Lipoprotein (a) [Lp(a)] is an independent but moderate, predictor for coronary heart disease (CHD) prevalence and severity. Several established and emerging cardiovascular (CV) risk factors including age, gender, ethnicity, smoking, dyslipidemia, hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, alcohol consumption, arterial stiffness and hyperuricemia have been linked to Lp(a) metabolism. Apart from CHD, Lp(a) has been also associated with non-cardiac vascular diseases and diseases associated with increased CV risk such as chronic kidney disease, metabolic syndrome, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, erectile dysfunction, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases and human immunodeficiency virus infection. The above data are discussed in the present narrative review.Several guidelines suggest the clinical use of Lp(a) in (re)defining vascular risk, especially in asymptomatic individuals at intermediate or high CV risk and those with a family history of premature CHD. By improving individuals risk stratification, Lp(a) may contribute to a better secondary prevention strategy. However, there is still a need to establish a standardized method to measure Lp(a) as well as selective potent therapies for lowering Lp(a). This will support conducting large randomized trials in order to establish whether lowering circulating Lp(a) levels will result in a significant reduction in CV events.
Keywords: Lipoprotein (a), cardiovascular risk, vascular risk factors, cardiac diseases, non-cardiac vascular diseases.
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