A DNA test from a simple, non-invasive cheek swab can identify which APOE alleles an individual has. This test can be done at any age, even before any symptoms occur.
Our laboratory offers a DNA test which distinguishes between the three most common APOE alleles – e2, e3and e4. Individuals that have two APOE e2 alleles have an increased risk of hyperlipoproteinemia Type III and identification of this genotype is diagnostic of the disorder, but only if other disease symptoms are also present.
Many people who have the e2/e2 genotype do not suffer from hyperlipoproteinemia Type III, as other genetic, environmental and hormonal factors are required. These other factors are not fully understood.
Individuals with one or two APOE e4 alleles have an increased risk of elevated LDL-cholesterol, which contributes to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. However, other factors are also required before disease symptoms occur.
So although your APOE genotype alone will not determine whether or not you will suffer from blood cholesterol and sugar problems, it is a good indicator of an individual’s risk. A knowledge of this risk may be all that is needed to adopt a healthier lifestyle to minimize the risk of any complications.