What is Lipoprotein-a?

Lipoprotein-a (Lp(a)) is a lipoprotein particle that contains a combination of cholesterol, phospholipids, and a protein, apolipoprotein (apo(a)). Lp(a) is made up of a low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particle with apo(a) attached to it. These particles are found mainly in the bloodstream and play an important role in the body's lipid and cholesterol metabolism. Lp(a) has been linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

Types of Lipoprotein-a

Lipoprotein-a comes in two different forms: oxidized and non-oxidized. The non-oxidized form is the main form found in our bloodstream and is normally harmless. The oxidized form can be more dangerous, and is found in much smaller amounts in the bloodstream. Oxidized Lp(a) is produced when LDL is exposed to substances like tobacco smoke or an unhealthy diet.

Tests for Lipoprotein-a

Lipoprotein-a testing is a type of blood test used to measure the amount of Lp(a) circulating in the bloodstream. A simple finger-stick test can provide an accurate measurement of the amount of Lp(a) present in a person’s blood. This type of testing is recommended for people with a family history of heart disease or stroke.

Preparation for Lipoprotein-a Test

The preparation for the lipoprotein-a test is simple and does not require any fasting or special diet. A person should refrain from smoking, drinking alcohol, or eating high-fat meals for at least 12 hours before the test.

Risks of High Lipoprotein-a levels

Having higher levels of Lp(a) in the blood has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. High levels of Lp(a) can lead to an accumulation of cholesterol-rich plaques in the arteries, making them more prone to rupture. People who are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease should get their lipoprotein-a levels tested on a regular basis.

Why is Lipoprotein-a important?

Lipoprotein-a is an important marker for assessing one's risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Since the body can not break down Lp(a) particles, they can accumulate in the bloodstream and cause serious health problems. Knowing one's Lp(a) levels can help to identify potential risk factors for cardiovascular disease and take the necessary steps to reduce one's risk.

When to get tested for Lipoprotein-a?

Lipoprotein-a testing is recommended for people who have a family history of heart disease or stroke. It is also recommended for people who are at risk due to lifestyle factors such as smoking, being overweight, or having an unhealthy diet. This type of testing is typically done every two to five years.