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ApoA1 is a marker for "good" cholesterol.

ApoA1 is a marker for “good” cholesterol

Apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1) is a carrier protein that helps transport HDL cholesterol (also known as good cholesterol) as well as other harmful fat molecules in the blood.

Briefly about ApoA1 

  • ApoA1 is a protein that is part of the HDL molecule, also known as “good” cholesterol.
  • By measuring ApoA1, you get information about the level of HDL in the blood.
  • The value of ApoA1 provides information about the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, with a high value indicating a low risk.
  • The examination is often complemented by the ratio between ApoB and ApoA1, which is an even better risk marker for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, heart failure, and stroke.

What is ApoA1?

Since fat is not water-soluble, it cannot be transported freely in the blood. Instead, the body utilizes various molecules called lipoproteins to transport fat from the diet to the places where it is needed.

There are several different lipoproteins in the body, all of which transport fats to and from different targets, with the most common being HDL and LDL. Lipoproteins all consist of different types of apolipoproteins.

Apolipoprotein A1 is a component of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as “good” cholesterol. HDL’s role is to remove excess and harmful fat molecules from the blood vessels, which otherwise cause atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). It does this by transporting excess cholesterol in the body through the lymphatic system and blood to the liver, which then takes care of it.

Therefore, ApoA1 helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, heart failure, and stroke.

What reference values for ApoA1?

The following reference values apply to ApoA1:

It is common to also examine the ratio between ApoB and ApoA1 because it provides more information when assessing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. An ApoB/ApoA1 ratio above 0.7 for women and above 0.8 for men is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Reference values may vary depending on where the analysis is performed and which analysis method is used.

What does a high ApoA1 mean?

A high ApoA1 is associated with a lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. A high value may be due to hereditary factors or having a high level of physical activity and a healthy diet.

High levels can also be caused by certain medications. Cholesterol-lowering medications such as statins and medications containing estrogen are examples of these. It is also possible that elevated levels are due to certain hereditary diseases, but these are rare and often have other symptoms.

What does a low ApoA1 mean?

A low level of ApoA1 in the blood often means a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. It can be caused by:

Why is ApoA1 tested?

By analyzing ApoA1, one can assess the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, as it provides an indication of the levels of cholesterol in the blood. Since ApoA1 is present in every HDL molecule, the level of ApoA1 provides a good indication of how much “good” cholesterol is present in the blood.

It is common to measure ApoA1 together with other markers for cholesterol levels and other blood lipids because it provides a better risk picture. Often, the level of apolipoprotein (ApoB) is also measured, which indicates the level of “bad” cholesterol LDL. It has been shown that not only the absolute levels of LDL and HDL in the blood matter, but also how they relate to each other is important. An ApoB/ApoA1 ratio is one of the best ways to assess the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

An ApoA1 test can also be used to follow up on whether treatment for cardiovascular disease or lifestyle changes are effective as intended.

What can I do to improve my ApoA1 levels?

Often, it is possible to improve one’s levels of ApoA1 through a change in lifestyle. By exercising and eating healthily, one can often achieve good results. It is particularly important to reduce the proportion of saturated fats and fast carbohydrates in the diet.

In some cases, it may be justified to use medications to lower one’s values. If one has very low levels of ApoA1 and high ApoB, it may be good to discuss medication with a doctor.

In diseases such as diabetes, it is also good to be extra vigilant because the disease tends to raise blood lipids. Extra medication may then be needed in addition to lifestyle changes to lower the levels.

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