Lp(a) is an abnormal form of LDL cholesterol or bad cholesterol. The presence of Lp(a) is genetically programmed and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke) and thrombosis (clot formation). Since the presence of Lp(a) is hereditary, a family history of early cardiovascular disease or the presence of early cardiovascular disease without the usual risk factors (normal or slightly abnormal lipid profile) are situations suggesting the presence of Lp(a). Levels of Lp(a) remain stable over the course of life and are little affected by lifestyle changes (diet, exercise) or cholesterol lowering medications (statins, etc.). The results of LP(a) are expressed in nanomoles per litre (nmol/L).
The presence of Lp(a) is an independent risk factor that is added to the risks already incurred due to poor cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, etc. The risk is higher even with a normal lipid profile. High levels of Lp(a) are also found in chronic kidney failure, poorly controlled diabetes, estrogen deficiency, etc. Low levels are found with little clinical significance in cases of liver malfunction (liver failure) and malnutrition.