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What Is Sticky Cholesterol? Diagnosis, Diseases And How To Reduce The Risk

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Last Updated: December 29, 2022, 16:43 IST

The third kind of cholesterol known as sticky cholesterol.

The third kind of cholesterol known as sticky cholesterol.

Lipoprotein(a) or LP(a) is very much like LDL, but it is stickier. High levels of sticky cholesterol can cause artery walls and clog them up leading to heart disease and stroke at a young age.

High cholesterol is a problem that people are aware of. Two types of cholesterol that people know about are HDL (also known as good cholesterol) and LDL (also known as bad cholesterol). High cholesterol causes heart problems and high blood pressure. But it is necessary to spread awareness about the third kind of cholesterol known as sticky cholesterol.

According to Heart UK, Lipoprotein(a) or LP(a) is very much like LDL, but it is stickier. High levels of sticky cholesterol can cause artery walls and clog them up leading to heart disease and stroke at a young age.

LP(a) is a large protein made by the liver and its job is to carry fats (or lipids) around the body in the blood. LDL cholesterol is also a lipoprotein similar to sticky cholesterol due to which the repercussions of having high levels of either are similar.

LP(a) is made of everything LDL is made of and two additional proteins – ApoB and Apo(a). The second protein Apo(a) is what makes this lipoprotein so sticky. LP(a) is known to speed up the narrowing of arteries because it is held in the artery walls more than high cholesterol due to the stickiness. It increases the development of blood clots too.

LP(a) can be diagnosed only at a specialist lipid clinic and the testing can be done if you have:

Premature CVD or there is premature CVD in your family

A family history of high LP(a)

Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH)

Calcific aortic valve disease

A borderline (but <15%) 10-year risk of CVD.

High LP(a) can be treated in several ways and some of them are:

Diagnosing and treating related diseases.

Managing risk factors such as high LDL, heart diseases, etc.

Eating a healthy diet which is low in saturated fat, has plenty of fruits and vegetables and avoids sugary and fried foods.

High sticky cholesterol can also be treated through medication. Statin is known to shrink the size of the LP(a) lipoproteins and lower non-HDL cholesterol levels.

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