According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death worldwide. While a few risk factors (eg, age, genetics) cannot be changed, some instances of heart disease can be prevented through lifestyle modifications, such as increasing physical activity, reducing stress, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding the use of alcohol and tobacco. Elevated lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] mediates myocardial infarction, stroke, and peripheral arterial disease. Over the past decade, data in subjects without previous CVD from epidemiological studies and meta-analyses, Mendelian randomization studies, and genome-wide association studies have conclusively shown that elevated Lp(a) levels are associated with a higher risk of CVD.2 An elevated level of Lp(a) is a cardiovascular risk factor, but currently is NOT included in routine lipid panel testing or as a one-time routine screening blood test.2,3 As a leading global medicines company, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation is committed to raising awareness for Lp(a) testing for all patients.
Nearly 18 million people died from cardiovascular diseases in 2019, a staggering figure that represents >32% of global deaths.1 In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women, with about 655,000 deaths annually.6 By making healthy choices, people can help maintain their cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar at normal levels, thus lowering their risk for heart disease.7 An emerging risk factor, lipoprotein(a) – known as lipoprotein “little a” or Lp(a)8 – is associated with a two- to four-fold increased risk of heart attacks.9-11 It can easily be measured by a blood test and it is estimated that 20% of people have elevated levels.15 Lp(a) levels are genetically determined (inherited) and there is growing evidence that high Lp(a) is linked to heart disease in teenagers and younger adults, with no known cardiovascular risks.2,9 It is estimated that <1% of patients with heart disease in the US had their Lp(a) measured in routine clinical practice.12-14 Novartis is searching for solutions to shine a light upon the importance of Lp(a) testing and to empower patients to advocate for testing not only for themselves, but also their loved ones, especially when a family member has an elevated Lp(a) level.
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