Doctor, do I have lipoprotein (a)?

I met Joyce today for a 2nd opinion. She told me about this conversation she'd had with her cardiologist:

"Doctor, do you think I could have lipoprotein (a)? I read about how it can cause heart attacks even when cholesterol is controlled."

"What does it matter? Even if you have it, there's nothing we can do about it. There's no treatment for it."

Joyce was understandably groping for some means to prevent her coronary disease from causing more danger. At 56, she'd already survived a heart attack that resulted in two stents to her left anterior descending. Around 9 months later, she received a 3rd stent to another artery.

Her doctor had put her on Pravachol and said that was enough. "We know that cholesterol causes heart disease and the Pravachol reduces it. Why do we need to know anything more?"

So Joyce came to me for another view. I explained to her that there are, in fact, several ways to deal with lipoprotein(a). It is, without a doubt, among the more difficult patterns to manage--but not impossible. In fact, we have a growing list of participants in the Track Your Plaque program who have stopped or reduced their heart scan scores.

I continue to be horrified at the level of ignorance that prevails among my colleagues, the cardiologists, and the primary care community. If your doctor gives you advice like this, get a new doctor.