Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Say what? APoB

 Listening to Dr. Peter Attia on a podcast today (he has a new book so he's been on several), he was discussing the 3 most important things for preventing heart disease--the #1 cause of death.  1.  Blood pressure (he recommends 120/80)--check.  2.  No smoking--check.  and 3. APoB.  Say what? Had to look that one up.  I don't see it on my lab reports.  Apparently, neither have most people--even doctors.  Here's what I found on a website called Levels.

What is the ApoB Test?

"The ApoB test measures your body’s level of Apolipoprotein B-100 (also simply known as ApoB). ApoB is a protein that helps carry cholesterol and other important compounds through your bloodstream to the tissues that need them. Testing for this protein helps doctors quantify the number of potentially dangerous cholesterol-carrying particles in your body, thus giving insight into your risk of heart disease. . . 

"To understand how ApoB predicts heart disease risk, we first need to step back and understand cholesterol. Cholesterol is a waxy substance, a type of fat (lipid) that’s essential for human life. It’s used by cells as a structural material (to build cell membranes and insulate nerve cells) and as a building block for important hormones (e.g. cortisol, estrogen, and testosterone). Every cell can make its own cholesterol, but it’s produced in the largest quantities by the intestines (which absorb and repackage some cholesterol from dietary sources) and the liver. These organs then export cholesterol to other cells and tissues via the bloodstream. But this step presents the body with a challenge: Cholesterol is hydrophobic. It does not disperse easily in the blood but instead clumps together like oil in water. The solution is a particle called a lipoprotein—a molecule that encases cholesterol in a hydrophilic shell so that it can travel through the blood in small, discrete parcels.

There are many different types of lipoproteins that sequentially change into each other as triglycerides are offloaded. At the beginning of this chain is the Very Low-Density Lipoprotein (VLDL) molecule. VLDLs are formed when your liver bundles cholesterol along with triglycerides (another fatty substance that stores energy) into a large, protein-wrapped molecule. This molecule is “low-density” in the sense that it floats in blood—it is buoyant. The VLDL is then sent out into your bloodstream, where it circulates until it encounters a cell with an open receptor (typically a smooth muscle cell or fat cell). The VLDL then deposits its triglycerides into the cell, which can store them or use them for immediate energy." continues at web site. Important to read.

. . . "ApoB can give you critical information about your long-term heart health. This may be especially important for people with a personal or family history of heart disease, as well as people with a current heart disease diagnosis who are monitoring their condition."

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