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Blood Viscosity Testing

Blood Viscosity Testing

The Complete Blood Viscosity Profile For Earlier and More Accurate Detection of Cardiovascular Risk

Blood viscosity (“thickness”) is a major unifying factor for cardiovascular disease risk. Viscosity is so far the only diagnostic marker that has been correlated with every presently proven cardiovascular risk factor, including cigarette smoking, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, elevated LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, age, and simply being male.

Blood viscosity is the only factor that explains why atherosclerotic plaque occurs repeatedly in certain arterial regions of the body and not in others. Atherosclerotic lesions occur in the large arteries close to the heart, such as those feeding the heart and brain, because their proximity makes those arteries more vulnerable to injury caused by thick and abrasive blood flow. This injury actually precedes arterial inflammation and is caused by elevated blood viscosity—simply excessively thick blood.

In a prospective study, 331 middle-aged men with high blood pressure were followed for up to 12 years after measuring diastolic blood viscosity. The patients were divided into three groups according to viscosity levels: those in the highest tertile had more than three times more cardiovascular deaths than those in the lowest tertile (hazard ratio = 3.42, 95% confidence interval = 1.4–8.4, p = 0.006).

Testing blood viscosity provides a way to detect cardiovascular risk earlier and more accurately. Schedule an appointment at the Tahoma Clinic to get your Complete Blood Viscosity Profile if you have any personal or family history of heart disease or stroke, personal or family history of diabetes, metabolic syndrome or obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or if you are over the age of 60 years.

A Vital Sign for Adults Over 60 Years

As part of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, researchers at the National Institute of Aging demonstrated the critical relationship between blood viscosity and age. There is almost no age-associated increase in viscosity until 60 years of age, but after 60 years, blood viscosity often increases exponentially.

The Complete Blood Viscosity Profile is a vital sign for all adults over 60 years in general health assessments and for earlier, more accurate detection of cardiovascular risk.

The Only Available Way to Measure Both the Thickness and Stickiness of Blood

Blood viscosity is the inherent resistance of blood to flow. There are many reference laboratories and pathology departments of hospitals that test for viscosity, but these tests are for serum and plasma, not whole blood. Serum and plasma viscosity tests are useful to detect an acute phase reaction or severe inflammatory response as can occur in sepsis. However, because the blood cells are removed prior to testing, serum and plasma viscosity tests cannot provide information on the actual ability of blood to flow, its thickness and stickiness, which matter most to cardiovascular health.

A few clinical reference labs claim to offer whole blood viscosity, however these tests are just for systolic blood viscosity, not diastolic. In other words, the other labs only test the thickness of blood and not the stickiness. This is like testing blood pressure with a cuff and only measuring systolic pressure, not diastolic. Don’t get a snap shot picture of your cardiovascular health, get the full picture. Tahoma Clinic uses an automated scanning capillary viscometer that acquires a Complete Viscosity Profile for each patient. It is the only way available to measure systolic and diastolic blood viscosity—both the thickness and stickiness of blood.

For further explanation and discussion of the physics of blood viscosity, please click here.

To view a recent press release on blood viscosity, please click here.

The Tahoma Clinic is proud to be partnered with Meridian Valley Laboratory, the only laboratory in North America offering this state-of-the-art testing for blood viscosity.


Ajmani RS, et al. Hemodynamic changes during aging associated with cerebral blood flow and impaired cognitive function. Neurobiol Aging. 2000 Mar-Apr;21(2):257-69.

Ciuffetti G, et al. Prognostic impact of low-shear whole blood viscosity in hypertensive men. Eur J Clin Invest. 2005 Feb;35(2):93-8.