Apolipoprotein B100 Test

What is the apolipoprotein B100 test about?

We will be discussing the apolipoprotein B100 test. Apolipoprotein B100 is the essential protein present in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. The Apolipoprotein B100 test determines the quantity of the LDL cholesterol that is contained in the blood. Most often, LDL is also called the “bad cholesterol” due to the fact that increased levels of this LDL can result in injury to the blood vessels and even the heart. Every bit of LDL contains a copy of apoB100, thus a measure of apoB100 gives an estimate of the number of LDL particles present in the blood.

Apolipoprotein B100 test
Photo Credit: USA TODAY

Why is the Apolipoprotein B100 test performed?

When one has a disease such as heart disease, high cholesterol level or hyperlipidemia running in their families, a doctor usually requests for the Apolipoprotein B100 test. It can also be requested in conditions with high fat levels in the blood such as increased blood levels of cholesterol or triglycerides.

Increased levels of fat in the blood can increase the likelihood of developing heart diseases and atherosclerosis. This test may also be ordered when the patient is undergoing treatment actively for hyperlipidemia or hypercholesterolemia. This test guides the doctor and helps to tell how effective the response to treatment is. When the treatment is potent enough, the apoB100 levels revert back to normal and if it does not return to normal, another treatment plan may be needed.

Preparation for the apolipoprotein B100 test?

Instructions are usually given by the doctor prior to performing the test. A partial fast where food is restricted but water is allowed just a few hours before performing the test is usually what happens most of the time. Always ask the doctor for the duration of the fast. Also, inform the doctor about any drugs you are taking whether they are prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications, or supplements. Any medication that is likely to disrupt the test results is restricted by the doctor.

How is the apolipoprotein B100 test conducted?

This Apolipoprotein B100 test procedure involves withdrawing blood from a vein resident in the hand or arm and sending to a laboratory for testing. The test is conducted via the following steps:

  • A band or tourniquet which is tight enough to enhance the visibility of the veins is tied around the arm.
  • The chosen site is cleaned with disinfectant
  • Insert the needle into the vein, note that a slight prick or sting may be felt when the needle is inserted. Blood is collected in a tube or container that is attached to the end of the needle.
  • When the amount of blood collected is enough, the needle is removed and slight pressure applied to the site that was punctured for some seconds
  • A clean bandage or gauze is placed over the region where the blood was gotten
  • The blood sample is then properly labeled and sent to a laboratory for testing

Risks involved in the apolipoprotein B100 test

The risks associated with this tests are minimal and are mainly those that are encountered during the process of blood sample collection. The major side effect is slight pain felt during or shortly after the test. Other risks that may occur though rarely include:

  • Numerous needle sticks due to difficulty in obtaining blood samples such as that noticed in obese patients
  • Blood loss at the puncture site
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Blood accumulation underneath the skin known as a hematoma
  • Infection at the puncture site

Interpreting the apolipoprotein B100 test results

The results gotten are laboratory-specific, this means that one laboratory may have their normal range which may differ from that of another laboratory. On a general note, the values of apoB100 considered as normal ranges from 40 to 125milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

Elevated levels of apoB100 can be linked to health conditions such as:

  • Familial combined hyperlipidemia: This is a genetic disorder that runs through generations. It is characterized by high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Diabetes: This is a condition that results from insulin deficiency which may be total or partial or from insulin resistance resulting in a high blood glucose level.
  • Hypothyroidism: A condition where the thyroid gland produces less than normal amounts of thyroid hormones.
  • Kidney disease
  • Medications such as diuretics, androgens or beta-blockers

These increased levels are indicative of high cholesterol which is a recognized risk factor for heart disease. This Apolipoprotein B100 test may be ordered alongside other lipid tests when one has a family history of heart disorders or if the blood levels of lipids are much. These tests help to predict the likelihood of developing a heart disease. The apoB100 test on its own may not accurately predict a heart disease. Though elevated LDL levels are common in those with heart disease, many people with the condition still have normal levels of LDL cholesterol.

Low apoB100 levels may be suggestive of the following disease conditions:

  • Hyperthyroidism, a condition where the thyroid glands produce more than normal amounts of thyroid hormones.
  • Reye’s syndrome, a condition characterized by swelling in the brain and liver that occurs suddenly, it is a rare condition
  • Abetalipoproteinaemia: A condition that makes the body unable to absorb dietary fats properly
  • Liver cirrhosis or liver scarring
  • Malnutrition

Irrespective of the test result, ensure that you speak with a doctor so that proper explanation can be made.

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