Elevated lipoprotein a can cause problems. If your vessel walls are damaged, the body produces more lipoprotein(a) to repair vessel walls. Too much lipoprotein(a) concentrates at damage locations along your artery walls, binds with two amino acids resulting in LDL cholesterol being dumped at the “site” and oxidized LDL is deposited in the artery wall which escalates the build-up of plaque. As the plaque forms, lipoprotein(a) encourages the formation of a blood clot on top of the plaque. All of this acts to narrow the blood vessel and impedes blood flow.
One reason for elevated lipoprotein(a) levels is atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and constant arterial wall damage causing the body to produce excess lipoprotein(a) in an attempt to repair the damage. Another reason for high lipoprotein(a) levels is genetics. Even if you do not have signs of heart disease, meaning your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are normal, you may still have elevated lipoprotein(a) due to genetics.
Which is why if you have heart disease (high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc.) or your have a strong family history of heart disease, it’s in your best interest to get a comprehensive lipid panel. What you don’t know just might hurt you!
As an FYI, for those of you with recurrent angina, bypass grafts closing, or arteries re-narrowing after angioplasty, elevated lipoprotein(a) levels are a possible culprit.
All the best,
Lisa Nelson RD
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