How to Read Apolipoprotein A1 Test Report

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Apolipoprotein A1 Test:

Apolipoprotein A1 test is done to assess the levels of apolipoprotein A in the blood. It is used to check a patient’s risk for cardiovascular diseases. This test is not a part of routine examination and is ordered when other tests indicate an increased risk of heart disease. It is generally ordered when the patient has recently suffered from a heart attack or has a family history of heart diseases. The development of refined lipoprotein assessment helps in understanding of the atherosclerotic process. ApoA1 is the main initiator and “drives the reverse cholesterol transport” and does anti-atherogenic effects. That’s why Apolipoprotein A1 Test IS very useful.

Factors involved to understand the normal range of Lipoprotein A levels:

  1. What is the normal range of Apolipoprotein A?
  2. What do high levels of Apolipoprotein A mean?
  3. Causes of high levels of apolipoprotein A1
  4. What do low levels of apolipoprotein A mean?
  5. Causes of low levels of apolipoprotein A1
  6. Precautions to maintain normal levels of Apolipoprotein A1
  7. Are there any risks associated with apolipoprotein A1 test?
  8. What other tests are ordered along with Apolipoprotein A1 test?

What is the normal range of Apolipoprotein A?

Normal range of apolipoprotein A in men is greater than 120 mg/dL. Normal range in women is greater than 140 mg/dL. Normal levels vary from laboratory to laboratory.

What do high levels of Apolipoprotein A mean?

Apolipoprotein A is the major component of HDL or good cholesterol. Hence, high levels of apolipoprotein indicates presence of sufficient HDL.

Causes of high levels of apolipoprotein A1

Levels of apo A-1 are seen to increase with certain medications and physical exercise. Some of the factors causing elevated apolipoprotein A1 levels are:

  • Certain drugs such as carbamazepine, estrogens, niacin, phenobarbital, etc.
  • Physical exercises
  • Pregnancy
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Weight loss
  • Use of statins such as pravastatin, lovastatin, and simvastatin
  • Congenital hyper-A-lipoproteinemia

What do low levels of apolipoprotein A mean?

Low levels of apo A-1 are indicative of low levels of HDL and indicate an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. It also indicates inefficient clearance of excess cholesterol from the body. Low levels of apo A-1 and high concentrations of apo B are associated with high risks of cardiovascular disease.

Causes of low levels of apolipoprotein A1

Levels of apo A1 are observed to be decreased in conditions such as:

  • Chronic kidney diseases
  • Smoking
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Certain drugs such as androgens, beta blockers, diuretics, and progestins
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Certain genetic conditions also lower the apo A1 levels
  • A diet rich in carbohydrates and polyunsaturated fats

High BMI also leads to lower apo A1 levels. Certain health conditions such as coronary artery disease, nephritic syndromes, cholestasis, etc. can also cause lower levels of apolipoprotein A.

Precautions to maintain normal levels of Apolipoprotein A1

Certain lifestyle changes and behavioral changes that help increase HDL levels also raise apo A1 levels. Dietary changes and physical activities may also help maintain normal levels. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, lean meat, and proteins, is recommended to maintain healthy cholesterol and lipoprotein levels.

Losing weight can improve the levels and may decrease the risk of developing heart diseases. Regular exercise is the best way to raise apo A1 levels. Decreasing the amount of saturated fat in the diet, maintaining a normal weight, and regular physical activity, are the best ways to maintain normal HDL and apo A1 levels.

Are there any risks associated with apolipoprotein A1 test?

The test involves a blood sample collected through a vein puncture. There are generally no risks associated with this type of blood test. In some cases, side effects may be seen and these include:

  • Excessive bleeding at the site of puncture
  • Soreness or pain at the site of puncture
  • Difficulty in locating vein and multiple punctures to obtain a sample
  • Hematoma
  • Dizziness or fainting at the sight of blood
  • Infection due to the needle used

These side effects do not require any treatments and gradually decrease on their own.

What other tests are ordered along with Apolipoprotein A1 test?

Apo A test is generally ordered when a patient has high level of cholesterol or fat in the blood or has a family history of hyperlipidemia or heart disease. This test is not performed routinely and may be performed alongside a lipid profile test. Apo B test is also requested alongside this test to check for Apo A/Apo B ratio in the blood. Lipoprotein A test is also performed along with this test.

Other tests are ordered along with apo A1 test to monitor the decrease in levels of cholesterol and fat in the blood in response to medication or lifestyle changes. Hs-CRP and homocysteine tests are also ordered along with apo A1 as a part of cardiac risk assessment tests to determine the risk of developing CVD (Cardiovascular Disease).

Since this test is ordered along with a lipid profile panel, fasting for 10-12 hours prior to the test is required. Cigarette smoking and certain medications such as statins and diuretics may affect the test results. Hence, you may be advised to stop smoking and taking medications before the test. Let your healthcare provider know about all medications and supplements you may be taking. Results are often obtained within 3-5 days.

Apolipoprotein A is a good marker for heart disease and in determining the increased risk of developing CVD. Levels of apo A1 rise and fall with HDL levels and apo A1 deficiency is associated with an increased risk of CVD. Hence, it is necessary to get tested regularly, especially if you have a family history or history of heart attacks.


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