Sean E. Heerey ND, MA, CCC/SLP

Lipoprotein(a) and Heart Disease
According to the CDC, Heart Disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Close to 610,000 thousand people die of heart disease every year. The most common type of heart disease is Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), which kills over 370,000 people a year.

Elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure and smoking are all known risk factors for heart disease. Almost half of all Americans have at least one of these risk factors. Obesity and diabetes are additional risk factors.

A standard cholesterol panel, e.g., total cholesterol, LDL (“bad” cholesterol), HDL (“good” cholesterol) and triglycerides can give some valuable information, but does not tell the whole story about your true risk of heart disease and stroke. Almost 50 % of heart attack patients have normal LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.

There is another lesser known test called Lipoprotein(a), Lp(a), that can potentially save your life. Lp(a) is a blood lipoprotein with a lipid composition similar to LDL cholesterol.

A 2013 article in the Journal of Internal Medicine, stated that based on genetic evidence provided by studies conducted over the last two decades, Lp(a) is currently considered to be the strongest genetic risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD).

A 2016 article stated that high Lp(a) values also represent an independent risk factor for stroke (which is more relevant in younger stroke patients), peripheral artery disease (PAD) and hardening of your heart valves.

Additionally, high Lp(a) levels seem to be associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events in patients with chronic kidney disease. Statin drugs, which can lower total cholesterol and LDL, do not decrease Lp(a) concentrations significantly.
Fortunately, naturopathic doctors combine advanced laboratory testing and analysis with individualized treatment recommendations to uncover and manage an individual’s risk for heart disease.

Some ways to lower the inflammation caused by Lp(a):

1. Omega 3 Fatty Acids- This is fish oil. Take 2-3 grams per day.

2. Vitamin C and L-lysine in high doses can be helpful. This therapy was recommended by Dr. Linus Pauling.

3. Restrict eating processed foods, grains and sugar in your diet.

These are just a few tips to get you started, but please work closely with your healthcare provider to develop a comprehensive plan to lower your cardiovascular risk.

Please consult with your health care professional before beginning any supplement regimen or dietary plan. This information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information.