This is a test to measure endothelial dysfunction (improper function of the cells that line the blood vessels). Endothelial dysfunction is the earliest detectable stage of cardiovascular disease. The goal of this test is to identify whether or not you have endothelial dysfunction and if present how severe the dysfunction is. It is best to identify and reverse heart disease at this subclinical level (before there are any outwards signs or symptoms). With lifestyle changes, supplementation, and medications endothelial dysfunction can be reversed.
The endothelial cells are the cells that line our arteries. These cells are not simply structural, they have many other important functions including:
- Production of nitric oxide which allows the artery to dilate and relax thereby influencing blood pressure and blood flow to tissues.
- Control of platelet activation/clotting which can lead to plaque formation.
- Regulation of inflammation within the blood vessel. When inflammation is increased there is increased risk of blood vessel permeability, inflammation (oxidation) of LDL cholesterol, and plaque instability.
- Control of fluid and electrolyte balance between the blood and tissues
- Protection of tissues from toxic substances.