Lipoprotein(a): A REAL Risk Factor for Heart Disease

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Do you know if you have elevated Lipoprotein(a)?

In my previous post, I talked about how high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol (LDL-C)—as measured on a basic lipid panel—is a poor predictor of heart disease.

However, Lipoprotein(a), also called Lp(a), is a dangerous variant of LDL “bad” cholesterol because it is small, very dense and penetrates the lining of the arteries very easily (1). An elevated Lp(a) level is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Similar to LDL, Lp(a) contains an Apolipoprotein B molecule and a cholesterol-rich lipid core. However, unlike LDL, Lp(a) has a unique sugar protein on its surface which makes it much more likely to cause blood clotting leading to stroke, heart attacks, deep venous thrombosis, and pulmonary embolus. 

Testing your Lp(a) level is something that everyone should do at least once in their lifetime—especially if you have a family history of heart disease or stroke before the age of 55.

Unfortunately, Lp(a) is not measured on a standard (basic) cholesterol panel—and insurance companies refuse to pay to have it tested. Luckily, Lp(a) is included in this Advanced Cholesterol Panel on sale now for just $155 through February 29th.

Lipoprotein(a) is a genetically inherited lipoprotein, which means that it runs in families. Your Lp(a) level is considered “high” if it is greater than or equal to 125 nmol/L (or >/=50 mg/dL). A high Lp(a) level means that you have an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, peripheral artery disease and aortic stenosis—independent of other risk factors (2).

If you have elevated Lp(a)…you are not alone…

Globally, roughly 1 in 5 people have inherited high Lp(a). That translates to 73 million Americans. Unfortunately, most people with high Lp(a) are unaware they have it (3).

 Why it is important to know if you have elevated Lp(a)

–Lp(a) is responsible for 8% of all cardiac deaths—with no other risk factors present.

–A high level of Lp(a) can triple your risk of heart attack or stroke—regardless of your age, diet or lifestyle. Even fit and healthy people can have high Lp(a) levels (4).

–If an adult has high Lp(a), there is at least a 50% chance of their child inheriting it.

–Your Lp(a) level is primarily (70-90%) genetically determined (5). However, some conditions can increase your Lp(a) level, including diabetes, chronic kidney disease, nephrotic syndrome, thyroid dysfunction (hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism) and post-menopause for women because estrogen levels are lower (6, 7, 8).

Most importantly, knowing your Lp(a) level means that you can be proactive about supporting your heart health. If your Lp(a) is high…it is time to get serious about making anti-inflammatory, whole food-based choices; moving your body on a regular basis; eating foods high in omega-3s; and limiting or cutting out alcohol, refined carbohydrates, processed/fast/junk foods, and sugar.

Are you ready to get the full picture on your cholesterol?

Click here to learn more about the Advanced Cholesterol Panel, which includes Lp(a). In addition, you get the standard lipid panel + advanced cholesterol biomarkers + a bonus test for inflammation (hs-CRP). This is direct lab testing, meaning you order your own labs…no doctor’s visit required. If you purchase by Feb. 29th, you can schedule your blood draw anytime afterwards.

The interrelationship of the advanced cholesterol biomarkers can tell you a lot about how well (or poorly) your vascular system is going to age. You have an opportunity to nip potentially serious issues in the bud and/or take action to get things back on track.

You will be emailed your lab results back in 7 to 10 days via a secure platform. You can then take these results to the practitioner of your choice to review. Including me…I offer two options for a lab review consultation. Contact me here.




1, 7  Connolly, Liam. Lipoprotein(a): “A less understood but critical risk factor for heart disease.UC Davis Health. 22 Feb. 2023.

2, 6  American Heart Association. “What is Lp(a)?.

3  Wilson, D.P. et al. “Use of Lipoprotein(a) in clinical practice: A biomarker whose time has come. A scientific statement from the National Lipid Association.” Journal of Clinical Lipidology. Vol. 16, Issue 5, e77-e95. Sept. 2022.

5  Hopkins, A. Lipoprotein(a): The one biomarker that could change everything.

4  Reyes-Soffer, G et al. “Lipoprotein(a): A Genetically Determined, Causal, and Prevalent Risk Factor for Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association”. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. Jan. 2022. Vol. 42, Issue 1, e48-e60.

8 Šuran D, Blažun Vošner H, Završnik J, Kokol P, Sinkovič A, Kanič V, Kokol M, Naji F, Završnik T. Lipoprotein(a) in Cardiovascular Diseases: Insight From a Bibliometric Study. Front Public Health. 2022 Jul 5.

Hi, I’m Kathryn Matthews. As a Board Certified Functional Health Coach, I help clients reclaim their energy, vitality and well-being. I want you to feel empowered about taking charge of YOUR health! To learn more, see About Kathryn.

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