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Lipoprotein(a) or Lp(a) is a fatty particle in the blood that can lead to health problems including heart attack. In fact, 1 in 5 people have elevated lipoprotein(a) which could put them at risk. Unlike other lipoproteins such as HDL and LDL cholesterol, Lp(a) is not tested as a part of one's routine cholesterol check. Similarly, Lp(a) is not affected by changing diet, exercise, or by taking statins. This makes it particularly dangerous for athletes and those who are generally ruled out of having cholesterol or heart related illness due to their lifestyle.
Lipoprotein(a) is composed of an LDL-like particle and an additional apolipoprotein called apolipoprotein(a) [apo(a)] that is bound to apolipoprotein B (apoB) by a disulfide bridge.
As shown in the image above, the Lipoprotein(a) molecule contributes to Atherosclerosis (fatty deposits that can clog arteries) and Myocardial Infarction (heart attack) in three ways. First it promotes the development of fatty streaks in the arteries. This leads to the buildup of plaque along the Arterial Wall. Lastly it inhibits the body's ability to stop clots which leads to the blocked artery and thus a heart attack. One could not design a better molecule to cause coronary artery disease.
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