21 Jun What are Natriuretic Peptides?
Clinical heart failure is a major challenge because of the diagnosis and risks. With the introduction of echocardiography more than 20 years ago, a simple blood test will now suffice to detect and confirm symptoms of heart failure. One of the main detectors of heart failure is an increase in Brain Natriuretic Peptides that are found in the bloodstream.
What are natriuretic peptides?
There are different types of Natriuretic Peptides that your body can produce. The most common types are Atrial Natriuretic Peptide (ANP), Brain Natriuretic Peptide (BNP), C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP), and Dendroaspis Natriuretic Peptide (DNP).
Atrial Natriuretic Peptide (ANP) is a hormone released by the right atrium in response to hypertension. The discovery of this type of protein in the 1980s led to the discovery of other types, including B-type natriuretic Peptide and C-type natriuretic Peptide. The primary function of ANP is to reduce extracellular fluid volume by increasing renal sodium.
A natriuretic peptide is one of the proteins that your heart produces in the event of heart failure. Also known as B-type natriuretic peptide, the level of this protein will go up when you are experiencing heart failure and then will eventually go down when your heart gets better.
A blood test specifically for brain natriuretic peptide or BNP can measure the protein levels. This test detects heart failure almost 80% of the time.
In normal cases, your body will only produce and maintain a low level of BNP found in the bloodstream. If you have higher levels compared to the normal rate, this means that your heart is not pumping as much blood as you need. When this happens, it is known as congenital heart failure. A medical diagnosis is required for this condition which means that you will have to consult with a doctor.
What are natriuretic peptides used for?
Natriuretic Peptides are key proteins that improve and regulate circulation. It is an essential protein that acts on blood vessels and can cause them to widen or dilate. It can also be found in the kidneys and can cause this essential organ to excrete more water and salt. This type of peptide restores bodily functions and can lead kidneys and blood vessels to perform properly.
The most common reason for a BNP test is to diagnose heart failure. If a patient has already been diagnosed with this specific condition, a BNP test can determine the severity of the situation, the path toward treatment, and whether the treatment plan is working.
Benefits of natriuretic peptides
An important function of Natriuretic Peptides is that it reduces the production of hormones that can cause blood vessels to narrow or affect fluid retention. It is an important protein needed to regulate the body’s circulation.
The other essential functions of Natriuretic Peptides include:
- Lowering the blood pressure
- Reducing the workload of the heart
- Promote urination
- Blood vessel relaxation
This specific protein is an important part of the body’s defense mechanism that is designed to protect the heart from stress. Natriuretic Peptides spring into action when needed the most, specifically in situations when your heart is in distress. This is the main reason why if you are experiencing heart failure, your BNP levels will be increased significantly more than the normal levels.
How will you know that you need natriuretic peptides?
Your doctor will recommend a Natriuretic Peptide test if you are exhibiting symptoms of heart failure. The most common symptoms of heart failure include:
- Swelling in legs, abdomen, and feet
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of appetite
If your doctor is requesting a BNP blood test, a health care professional will take a blood sample from your arm using a small needle. Blood will be collected in a vial or a small test tube. The whole test will usually take less than five minutes.
The BNP test can yield very accurate results and has a very high success rate in ruling out heart failure. Your doctor can request a full physical examination, complete blood count, EKG, or cardiac MRI, apart from the BNP test.
If the BNP levels are quite high, this is a sure sign that you are experiencing heart failure. More serious conditions mean that higher levels will result from the test. A result that yields greater than 100 pg/mL is considered abnormal. The higher the number, the more severe your condition is.
Other conditions can yield higher than normal BNP levels. These conditions can include:
- Pulmonary embolism
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Lung problems
- Kidney failure
On the other hand, if the results are normal, this means that the symptoms you are experiencing are not related to heart failure. Further tests might be required to pinpoint the cause of low BNP levels.
Early detection is important so that a treatment plan can be recommended to monitor your BNP levels. Performing a blood test is one of the easiest ways to pinpoint BNP levels. Blood tests should be administered by health professionals so that they will be a safe procedure.
If you are looking for mobile testing options, contact Concierge MD today! We offer Concierge medical services, and you can get treatment within the comforts of your own home. Our medical professionals are available to give you the guidance and advice needed so that you can reap the benefits right away.
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