Elevated Lipoprotein(a) Levels: The Overlooked Culprit Behind Early Heart Disease and Strokes

Heart disease continues to be the leading threat to American health, but a critical genetic factor is being overlooked. According to research by the Family Heart Foundation, less than 5% of Americans are screened for elevated levels of lipoprotein(a), or Lp(a), the most common genetic cause of early heart disease and strokes.

Lp(a) is a lipoprotein particle that promotes blood clotting and plaque buildup in blood vessels, obstructing oxygen flow to the heart and brain. Individuals with elevated Lp(a) levels face a 2-3 times higher risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke at a young age compared to the general population, with higher Lp(a) levels corresponding to greater risk.

Alarmingly, Lp(a) levels are not measured in standard cholesterol panels, leaving many individuals unaware of their inherited risk. ‘The first sign of this condition may be a stroke or a heart attack,’ warns the Family Heart Foundation. By incorporating Lp(a) screening into routine healthcare, individuals can take proactive measures to manage their cardiovascular risk factors and potentially prevent life-threatening events.

While multiple therapies targeting Lp(a) are in development, the Family Heart Foundation emphasizes the importance of maintaining low LDL cholesterol levels and addressing other modifiable risk factors for those with elevated Lp(a). The organization provides resources and connects individuals with healthcare providers knowledgeable about this condition through their Care Navigation team at FindLpa.org.

As the only patient-centered organization dedicated to addressing the lack of screening and care for individuals with elevated Lp(a), the Family Heart Foundation is spearheading efforts to raise awareness and improve outcomes for the estimated 60 million Americans at risk from this inherited condition.

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