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'VAP with a Pap' Campaign Targets Women and Heart Disease
Date:2/4/2010

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- More than five times as many women are diagnosed with heart disease each year than with breast cancer. American Heart Month in February aims to spread awareness of women and heart disease, and one Alabama company has found the quickest way to a woman's heart might be through her gynecologist.

(Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20091228/LA30526)

A growing number of gynecologists around the nation are turning to Atherotech Inc., developers of the VAP Cholesterol Test, for its advanced lipid profile. The blood test gives physicians a better understanding of a woman's risk of heart attack and stroke. Combining the VAP Test with a Pap test — which detects early changes of the cervix before they become cancer — makes an easy-to-remember combination for two of the most important preventive health tests for women.

"It seems a bit unusual at first, but if there's one check up most women don't skip, it's their annual OB/GYN visit," said Michael Cobble, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Atherotech Inc. "Women may naturally feel more comfortable discussing health issues with an OB/GYN, and this opens the door to other conversations such as cholesterol levels and heart disease risk."

Monitoring cholesterol levels is key to early intervention and prevention of heart disease. Studies have shown that most adult women see their gynecologists once a year for an annual women's wellness visit, but often pass on a primary care physician visit, potentially missing out on other preventive health services such as cholesterol testing and immunizations.

"A woman's annual gynecologic examination is often the only routine preventive care they receive," said Steven Foley, M.D. "I first realized the VAP with a Pap was a perfect fit for my practice several years ago and have been using it ever since."

The Colorado Springs, Colo., gynecologist now uses the VAP Test to more accurately assess heart disease risk and to evaluate patients for polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), diabetes and infertility. Foley explained that the VAP Test plays a role in the diagnosis of PCOS because, as an expanded cholesterol test, it measures a range of cholesterol subclasses not measured by the routine cholesterol test.

The VAP Test reports 22 separate components of blood compared to just four in the standard cholesterol test (LDL, HDL, total cholesterol and triglycerides) at no additional cost. This advanced lipid panel does not require fasting and includes a measurement of the patient's Lp(a), an important risk factor much discussed in recent publications, as part of its standard panel.

The American Heart Association recommends cholesterol screening starting at the age of 20. Foley routinely uses the VAP Test on patients over the age of 45 who come in for an annual exam and who have not had a cholesterol test within the past 12 months. He also initially tests all patients one time between the ages of 30-45.

The VAP Test is available nationwide. For more information call 877.901.8510 or visit www.thevaptest.com.

About Atherotech Inc.

Atherotech is a CLIA-certified clinical reference laboratory and cardiodiagnostic company focusing on cardiometabolic tests, including the company's patented VAP Cholesterol Test, which reports the cholesterol content of all lipids, components and subclasses. The VAP Test is the first cholesterol profile to comply with updated National Cholesterol Education Program ATP III recommendations for direct LDL measurement, which is accurate with non-fasting samples. It is the only advanced lipid profile that routinely reports all three lipoprotein parameters considered necessary by the American Diabetes Association and American College of Cardiology expert consensus guidelines. The VAP Test is available through national and regional diagnostic laboratories and is reimbursed by many of the largest private insurers as well as Medicare. For more information, visit www.thevaptest.com.

SIDEBAR: WOMEN AND HEART DISEASE

(According to American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, and the National Institutes of Health)

  • About 64 percent of women who die of cardiovascular disease have no prior symptoms.
  • Women are less likely than men to have their cholesterol lowered through treatment and are less likely to be treated for heart disease as aggressively as men.
  • Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death among women age 40 and above, followed by stroke, lung cancer, lung diseases and breast cancer.
  • Since 1963, Congress has required the president to proclaim February "American Heart Month."
  • The goal of American Heart Month is to raise funds for research and education and pass along information about heart disease and stroke.

SOURCE Atherotech Inc.

RELATED LINKS
http://www.atherotech.com
http://www.thevaptest.com

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SOURCE Atherotech Inc.
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