Apolipoprotein A-I

Other names: Apo A

Apolipoproteins are components of lipoproteins; they are responsible for transporting lipids around the body in the blood. There are two different forms of apolipoprotein A; Apo A-I and Apo A-II; Apo A-I is much more abundant than Apo A-II.

Why is the test used?

The Apo A test is used to measure the levels of Apo A-I in the blood; the test is used to assess whether or not an individual has sufficient levels of Apo A-I in their bloodstream. The test is usually used to assess whether or not a person is at risk of developing coronary heart disease; other tests may also be carried out to determine the risk.

Doctors usually use this test alongside a lipid profile test; this may be done as a routine test or as a means of monitoring the condition of a patient who has a high risk of developing heart disease. Risk factors for heart disease include obesity, family history of heart disease, smoking and heavy drinking, a sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure and diabetes.

A doctor may also order this test for somebody who has made certain changes to their lifestyle or started on a course of treatment to see if any positive changes are taking place.

How is the test performed?

The test is done using a blood sample, which is collected from a vein in the arm; a needle is inserted into the vein and the blood is collected in a syringe. Once the sample has been collected, it will be bottled, labelled with the patient’s name and sent away for analysis.

In some cases only a small drop of blood will be analysed; this is called the finger prick test and involves pricking the finger and collecting the sample. This test is usually used at mobile health units because they have portable analysis devices.

What do the results mean?

In most cases, an increase in the level of Apo A-I is not something to worry about; however, increased levels of Apo A-I may indicate the following health conditions:

  • Increased risk of coronary heart disease
  • Genetic disorders (which cause a deficiency in Apo A-I)
  • Chronic renal failure

Taking certain drugs and medications, including beta blockers, diuretics, progestins and androgens may also cause levels to decrease. Smoking and untreated diabetes may also cause levels of Apo A-I to decrease.

Taking certain drugs and medications, pregnancy and physical exercise may cause levels of Apo A-I to increase.

Specific Blood Tests

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