Advanced Cardiac Testing Is Available at Synergy Longevity Centers-Know Your Numbers!
Most conventional physicians only order a basic lipid profile ( Total cholesterol,LDL,HDL and triglycerides) during a physical exam. These tests only provide a superficial evaluation of the complex lipid system that is constantly operating in your body. With the advanced cardiovascular analysis we provide at Synergy Longevity Centers, you will have the data you need to understand the multiple other factors that affect your risk of heart disease, stroke and lifespan. One of the most important tests to obtain is a Lipoprotein (a) level.
Lipoprotein (a), commonly known as Lp (a), is a type of cholesterol-carrying particle that circulates in the bloodstream and is a very important factor that can affect longevity. Although it is similar in structure to the “bad cholesterol”called low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, it is considered to be a unique genetic risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). In this blog, we will discuss what Lp(a) is, its role in the body, and its impact on heart health.
What Is Lipoprotein(a)?
Lp(a) is a lipoprotein particle composed of an LDL cholesterol molecule and a protein called Apolipoprotein(a). It is produced in the liver and transported in the bloodstream throughout the body. The exact function of Lp(a) in the body is not well understood, but it is thought to play a role in the healing of wounds and the formation of blood clots.
Impact on Heart Health
Lp(a) is a well-established risk factor for CVD. It has been linked to the development of atherosclerosis, a condition in which the arteries become narrow and clogged due to the accumulation of fat, cholesterol, and other substances. This can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular diseases.
Studies have shown that elevated levels of Lp(a) can increase the risk of CVD by as much as 50% in some individuals- yet is rarely if ever tested during a physical! It is believed that the apolipoprotein(a) component of Lp(a) promotes the formation of clots in the bloodstream, which can block the flow of blood to the heart and brain. More about apolipoprotein(a) in my next blog.
Measuring Lipoprotein (a) Levels
Lp(a) levels are measured with a simple blood test. The test measures the amount of Lp(a) in the bloodstream and provides a baseline measurement of an individual’s risk for CVD. Normal Lp(a) levels are considered to be less than 30 mg/dL, but levels can vary widely based on factors such as age, gender and genetics.
Why Get Tested for Lipoprotein (a)?
Patients have asked me “Why should I get my Lp(a) level checked if there isn’t much I can do about it?” What a great question!
Lp(a) levels need to be determined to truly understand your risk of CV disease-something basic lipid testing does not provide. If your Lp(a) level is elevated, further cardiac testing can be performed to determine if there is critical levels of arterial narrowing- before it can cause symptoms. A cardiac CTA ( coronary tomography angiography) can be ordered at Synergy Longevity Centers to provide this critical information as well as other cardiac tests.
Managing Lipoprotein (a) Levels
Diet and lifestyle changes are important to lower the risk of CV disease but have little impact on Lp(a) levels!
However there are several steps individuals can take to help manage their risk for CVD. These include:
- Eating a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Engaging in regular physical activity
- Not smoking
- Managing other risk factors for CVD, such as high blood pressure and diabetes
In some cases, medication may be prescribed to try and lower Lp(a) levels, however they usually only have minimal effects. This may include statins, which are drugs that reduce the production of LDL cholesterol in the liver but do not affect Lp(a) levels, or niacin which is a form of vitamin B3, that helps to raise HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels.
Lipoprotein(a) is a type of cholesterol-carrying particle that has been linked to an increased risk of CVD and testing to determine your levels is available at Synergy Longevity Centers. Know your numbers!!