The classic cardiovascular risk markers are LDL-C, HDL-C, and triglycerides, but there are many more established and emerging markers. This course will cover some of the more established markers and the ones that are becoming more commonly measured in the clinical laboratory. These include apolipoprotein A1/apolipoprotein B100, Lp(a), oxidized LDL, LpPLA2, hsCRP, and lipoprotein particle size and concentration. Other novel markers will be mentioned, but a comprehensive list is not possible, given the depth of this field of research.
It is important to remember that the association between a cardiovascular risk marker and actually having or developing cardiovascular disease is a statistical one. If a patient has a particular risk marker that is abnormal, it means the probability of developing cardiovascular disease is higher. It does not mean that he or she is certain to develop cardiovascular disease or even that the individual will eventually develop disease if given enough time. Conversely, if an individual does not have a particular cardiovascular risk marker present it does not guarantee protection against cardiovascular disease. We must always remember that a percentage of individuals who have cardiovascular events like myocardial infarction and stroke, will not have abnormal risk markers.