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HYPERCHOLESTEROLAEMIA RESOURCE CENTRE
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance made in the liver and other cells in the body. It is also found in certain foods, such as meats, dairy products and eggs. Whilst the body does need some cholesterol for proper functioning, too much of it causes health problems such as coronary heart disease.
Importance of Treating Hypercholesterolaemia
The screening, prevention and treatment of hyperlipidaemia is of great importance as it is a major risk factor for Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). CHD has become a major health problem facing communities in the developed world. In Singapore, CHD is the leading cause of death, second only to cancer.
The Role of Lipids In Coronary Heart Disease
1. Total Cholesterol: The risk of CHD begins when Total Cholesterol levels rise above 150 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L), and this risk escalates sharply when Total Cholesterol exceeds 200 mg/dL (5.2 mmol/L). The type of cholesterol which is most significant, is the LDL-cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”) component.
2. LDL-cholesterol: Too much of LDL-cholesterol causes development of atherosclerotic deposits in the walls of arteries, thus increasing the risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke.
3. HDL-cholesterol: Commonly referred to as the “good cholesterol”, it has a powerful protective effect against CHD. One should aim to increase HDL levels via exercise and moderate alcohol intake. Obesity, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle all decrease HDL levels.
4. Triglycerides: The association between Triglycerides and CHD is less well established, however, their levels should be controlled in patients with diabetes and high CHD risk.
Risk Factors for Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)
The risk factors for coronary heart disease include the modifiable risk factors (ones which we can do something about), and the non-modifiable risk factors (ones which we can do nothing about).
Modifiable Risk Factors
Non-Modifiable Risk Factors
• High Cholesterol Levels
• Diabetes Mellitus
• Sedentary Lifestyle
• Others - elevated homocysteine, lipoprotein(a) and C-reactive protein
• Increasing Age
• Male Gender
• Ethnicity (Indians at higher risk)
• Family History of Premature CHD