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  • Writer's pictureEric Goulder, MD, FACC

Heart Talk - December 2023

Lipoprotein(a)- New kid on the block, or a well-known foe?

Our commitment to comprehensive cardiovascular care has been steadfast for more than 20 years; this includes evidence-based genetic testing. One genetic test garnering recent public attention is lipoprotein(a), an inherited lipid disorder affecting around 23% of the population. Though it is just now showing up in the mainstream media, Lipoprotein(a) is nothing new for Bale Doneen providers. The Bale Doneen Method has recommended Lp(a) testing for more than two decades. In other words, if you have been a patient in our program, your lipoprotein(a) level has been tested — and if abnormal, has been treated appropriately.

Considering recent direct-to-consumer marketing of new pharmaceutical treatments on the horizon, it is essential to dive further into this subject and to clarify misconceptions while emphasizing the long-standing awareness and management we have undertaken regarding this condition.

What is Lipoprotein(a)?

Lipoprotein(a), or Lp(a), consists of a cholesterol particle bound to a unique protein called apolipoprotein(a). This lipid compound significantly increases the risk for early and aggressive atherosclerotic disease, including coronary artery (heart) disease and aortic valve calcification. Unlike other lipoproteins, Lp(a) is inherited from one or both parents, creating family histories littered with tales of heart attacks and strokes in young, otherwise healthy individuals. Because lipoprotein(a) is a genetic marker, if your level is within normal limits, it never needs to be tested again.

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