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li·​po·​pro·​tein a

Lipoprotein(a) carries cholesterol in your blood. High levels can contribute to the buildup of plaque in your arteries and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.

This test measures the amount of lipoprotein(a) in your blood and is not revealed by standard cholesterol tests. While there is no consensus on lipoprotein(a) levels, a guideline published by the National Lipid Association notes that normal levels are under 30 mg/dL and recommends considering lipoprotein(a) levels greater than 50 mg/dL as high risk¹.

Your level of lipoprotein(a) is controlled mainly by your genetics, meaning you should get tested if you have a family member who died suddenly of a heart attack or stroke—especially when they were young—or who has premature vascular disease or familial hypercholesterolemia.  

Currently, there are no treatments aimed at decreasing it and statins do not affect lipoprotein(a). Individuals with high levels of lipoprotein(a) can manage their risk for contracting cardiovascular diseases by taking medications and making appropriate lifestyle changes to reduce cholesterol levels.


  1. Wilson DP, Jacobson TA, Jones PH, et al. Use of Lipoprotein(a) in clinical practice: a biomarker whose time has come. A scientific statement from the National Lipid Association. J Clin Lipidol 2019;13:374–392.
Last updated:
August 17, 2021

Test for lipoprotein(a)

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