C-reactive protein (CRP). This test measures levels of CRP, a blood protein that rises if there’s inflammation in your body. It can also gauge your risk for coronary artery disease, narrowing of the arteries that could cause a heart attack. Caveat: A CRP test can’t pinpoint the source of the inflammation. Elevated CRP is one of the most predictable markers in the blood for all-cause morbidity and mortality.
The VAP (Vertical Auto Profile) panel. This panel should be done regularly instead of the standard fasting cholesterol blood test that measures total cholesterol, LDL (the so-called bad) cholesterol, HDL (the “good”) cholesterol) and triglycerides. The reason: The VAP measures over twice as many blood fats as the regular cholesterol panel.. What’s more, the VAP test is an actual measure of blood lipids—not an estimate, which is what the typical cholesterol panel provides.
Homocysteine. This amino acid is produced by your body, usually as a result of eating meat. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. But high levels of homocysteine are associated with atherosclerosis (the build-up of plaque in arteries), which can cause heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots as well as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
HbA1c. Most people are familiar with the fasting blood glucose test. But because it only measures the amount of sugar in your blood at the time of the test, your results may come back as normal when, in fact, you have pre-diabetes. A better gauge of blood glucose levels: the HbA1c test, which measures the average levels of blood glucose over the previous two to three months. The test is routinely done on people with diabetes to see how well they are controlling their blood sugar.
Vitamin D. Everyone should get a baseline Vitamin D test, specifically the 25 (OH) D test, which is the most accurate. The reason? Less-than-adequate levels are “the single-best predictor of early death from any cause. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2008 reported that people with the lowest levels of D—less than 17.8 ng/mL—had a 26 percent increased rate of dying from any cause, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. Low levels are also associated with a greater risk for a range of conditions, including depression, osteoporosis, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes and assorted aches and pains.