Do Your Cholesterol Tests Truly Detect Your Underlying CardioVascular Risks?
Not all cholesterol panels provide you with a detailed look at your underlying risk for cardiovascular disease. That's because not every panel measures the type and size of cholesterol particles in your blood. Advanced lipoprotein testing not only evaluates your cholesterol levels, but it also measures specific characteristics of your cholesterol which can indicate if you are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease.
When it comes to the size of cholesterol particles, size matters. That's because the smaller and more dense LDL particles (LDL Particle Number or LDL-P) are more easily able to get into the lining of your arteries and eventually cause hardening or atherosclerosis. The larger, fluffier LDL particles are less apt to stick to your arteries and, therefore, less harmful.
Particle Type Matters
Lipoprotein A (Lp(a)) is a cholesterol particle that, when elevated in the blood, is associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis and adverse cardiovascular events. Since it is genetically determined, making it an important marker to evaluate if you have a family history of heart attacks or strokes at a young age.
Apolipoproteins are proteins involved in the transport of lipids (cholesterol) in your bloodstream. Apolipoprotein B is the main protein found in LDL cholesterol, also known as the "bad" form of cholesterol. Elevated levels of Apolipoprotein B can signal increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including risk of death from heart disease.
Inflammatory Markers Matter
Inflammation is the underlying driver of chronic illness. With regard to the cause of cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and heart disease, inflammation has been shown to be the chief culprit. CRP - a protein secreted by your liver in response to circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines - is one such inflammatory marker that has been shown to be predictive of risk of cardiovascular events in certain patient populations.
If you have elevated cholesterol levels or a family history of cardiovascular disease, you may benefit from advanced lipoprotein testing. Ask your healthcare practitioner or contact us for more information on how you can identify and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Afladdagh A et al. Inflammation and cardiovascular disease: From mechanisms to therapeutics. Am J Prev Cardiol. 2020 Dec; 4: 100130.
Ashfar,M et al. Risks of Incident Cardiovascular Disease Associated With Concomitant Elevations in Lipoprotein(a) and Low‐Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol—The Framingham Heart Study J Am Heart Assoc. 2020 Sep 15; 9(18): e014711.
German, CA & Shapiro, MD. Assessing Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Risk with Advanced Lipid Testing: State of the Science. Eur Cardiol. 2020 Feb; 15: e56
Harvard Medical School. Managing Your Cholesterol. Harvard Health Publishing: 2019.