Celebrating Valentine’s Day with the Cardiac Prediction Array from Randox Biosciences
With Valentine’s Day being in the heart of National Heart Month, Randox Biosciences want to take this opportunity to talk about the importance of looking after your heart and the awareness of the tests out there currently on offer.
The British Health Foundation launched National Heart Month with the aim to spread awareness of heart disease and to encourage the nation to make small changes towards a healthier lifestyle.
Currently Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in the UK, with 73,000 people dying from Coronary Heart Disease every year in the UK.1
Coronary Heart Disease is a disease in which plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries. Our arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscles, however, over time plaque builds up and can harden. This hardened plaque, then narrows the coronary arteries reducing the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart, which can lead to angina or a heart attack to occur.2
CHD is more likely with increasing age, in men rather than in women before menopause and if close relatives have suffered CHD early in life. These risk factors cannot be changed, however, there are other risk factors that can be modified. These are known as elevated blood cholesterol, overweight and obesity, smoking, lack of physical activity, unhealthy diet and stress.
You can prevent and control many CHD risk factors with heart-healthy changes and medication. There is only a few risk factors that can’t be controlled such as your age, gender and family history. Nonetheless, many lifestyle changes help control several CHD risk factors at the same time, such as physical activity which may reduce stress, lower your blood pressure, help control diabetes and help control your weight.
If you believe you are at risk of coronary heart disease, you can ask for a risk assessment for heart diseases, heart attack or stroke. However, current CHD risk assessment tools based on common risk factors such as blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels have low predictive value and take no account of genetic predisposition to CHD.
In recent years, Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) have been carried out to identify genetics variants associated with CHD. Meta-analysis of such studies has identified 19 variants as being associated with CHD.
Individually, the presence of an “at risk” variant does not greatly increase the risk of developing CHD. However, the presence of multiple “at risk” alleles can increase the risk of developing CHD two-fold or greater an effect similar to being a current smoker. Combining genotype information with common risk factors could allow individuals to be more accurately classified therefore preventative therapies and lifestyle advice can be targeted to those who require it most.
In order to utilise the GWAS findings within a clinical setting, individuals require to be genotyped for each of the 19 CHD “at risk” SNPs. However, at present this can be a time consuming and expensive process.
Together with key opinion leaders in cardiovascular genetics, Randox has developed the Cardiac Risk Prediction Array which will allow all 19 SNPs to be genotyped simultaneously, which incorporates a test to identify patients predisposed to statin induced myopathy.
Firstly, a multiplex PCR reaction is performed, where the products amplified correspond to the genotype of the patient sample. The PCR products are then hybridised onto the Cardiac Risk Prediction biochip array and imaged using the Evidence Investigator analyser to identify which PCR products are present. Patient samples can be genotyped within 1 day.
This Heart Month, we are urging the pubic to not only help raise awareness of heart disease but also educate themselves on the signs and symptoms to increase early diagnosis. As a global diagnostic company, Randox Biosciences are committed to the ongoing development of diagnostic tests, as well as our research into numerous disease areas to improve health worldwide.
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1 – HeartUK
2 – National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute