A BNP blood test is a commonly used blood test used to rule out but also diagnose one in, particularly dangerous health issues. There is a reason why the BNP levels in blood are usually low, and we plan on telling you everything about it in the article that it is to follow.
What Is A BNP Blood Test?
BNP stands for B-type natriuretic peptide, which is a protein that is produced by our heart and blood vessels. BNP works together with ANP, which stands for an atrial natriuretic peptide, which is another protein being produced by the heart and the blood vessels. BNP and ANP make sure that the blood vessels are dilated in order to allow the blood to pass easily through and also prevent any clots from forming. BNP and ANP have an important role in maintaining the function of the kidneys, allowing them to remove any excess water and salt from the body easily.
A BNP blood test measures the levels of BNP in the blood. Actually, a BNP measures the levels of two important proteins – B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) and N-terminal-pro-BNP (NT-pro-BNP). Normally, only a small amount of both BNP and NT-pro-BNP are to be found in the bloodstream. The BNP blood test represents a very important diagnostic method in medicine.
The BNP blood test does not require any special preparation. It is like any other blood test, and it is performed by gathering a blood sample by using a needle that is inserted in a vein on the arm. Later, the blood sample is looked at, and the BNP and NT-pro-BNP blood levels are measured by a special machine.
Why Is It Done?
The BNP blood test is done whenever there is a case of suspected heart failure. If you are experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, concentration issues, irregular or high heart rate, nausea, etc. a BNP blood test will help diagnose your condition. In the case of heart failure, the heart produces more BNP to make sure that the fluid balance in the body is well maintained as well as your blood pressure is properly being regulated. It is because heart failure is preventing your heart from pumping blood properly throughout the body because of the weakening of the walls of the heart chambers.
A BNP blood test is also used to rule our heart failure, but also to help the doctors understand the severity of the case. This blood test also helps doctors to plan out a proper treatment plan that is meant to improve the patient’s health and life and eliminate the symptoms of heart failure. Other health issues such as kidney and lung disease and obesity are known to cause elevated BNP blood levels as well.
What Are The Normal BNP Levels?
The blood levels of BNP and NT-pro-BNP are measured in picograms per milliliter. The BNP levels chart considers the following measurements to be normal –
In healthy adults under the age of 75, the BNP blood test range are lower than 100 pg/ml, and the NT-pro-BNP blood levels are lower than 125 pg/ml. Levels above 400 pg/ml are what are considered to be high BNP blood levels.
How To Lower High BNP Blood Levels?
The doctor will recommend some lifestyle changes as a way to improve your heart health and reduce the negative effects of heart failure. This would include;
- Losing extra body weight;
- Eating a healthy diet with high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids;
- Reducing your alcohol intake;
- Quitting smoking;
- Reducing stress levels by practicing yoga and meditation;
- Being regularly physically active;
- Getting enough sleep;
- Treating any underlying conditions, such as high blood pressure, sleep apnea, diabetes, etc.
Your treatment plan can also include the use of NSAIDs to reduce any present pain, as well as diuretics to help you eliminate the extra fluids from your body. You may require medical treatment for your heart failure, depending on what stage it is. However, these are issues that are meant to be discussed with a proper healthcare provider.
The BNP blood test makes the diagnosis of heart failure a lot easier. Throughout the last couple of years, any increase in BNP blood levels helps doctors detect heart failure in its most early stages. This is a simple blood test that takes only a couple of minutes to be done, and in return, it offers valuable information.
Doctor, author and fitness enthusiast, Ahmed Zayed, MD, is a surgery resident with a passion for helping people live a happy healthy life. He is the author of numerous health-related books and contributor to several medicine, health and wellbeing websites.