This test measures the amount of the enzyme Lipoprotein Phospholipase Α2 (Lp-PLΑ2) or Lipoprotein-associated Phospholipase Α2 in the bloodstream. Measurement of the enzyme Lp-PL Α2 can assess the extent of inflammation in the arteries due to the accumulation of cholesterol. This enzyme is measured with the PLAC® test.
Why is the measurement of Lipoprotein Phospholipase Α2 important?
The measurement of Lipoprotein Phospholipase Α2 (Lp-PLΑ2) can help assess the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and stroke. When LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) enters the walls of the arteries, the body tries to get rid of it by producing Lp-PLA2. Unfortunately, the action of Lp-PLA2 contributes to inflammation and further increases the accumulation of cholesterol in the artery walls, thus forming atherosclerotic plaque. Inflammation also contributes to the thinning of the capsule covering the plaque, which makes it more likely to rupture. The body reacts to the rupture of the atherosclerotic plaque by forming a clot which, however, can block the flow of blood. If the blocked blood flow is that of the heart blood vessels, it can cause a myocardial infarction, while if the blocked blood flow is that of the brain blood vessels, it can cause a stroke.
In short, with the measurement of Lipoprotein Phospholipase Α2, we can better understand the health level of the arteries and see if there is any atherosclerotic plaque that is at risk of rupture and occurrence of a heart attack or a stroke.
The risk of having a stroke is related to many factors, including high blood pressure. Although high blood pressure is known to increase the risk of stroke, the presence of high blood pressure and the concomitant presence of elevated Lp-PLΑ2 levels greatly increases the risk of stroke.
Who is the measurement of Lipoprotein Phospholipase Α2 for?
The measurement of Lipoprotein Phospholipase Α2 is aimed at people who are at high risk for cardiovascular disease because they may have two or more of the following risk factors:
- Family history of cardiovascular disease
- Diabetes mellitus
- Metabolic syndrome
- Kidney disease
- High cholesterol
- Taking medicines to lower blood lipids (eg statins)
- High blood pressure
- Diet high in sugar and processed carbohydrates
- Sedentary life
How can Lp-PLΑ2 levels be reduced?
There are several things that can be done to reduce both the overall risk of developing cardiovascular disease as well as Lp-PLΑ2 levels.
- Adopting a healthy diet can help reduce Lp-PLΑ2 levels. Consumption of more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and reduced consumption of fatty foods, leads to a decrease in Lp-PLΑ2.
- Exercise can also help lower Lp-PLΑ2 levels.
- Smoking cessation leads to a decrease in Lp-PLΑ2.
- Good dental and gum health helps. Periodontal disease can increase Lp-PLΑ2 levels.
- There are some medications as well as dietary supplements that can help lower Lp-PLΑ2 levels.
Lipoprotein Phospholipase Α2 (Lp-PLΑ2) promotes inflammation in the walls of blood vessels (inner lining) through the hydrolysis of oxidized LDL, directly contributing to the atherogenic process. Lipoprotein Phospholipase Α2 is an independent prognostic marker of cardiovascular disease. When combined with CRP measurement, the measurement of Lipoprotein Phospholipase Α2 significantly increases the prognostic value in determining the risk for a cardiovascullar event, especially in patients in whom other risks coexist.