The risk factor of a heart attack, which even doctors know little about

Author Ольга Кияница


Recently the whole world was shocked by the massive heart attack that happened with the famous American celebrity Bob Harper.At first glance, he could not suffer from such a disease, because he was athletic and engaged in professional fitness.Moreover, the analysis of indicators of the general state of Mr. Harper over the past year has shown a good picture of health.And, nevertheless, there is something that even doctors forget to pay attention to.

A hidden risk factor for developing a heart attack, which is often not remembered, is lipoprotein (a). While doctors regularly test other lipoproteins, such as HDL cholesterol and LDL, little test lipoprotein (a), also known as lp (a), whose high levels triple the risk of heart attack or stroke at an early age.

For most people lp (a) does not threaten anything. His level is strongly determined by genetics, and most people produce lipoprotein in small amounts. But every fifth American, including Mr. Harper, has a very high level of lp (a) in his blood.

Studies show that diet and exercise practically do not affect its concentration, and drugs that reduce cholesterol, only slightly adjust its amount.

People do not know about this, doctors do not know about this, and we need to conduct an educational program, but it's expensive," said Dr. Henry N. Ginsberg, professor of medicine at Irvine at Columbia University and a leading expert on lp (a). "I would say that 15 to 20% of the population will clearly benefit from knowing that this is their problem."

Lp (a) was discovered in 1963 by Norwegian scientist Kare Berg, who observed that he is especially common among people with coronary heart disease. No one can say exactly what lp (a) performs in the body. Some scientists suggest that they can consist, for example, in repairing damaged cells or preventing the spread of infection by binding pathogens in the blood.

Yet the role of excess lp (a) in the body is clear: with its help, the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in the arteries and blood clots is accelerated.

Studies show that the threshold for high lp (a) starts at about 30 milligrams per deciliter of blood. According to Dr. Ginsberg in Colombia, the risk of developing heart attacks is high in those who have lp (a) above 60 mg / c. In 5% of the population the level of lp (a) is from 150 to 300 mg / c. "These people are suffering a real disaster in terms of the risk of cardiovascular disease," he said.

To date, one pharmaceutical company Ionis Pharmaceuticals is developing a drug specifically to combat lp (a), but it is still in the testing phase. Probably in a few years the drug will be able to enter the market.

After a heart attack, Mr. Harper of the program "The Largest Loser" began a new mission to raise awareness of heart disease. Now he urges people to get tested for lp (a).

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