For a long time, an aspirin a day has been recommended to prevent heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases. My patients ask me all of the time if they should be taking it. Several years ago, I would have said yes, however there are some people who are at increased risk of stroke and bleeding from taking aspirin. Carriers of certain genes don’t benefit from aspirin and if they take it, they are increased risk of bleeding in their brains causing stroke or in their stomachs causing blood loss or life threatening hemorrhages. I don’t want to recommend it to everyone without knowing who will benefit and who is at risk. Now there is an answer. A genetic test that can determine if you have the LPA gene variant and if aspirin will help you or hurt you.
Personalize medicine because you are unique
The standard of care usually works on 80% of the population. It’s a statistical analysis. However you are not a statistic and you may not be in the 80% of the population that is standard. You are unique. What if you are in the 20% of the population that does not benefit from a therapy or worse yet, the 20% that can be harmed by a therapy. Personalized medicine has the answer. The answer is in your unique genetic code.
Personalized medicine uses an individual’s genetic profile to guide decisions made in regard to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Knowledge of a patient’s genetic profile and genetic variants called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP’s) can help doctors select the safest and most effective medication or therapy.
The LPA gene determines your response to aspirin and risk of cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular diseases are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels such as heart attack, stroke, and blockages in arteries. Genes code and determine your height, hair and eye color. They also determine how you respond to medication and your risk of developing disease. These gene variants are called single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNP’s for short. The LPA gene codes for a protein that is associated with your risk of cardiovascular disease and your response to aspirin.
- If you have a specific variant of the LPA (4399MET) gene you have double the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- An aspirin a day substantially reduces the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stenosis of arteries and stroke in people who have the LPA gene variant.
- If you don’t have the LPA gene you are 15 times more likely to have bleeding episodes or hemorrhages in your stomach or brain.
It’s simple to personalize your care
You can see why knowing if you have the LPA gene variant or not can help you decide whether or not aspirin will help you or harm you. A simple cheek swab and genetic analysis can determine if you have the LPA gene and if an aspirin a day will keep the doctor away. Some insurance providers may partially reimburse you for this test. The information is vital and can save you from the heartache of a stroke, heart attack or hemorrhage in your stomach or brain. Get tested so you can live a long, healthy life.
There are many other actionable genetic panels and specialized tests to assist you and your doctor in personalized care. Invest in your health by consulting with a physician who has expertise in personalized medicine.