Which Cholesterol Testing Works Best

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, Cholesterol, Q&As
Last Reviewed 03/27/2014

Which Cholesterol Testing Works Best

Is having high Lp(a) worse than just having high cholesterol? If so, what cholesterol testing do I need to tell me my Lp(a) level?

Lipoprotein(a), or Lp(a), is the most dangerous of blood lipids. Lp(a) is a specific type of small LDL cholesterol particle, and it inflames the blood and makes it sticky—making it more prone to clotting. So when your Lp(a) level is abnormally high, you are at a greatly increased risk for arterial disease—much more so than if you simply have a high total cholesterol reading.

So the answer to your question about whether it’s worse than merely having high total cholesterol is an emphatic yes! Now, on to your second question.

The Latest in Cholesterol Testing

Because standard cholesterol testing doesn’t  typically check Lp(a) levels, you need to ask your doctor to prescribe one of the newer generation cholesterol tests, such as the Vertical Auto Profile (VAP) test or the Lipoprotein Particle Profile (LPP) test. Not only do the VAP and LPP measure your Lp(a), they also fractionate your LDL and HDL, so you’ll know if your cholesterol particles are predominantly small and inflammatory or large and benign. This will give your doctor a much better idea as to your overall risk.

Learn more about new cholesterol testing.

Unfortunately, there are no drugs currently available to lower Lp(a). If your level turns out to be high, consider supplementing with niacin (vitamin B3) and delta tocotrienol (a member of the vitamin E family). Both have been shown to effectively lower Lp(a) levels. Get dosage information for both of these supplements, plus a few others that help lower cholesterol levels.

WATCH: Why You Should Ask for a Cholesterol Fractionation or Particle Size Test

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