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Lipoprotein(a), or Lp(a), is attached to the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particle. LDL is the “bad” type cholesterol. It can build up in the artery wall and cause a blockage (plaque). Having LDL with the Lp(a) attached makes it extra “sticky.” Everyone has some amount of Lp(a), but the amount we have is mostly controlled by genetics. High lipoprotein(a) is an inherited risk factor for heart disease.
Lp(a) and Heart Disease
Increased levels of Lp(a) may increase the risk of heart disease. Lp(a) may also lead to early blockage in the arteries which can cause heart attack and stroke.
Lp(a) and Children
Lp(a) is one factor that goes into figuring out a child’s risk for heart disease and stroke. High levels of Lp(a) help us decide when/if a child needs cholesterol medicine.
There are 2 ways Lp(a) is measured. Each method uses a different unit of measurements. These include:
*These are the normal values we suggest but may vary based on the lab.
The increased risk for heart disease and stroke for those with increased Lp(a) is even higher if you have a family history of heart disease. A high Lp(a) level can increase the risk for heart disease even if you have normal or “good” cholesterol levels.
There are no approved treatments to lower Lp(a) for children or teens at this time. Thus, it is important to control all other heart disease risk factors, such as LDL cholesterol.
Steps to Reduce Risk of Heart Disease
To reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke, your child can:
Reduce LDL cholesterol levels to less than 100 mg/dl
Reduce high blood pressure
Quit smoking or vaping
Reduce or get rid of second hand smoke