Alpro Pharmacy teamed up with AstraZeneca on a virtual health talk session entitled ‘Cholesterol is Too Important to Ignore’ to shed light on the prevalent issue of cholesterol among the Malaysian public.
Cardiac-related deaths continue to climb, hitting the highest mark across the nation and it simply cannot be overlooked any longer.
Based on the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2019, four out of 10 people (38.1 percent) or eight million of the adult Malaysian population have high cholesterol. This encompasses 63.4 percent of individuals aged between 70 to 74.
Though cholesterol does tend to increase as one ages, anyone can develop high cholesterol levels regardless of age group or gender. Unfortunately, there are no warning signs.
Cholesterol, according to a pharmacist at the Alpro Community Pharmacy, Yoo Keat Jiu, is generally associated with one’s eating habit and lifestyle pattern. The link between high blood pressure or diabetes and high cholesterol goes in both directions. However, other health conditions such as kidney disease, liver disease and hypothyroidism also play a role in the level of cholesterol in one’s body.
Genetics, family history of coronary heart disease or stroke can also increase one’s risk of cholesterol related conditions.
Although the condition is more likely to occur in older adults, it is also a common problem that plagues young people. However, fret not! It is preventable.
“Therapeutic lifestyle such as engaging in healthy eating and regular physical activity, abstaining from alcohol and smoking is the key to maintaining a healthy weight which is essential in preventing cholesterol.
“It’s been studied that regular exercise with at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week can reduce the death rate by 20 to 30 percent. For weight loss, increase moderate intensity exercise with strength training, two to three times a week,” she said.
In a nutshell, a diet high in saturated fats can trigger a rise in LDL (low lipoprotein also known as bad cholesterol) in the blood. Hence, consume less dairy products (milk, commercial pastries and pies, butter, lard), processed meat (sausages, burgers, nuggets)/red meat, and more high-fibre food like vegetables, fruits, and beans and nuts for a healthier You.
Can cholesterol be reversed permanently?
Keat Jiu explained that medications or a few lifestyle modifications including a healthy and balanced diet, keeping active and limiting alcohol consumption can improve cholesterol levels.
“Even if your cholesterol level has returned to normal, you shouldn’t stop the medication without a doctor’s advice as some might require statin (a cholesterol-lowering drug) to reduce the LDL in order to prevent any complications like heart attack, atherosclerosis and stroke.
“Everyone above the age of 30 should have a full lipid profile taken and those who are at higher risk should have a lipid profile done earlier. If you have high cholesterol, it should be repeated every two to six months, preferably after intervention. As for diabetic patients, it is recommended to screen for cholesterol levels at least once a year,” she stressed.