Lipoprotein (a) is one type lipoprotein that travels through the blood. Lp(a) is like a cargo ship made up of protein that transports fat and cholesterol through the ocean made of your blood.
Higher levels of this protein in the blood is a sign of increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Lp(a) has been associated with increased uptake of LDL (bad cholesterol) into the blood vessel wall; which increases rich of artery blockage.
This test is used in conjunction with a routine lipid profile to provide more information about cardiovascular risk. Lp (a) remains at a consistent level over a person’s lifetime; so, it is known as a genetic marker for increased risk and a need for more aggressive treatment of cholesterol.
A high Lp(a) can be caused by other reasons then genetic, included:
– low estrogen
– family history of heart disease and high cholesterol
– uncontrolled diabetes
– kidney disease
While Niacin (vitamin B3) and estrogen have been shown to lower Lp(a) a small amount, it is recommended that persons with elevated levels be especially focused on keeping their LDLs low to lower overall risk of heart attack and stroke.