What is Lipoprotein(a)?

What is Lp(a)?

Lipoprotein(a) or Lp(a) is a particle in the blood that can lead to health problems including heart attack. In fact, 1 in 5 people have elevated lipoprotein(a) which could put them at risk. Unlike other lipoproteins such as HDL and LDL cholesterol, Lp(a) is not tested as a part of one's routine cholesterol check. Similarly, Lp(a) is not affected by changing diet, exercise, or by taking statins. 

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10 Facts About Lp(a)

1.    Lipoprotein(a), Lp(a), is a type of cholesterol that is particularly harmful, hidden within the standard cholesterol test,  and not specifically tested for in the United States.


2.    Heart Disease is the #1 killer in the US annually. Heart Disease: 650,000 {Lp(a) causes 1 in 14 or 60,000 deaths, mostly young people.} The following causes are: Cancer: 599,000 and Accidents: 170,000.


3.    20% of the world’s population (1.4 billion people) has elevated Lp(a). Because of this high incidence,   testing should be done once in every person’s lifetime.


4.    Lp(a) was identified in Norway in 1964 and has been recognized and treated in Europe, Russia and other countries for over 30 years.


5.    The United States is behind in the recognition and treatment of this lipid.  Only 1/50 cardiologists and 1/100 primary care physicians have even heard of it.


6.    Lp(a) causes heart attacks in young people (under age 55), aortic valve disease (stenosis) and strokes in children.


7.    Lp(a) has a unique structure that makes it more deadly than regular cholesterol. It has another molecule, apo (a), attached to the cholesterol that attaches to the artery wall and also promotes clotting. It also has oxidized phospholipids which are harmful.


8.    It is genetic and not affected by diet or exercise.  Statins do not lower Lp(a) and in fact raise the level. Canada has required an insert warning since 2003 regarding this fact; the US does not.


9.    Because it is genetic, families with a history of early, unexplained heart attacks need to be tested so treatment and prevention can be started.


10.    The test for Lp(a), NOT Lp(A), costs about $20 cash if insurance doesn’t cover it. Because it is basically unrecognized in the US, the sample may need to be sent to a reference lab by a standard laboratory. Insist on the correct test for “little a”, not Lp(A).

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