Lp(a) is a standalone risk factor for heart disease.
It was once believed that Lp(a) only posed a threat in conjunction with other risk factors such as high LDL, but now we know that Lp(a) is a separate and significant risk factor, even for young and healthy individuals without any other known cardiovascular risks.
Lp(a) levels are largely determined by genetics.
While lifestyle changes like a healthy diet and exercise can lower LDL cholesterol, they have no effect on Lp(a) levels. This is because Lp(a) is largely controlled by the genes a person inherits.
Unfortunately, there are currently no medications available to directly target Lp(a).
Many are aware that high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease, but fewer are aware of the dangers posed by lipoprotein(a), or Lp(a). This type of lipoprotein consists of an LDL particle with apolipoprotein(a) coiled around it. Studies show that elevated Lp(a) levels increase the likelihood of heart attacks and other cardiac events two- to four-fold.
Despite its significance, Lp(a) is often overlooked, especially by non-specialized physicians, and is not as well-understood as other risk factors.
Lp(a) is now considered a standalone risk factor for heart disease, no longer just a factor in patients with other risk factors, like high LDL. Genes dictate the amount of Lp(a) produced in the body, and lifestyle changes have no impact on Lp(a) levels. Currently, there are no approved drugs to specifically target Lp(a).