Apolipoprotein -A1 (APO-A1) Test

apolipoprotein a1 test

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

What is apolipoprotein A1 (APO-A1)?

Apolipoprotein A-I (Apo-A1) is an essential protein that constitutes 70% of protein content in high-density lipoprotein (HDL). It is the most significant protein in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) as it performs an important role in the metabolism of lipids.

Apo-A1 levels in the body are connected to cardiovascular disease, and the ratio of ApoB: ApoA1 is indicative of that risk. This ratio is indicative of the balance between anti-atherogenic and atherogenic lipoproteins. Compared to conventional lipid tests, this ratio is a reliable indicator of the risk of cardiovascular disease.  

Apolipoprotein A assists HDL in the removal of harmful cholesterol from the body. In other words, Apolipoprotein-A1 helps in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

What is apolipoprotein-A1 test and how does it help?

This is a diagnostic blood examination to measure the amount of apolipoprotein-A 1 in your blood. This information helps your doctor evaluate your risk of cardiovascular disease and advise you accordingly.

Apo-A1 test is not used as commonly as the lipid profile test, which measures both HDL and LDL cholesterol. Studies have shown that Apolipoprotein A test can provide a good evaluation of the risk of  heart disease.

This test helps look at ways to reduce your risk of heart disease especially if you have a strong family history of CVD
This test is used to assess if your level of Apo-A1 is adequate enough, especially if the levels of HDL-C high-density lipoprotein is low.

Does this test have other names?

The Apolipoprotein test is known by other names such as Apo-A1, and Apolipoprotein A1.

Why do I need this test?

There are many reasons why you are asked to undergo the Apolipoprotein A1 test. Some of the reasons are as follows:

– If you are under the high-risk category for cardiovascular disease, your Apo A1 levels in the blood need to be checked.

– This test is recommended if you have suffered a heart attack or are in the throes of a heart ailment.

– Apo A-I test may be ordered along with other tests especially if people have made lifestyle changes to reduce dietary fat and are undergoing treatment to lower lipids. These tests can point out if lifestyle changes are effective.

Do I need to undergo any other tests along with this test?

Along with the Apolipoprotein A1 test, there is a likely chance that you will be asked to undergo the following blood examinations. Evaluating these test results along with the level of Apolipoprotein A can provide a complete picture of inherent health risks.

– Apolipoprotein B
– Total cholesterol
Lipid profile
– HDL cholesterol
– LDL cholesterol

Does this test need any prior preparation?

It is good to keep your doctor informed about your complete medical history along with the vitamins and supplements you are taking. You should also inform your doctor if you smoke. If you are on any class of medicines such as diuretics, hormone medicines or statins, make sure you convey this information to your doctor.

Do I need to fast before the Apolipoprotein –A1 test?

No additional test preparation is needed; however, since this test may be performed at the same time as a complete lipid profile, fasting for at least 12 hours may be required.

How is this test performed?

A blood sample is needed to perform the apolipoprotein-A1 test. Blood is drawn from a vein in your hand or arm using a needle.

– During the start of the test, an elastic band is tied around the site on your hand or forearm. This helps easily spot the vein as it swells up with blood with the pressure from the band.

– The lab technician inserts a needle into the vein. The required sample of blood is drawn out into the tube attached to the needle.

– A cotton swab or gauze is placed at the site where blood was drawn to prevent bleeding and bruising.

– The blood sample is sent to the laboratory for testing.

In most cases, it is a very simple process and people just experience a stinging sensation. In rare cases, this can cause bruising and infection. Few report feeling lightheaded after a blood sample is drawn.

What are the factors that could impact my test results?

The presence of certain medical conditions, or the drugs you take or even certain lifestyle patterns can influence the test results. The test results can be altered if you smoke cigarettes. Further, the intake of following drugs  can influence your test results:

– Diuretics
– Statins
– Niacin
– Drugs that contain androgens
– Drugs that contain estrogen

The test results also show high levels of apolipoprotein A  if you suffer from the following medical conditions :

– Familial hyperalphalipoproteinemia
– Loss of weight
– Suffer from a genetic disorder called CETP (which is cholesterol ester transfer protein deficiency)

Your apolipoprotein A levels could be abnormally low if you suffer from the following conditions:

– Kidney problems or a cluster of kidney disorders called Nephritic syndrome
-Severe renal failure
-Tangier disease, which is a genetic disorder that reduces the HDL levels
-Liver problems or Hepatocellular disorders
-Narrowing or hardening of arteries carrying blood, which leads to cardiovascular disease
– Cholestasis, a condition that arises due to disturbances in the bile flow from the liver

What is the reference range for these blood tests?

The reference range of Apo-A1 differs according to gender and is indicated below:

Women: > than 140 mg/dL (1.4 g/L)
Men: > than 120 mg/dL (1.2 g/L)

How long does it take to get the Apo-A1 test results?

Most laboratories are able to process the test results of Apo-A1 in 36 hours although it can vary depending on the laboratories.

How do I interpret test results?

Your healthcare provider is in a better position to interpret the test results. The result differs among individuals and is dependent upon medical history, age, gender, and other factors.

– Reduced apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1) level points to a high risk of coronary artery disease.

– If the ApoA1 is less than 25 mg/dL, it points to the presence of a genetic disorder.

– The ApoA1 and Apo B ratio is a key determiner of the risk of CVD

Is there anything else I should know?

Doctors do not ask for ApoA1 tests as a routine blood examination. They will need to evaluate the best use of this test as well as others that are considered as indicators of cardiac disease.

Apo-A1 offers additional inputs, especially in special situations. Yet the Apo-A1 test will not replace the routine lipid tests that are commonly performed.

The Apo-A1 blood test shows the level of HDL in the serum. Women generally portray elevated HDL levels so they correspondingly portray a high level of Apo-A1

Is there anything I can do to increase my Apo-A1 levels?

All measures intended to increase HDL levels also impact the levels of Apo-A1. The best way to increase Apo-A1 levels is through regular exercise. It is equally important to maintain your weight, decrease the intake of saturated fat and include more greens and fiber in the diet.  This can also reduce your risk of lifestyle diseases and cardiovascular illnesses.

Can the Apo-A1 test be performed in the Doctor’s outpatient clinic?

The Apo-A1 blood test is performed in laboratories that have special equipment.  Therefore, the blood samples are sent to a reference laboratory for evaluation.

How much does the Apo-A1 test cost in India?

Those who wish to undergo the Apolipoprotein –A1 blood test may need to spend about Rs 675 for the test.


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