High levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) as well as low level HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol) in blood can all lead to atherosclerosis, a condition where plaques build up inside inside blood vessels. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances. Plaque narrows or even blocks blood vessels. If this happens in the coronary arteries which supply blood to the heart muscles, it will lead to coronary heart disease. Similarly, brain vessels could also be blocked because of plaque build-up, and this could cause a stroke. Those who have had a severe stroke could end up with brain injuries or even death.

Coronary heart disease and stroke are one of the major causes of death in Hong Kong. This makes early diagnosis and treatment of high blood lipid vital.

According to National Cholesterol Education Program ATP III1, the classification of blood cholesterol and triglycerides is:

Prevention and Treatment

A balanced diet and healthy lifestyle, combined with appropriate medications, can help you control your blood lipid, which in turn lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.

1. To prevent high blood lipid/cholesterol, start with establishing a healthy lifestyle

2. Medications:

If you have been prescribed cholesterol-lowering medicatioins, you should always follow the prescriptions. Statins, a commonly used medication, can help patients reduce their “bad” cholesterol levels and lift their “good” cholesterol levels, which in turn lower their risk of heart disease and stroke.

3. Self-monitoring and regular health check:

You should monitor your blood lipid/ cholesterol, and have regular health check for the early detection of heart disease and stroke, especially for those who have a family history.

Pro-Cardio’s dietitian and personal trainer has designed “Lifestyle Modification Program” to help people control risk factors by a healthy diet and lifestyle, which in turn lower risk of developing chronic diseases including heart disease and stroke. To learn more, please go to: Lifestyle Modification Program

If you have any enquiries, please feel free to contact us on 2779 8388 or email us at info@pro-cardio.com. Alternatively, you can also leave our specialist doctors, registered dietitians and fitness trainer questions on our online Interactive Forum.

Reference: Executive Summary of the Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III). JAMA 2001;285(19):2486-2497. URL: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/cholesterol/atp3xsum.pdf