High cholesterol can be symptomless

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Regular screening and lifestyle changes can prevent complications

New Delhi, 01 April 2018: Most people with severe elevations in cholesterol are not treated with appropriate drugs. Less than 40% receive treatment, despite many screening and awareness programmes, according to a representative study reported in the American Heart Association’s journal


Markedly elevated levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol can put people at an increased risk of developing heart disease much earlier in life. It is a symptomless condition and therefore, it is imperative to undergo regular screening particularly if you have a family history or any marked risk factors.

Speaking about this, *Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), *said, “After a certain point, to much cholesterol starts to build up in the arteries causing them to harden – a condition known as atherosclerosis. This is also the starting point for some heart and blood flow problems. Such a buildup can narrow the arteries and make it harder for blood to flow through them. Further, it can also

lead to dangerous blood clots and inflammation causing heart attacks and strokes. Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a genetic disorder, characterized by high cholesterol, specifically very high LDL ‘bad cholesterol’ levels, and premature heart disease. Patients may develop premature cardiovascular disease at the age of 30 to 40.”

Cholesterol levels in the body are be measured by blood testing. In addition to cholesterol and its different types, triglyceride levels can also be included in a lipid (fat) profile.

Adding further, *Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP*, said, “The total cholesterol can vary by 4 to 11 percent within an individual due to multiple factors including stress, minor illness and posture. Values may also vary between different laboratories, with data suggesting that a single measurement of serum cholesterol can vary as much as 14 percent. Therefore, in an individual with “true” serum cholesterol concentration of 200 mg/dL the range of expected values is 172 to 228 mg/dL.”

Some tips from HCFI.

- It is important to eat a heart-healthy and cholesterol-lowering diet.

- Exercising for about 30 minutes a day can raise HDL levels (the good cholesterol). Those with any other underlying medical conditions should check with their health-care providers about what kind of exercise they should undertake.

- Aerobic exercise can help in improving insulin sensitivity, HDL, and triglyceride levels and may thus reduce the risk of heart disease.

- Smoking increases HDL levels and therefore, you should quit immediately.

- Losing even a little bit of weight can help in managing cholesterol levels.