hurt when they are inflamed—you may have problems without knowing it. Over 50% of people who have a heart attack or stroke have no symptoms until the heart attack or stroke occurs.
It is important that you follow your doctor’s directions! Following the treatment plan your doctor recommends can significantly reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
If your PLAC Test is low, you are at lower risk for heart attack or stroke. In a study from the Mayo Clinic, 95% of individuals who had Lp-PLA2 levels below 200 ng/mL did not have either a heart attack or stroke over a 4-year period, even though they had coronary artery disease.