Czech Republic is plagued by high cholesterol - a silent killerArticle
15. 09. 2022 Cardiology
High cholesterol is one of the main risk factors in the development of cardiovascular disease, and an unhealthy lifestyle or older age isn’t the only contributing factor. Almost half of the female population and more than 60 % of men aged 35 to 44 are affected by dyslipidaemia (imbalance of fats in the blood circulation). Overall, they affect more than half of the population. However, most people do not know their cholesterol levels, even though they can find out very easily at a preventive check-up with their doctor.
Cholesterol is produced by our body, but also partly ingested in the diet; its levels in our circulation are however mainly influenced by lifestyle. It is a component of all cells in the body as it is a crucial building block of cell membranes, and plays an important role in the production of hormones as well as for the production of vitamin D after sun exposure to the skin. However, elevated levels can harm the body, as they are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Elevated cholesterol levels cause the blood vessels to clog, narrow and then become damaged gradually. This also increases the risk of blood clots, which can cause heart attacks and strokes. For a large proportion of those affected, this is a fatal or life-altering event.
What raises blood cholesterol levels?
The deposition of cholesterol in the blood vessels itself does not hurt. The disease usually manifests in complications such as myocardial infarction, stroke and lower limb ischaemia. "The cause can be mainly due to an unsuitable diet, hereditary factors, obesity, but also other diseases such as diabetes or thyroid disease. Treatment of hypercholesterolaemia is usually lifelong and cannot be discontinued once optimal target values are reached. During treatment, it is essential for patients to learn to live with the disease and adapt their lifestyle to it," says Dr Pavel Poláček, MD, cardiologist at Canadian Medical, part of the EUC medical group.
Old age is not a prerequisite
High cholesterol (hypercholesterolaemia) is not just a concern for older patients. Studies have shown that elevated cholesterol levels have already been measured in the 45 to 54 age group, in 70% of men and 61% of women. Abnormal cholesterol was also found in 61% of men and almost 50% of women in the 35 to 44 age group. Surveys also show that high-risk figures are also found in people of younger ages and these findings should definitely not be overlooked.
A healthy lifestyle is key
It is important to reduce the adverse effects of high cholesterol through appropriate prevention. As part of a preventive check-up, your GP will also check the cholesterol level in the blood. "The most effective prevention is not to quit smoking, watch your body weight and fat intake, limit your alcohol and salt intake, and eat more fruit and vegetables. Including regular physical activity in your routine is also advisable, such as running, walking, swimming or cycling. It is also important to try to limit stress," adds Dr Pavel Poláček, MD.
Healthy heart and blood vessels
Having your blood cholesterol levels checked regularly is an integral part of prevention. "Prevention can only be effective if all individual risks or causes of development are identified. These include elevated cholesterol levels," explains Petr Podroužek, MD, CSc, medical director of EUC Laboratories.
You can have your heart and blood vessel health tested at EUC Laboratories as part of the "Healthy Heart and Blood Vessels" package. "It is important to come fasted (on an empty stomach, not having eaten or smoked for about 12 hours before the blood sample). After the blood is taken, the results will be available during the next working day. In addition to the results of each test, the patient will also learn the appropriate reference limits for their age group. If the results deviate from the reference limits, we always recommend consulting a doctor," adds Petr Podroužek, MD, CSc.