Lipoprotein (a)

Information about Lipoprotein (a)

What is lipoprotein (a)?

Lipoprotein (a) – or Lp (a) - is a type of lipoprotein that transports cholesterol in the blood. A lipoprotein (a) test measures blood levels of Lp (a) as part of an evaluation of heart disease risk.

Why test lipoprotein (a)?

Health Check
Discover your risk factors for lifestyle diseases in time to do something about them.

Family History
Family history of cardiovascular disease, especially at a young age, can increase the risk of heart disease.

Health History
History of heart attack or stroke, especially when lipid profile is normal or shows only slightly elevated cholesterol.

What causes low lipoprotein (a)?

Lp (a) is genetically determined. There are no known problems caused by low Lp (a) and many people have no Lp (a) detectable in the blood.  Having a lower Lp (a) is thought to decrease heart disease risk.

What causes high lipoprotein (a)?

A high Lp (a) may increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease. It can occur in people even with a normal lipid profile. Lifestyle and dietary changes may help to lower other risk factors for heart disease. Although Lp (a) is genetically determined, some health conditions can increase Lp (a) and your doctor may wish to investigate these.

More information

Lp (a) levels are genetically determined.  Lp (a) is considered to contribute to the overall risk of cardiovascular disease. 

About 50% of people who have a heart attack have a normal cholesterol level. Therefore, researchers have sought other ways to investigate heart attack risk and Lp (a) is one of them.  Lp (a) is thought to contribute to heart attack risk by promoting the development of atherosclerotic plaque on the walls of blood vessels.


No advance preparation is needed for this test, but as it is often part of a lipid profile you may be advised to fast before taking it so read the instructions clearly when ordering a test.

Remember to take your ID with you when going to take a test.


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