top of page

Heart attack lab Assessment of your risk of a heart attack!

PDF of lecture notes

Are You at Risk for a Heart Attack?

We live in a time when up to 50% of all Americans will die due to some form of heart disease. On top of that, about 50% of everyone who suffers from a heart attack will die from the event.

Luckily there are tests we can do which assess your risk of cardiovascular disease. Unluckily most of these tests are not typically done in the conventional medical system. The majority of doctors will limit your cardiovascular tests to the simpler ones, such as total cholesterol.

The Patient and the Problems

In this article I would like to walk you through the real life story of one of my patients, as we looked at some of his chronic problems and helped him find out more about his cardiovascular health. Hopefully this can give you an idea of what you can get done for yourself, and work towards a state of wellness.

The patient we will be studying for this article was a 50 year old male. He was suffering from chronic pain all over his body, but in particular his lower back.

The Labs

I typically run a total of six tests. I will list them below along with how much it typically costs me to run these tests for you. These tests are:

- NMR ($50)

- Homocysteine ($18)

- CRP ($12)

- A1c ($8)

- Magnesium ($12)

These tests also come with a $10 draw fee, for a total of $120. For just $120 we can get a pretty clear picture about the state of your cardiovascular health, and start making a plan for your health.

In the case of this particular patient, these tests helped to save his life.

The Endothelium

When we talk about cardiovascular health, in particular the arteries, we are looking at one part of the artery in particular: the endothelium. The endothelium is the innermost layer of all of your blood veins, from your arteries down to your capillaries, and is only one cell thick.

Despite being very thin, your body can have up to 14,000 square feet of surface area in your body. It functions as an organ on its own, and produces hormones for the body. If the endothelium is unhealthy, it can lead to cardiovascular diseases.

Inflammation is the key in these tests. Inflammation will greatly affect all of your body’s systems globally. This includes the endothelium which we mentioned before. Because it is only one cell thick, the endothelium is particularly susceptible to damage caused by inflammation.

CRP Test

The first test we ran was for C-reactive Protein (CRP). CRP is what we call a global inflammatory marker. It cannot tell us where you are inflamed, but it is a good indicator that you have inflammation, and to what degree you are inflamed.

Also, CRP present in your blood can be an indicator of blood clots and other cardiac disease. It has been the subject of several studies which have shown a high correlation between CRP levels and sudden death.

A result for CRP should come back in the range of 0-3.0, with anything above 3 being at-risk for heart disease. I prefer to see this number be less than 1. This patient’s tests came back with a reading of 8.54.

dr hugh wegwerth chiropractor Best Chiropractor Rosemount Minnesota


Homocysteine is another common marker of inflammation I often test for. Studies have shown that increased levels of homocysteine have been associated with increased risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and more. The good news is that homocysteine is often regulated through diet, and can easily be addressed in most cases.

The typical range for homocysteine is from 0 to 14.5, though I like to see this number between 5 and 6. This patient was at 13.2.

Hemoglobin A1c and Fasting Insulin

This patient’s readings from hemoglobin A1c were not very far off what I like to see, which was some good news. The typical range is 4.8 to 5.6, and I like to see my patients more in the 5 to 5.2 range. This patient came in at 5.4, which was a little high.

Similarly, his fasting insulin was slightly elevated. The typical range of tests is from 2.6 to 24.9, with my preference to see patients between 5 and 6. This patient’s results came back at 7.2.

Both of these tests were only slightly elevated. This does not necessarily mean we need to be heavily concerned, but it does indicate that there may be some inflammation going on that we need to get control of soon.

Magnesium RBC