Is your cardiovascular treatment strategy best for your specific genetic composition?
What is ApoE and what does it do?
Apolipoprotein E (or ApoE) is one of the molecules call lipoproteins that are formed by combining protein with fats (lipids). Lipoproteins are responsible for packaging cholesterol and other fats and carrying them through the bloodstream. Apo E belongs to the class of lipoproteins called very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) that remove excess cholesterol from the blood and carry it to the liver for processing. Maintaining normal levels of cholesterol is essential for the prevention of disorders that affect the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular diseases), including heart attack and stroke. Apo E supports lipid transport and injury repair in the brain and its abnormalities have been associated with Alzheimer disease and age-related macular degeneration.
What does ApoE gene do? Why test for it?
The ApoE gene is a piece of DNA located on chromosome 19 that provides instructions for the cell machinery for making Apolipoprotein E. There are at least three slightly different versions of the APOE gene. Each of these versions influences the risk of development cardiovascular and other diseases in a different way which may affect the way you may respond to statin therapy, dietary fat intake, and other risk factors (for example smoking and alcohol consumption). Genotyping determines your version of the ApoE gene and may have important implications for your treatment strategies and preventative measures to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
What is the chance I might have an abnormal ApoE gene?
About 45% of individuals carry one or more of the high risk variants within the ApoE gene.