High concentrations of lipoprotein-A, one of the “bad” variations of cholesterol, doubles the risk of strokes and heart attacks in patients with hypertension or persistently high blood pressure, American scientists have found. The work was published in the journal Hypertension, the press service of the American Heart Association (AHA) reported.
The researchers monitored the health of more than 6,600 people who participated in the MESA monitoring project between 2001 and 2017. The initiative aimed to study how atherosclerosis develops among different ethnic and racial groups. To do this, scientists periodically took blood samples from volunteers and tracked changes in their circulatory health.
In all, more than 800 MESA participants suffered heart attacks and strokes over 17 years of follow-up. It turned out that high concentrations of lipoprotein-A (Lp(a)) almost doubled the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
This occurred only when patients had already developed hypertension, whereas at normal blood pressure, high Lp(a) concentrations only increased the likelihood of developing heart and vascular failures by 9%. In contrast, even a small increase in the proportion of lipoprotein-A in hypertensive patients increased the risk of developing strokes and heart attacks by about 66%.
These differences, according to the researchers, suggest the presence of interactions between risk factors contributing to the development of heart and vascular disease that are not yet known to scientists. The researchers hope that further patient observations, as well as animal experiments, will help them understand why Lp(a) contributes particularly strongly to heart attacks and strokes in hypertensive patients.