Lipoprotein A Levels


High cholesterol is known to be a factor in causing heart problems. This is one of those facts that doctors have been pounding into patients' heads for years. High density lipoprotein, or HDL, is a good type of cholesterol that your doctor wants to see in higher numbers. Low density lipoprotein, or LDL, is the not-so-good variety of cholesterol. But LDL can be broken down even further than that. High lipoprotein (a) levels can increase your risk of heart attack even more.


What Your Lipoprotein A Levels Mean

What is lipoprotein A?


Lipoprotein a is a combination of LDL and apolipoprotein designated a. It's a specialized form of LDL. It has been shown to have potential negative effects on the body if it is found in high numbers.


What are some of the risks of having high lipoprotein A levels?


For those who have high lipoprotein (a) levels, there is an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Patients with high levels of this lipoprotein have been known to have higher blood pressure, less chance of survival with a heart attack and inflammation of the artery walls. This level is determined by genetics not diet. African-Americans tend to have higher levels of this lipoprotein in their system than Caucasians and Asians.


Should you have your lipoprotein A levels checked regularly?


There is no set guideline as to who should have this test performed and when. If you have heart disease, persistent high levels of LDL despite treatment or a strong family history of heart disease, you should get screened. There are tests that your doctor can order to check your levels.


Is there any treatment for your lipoprotein A levels?

There is medication on the market to help lower your lipoprotein (a) levels. Niacin can lower your levels substantially, which may lower your risk for heart disease. There is also an aggressive method called LDL apheresis. This method is very expensive and invasive, so your physician may opt to try medication first.


Lipoprotein A levels can increase your risk for heart disease. Knowing your levels and discussing your options with your doctor can possibly lower your risk and allow you to live a normal life.