News / Health

    Major Study Finds Most People With Cholesterol Go Untreated

    Coordinator of WHO’s Chronic Diseases and Health promotion division, Dr. Shanthi Mendis (file photo)
    Coordinator of WHO’s Chronic Diseases and Health promotion division, Dr. Shanthi Mendis (file photo)
    Lisa Schlein

    A major study published by the World Health Organization shows most people with high cholesterol levels are not getting the treatment they need.  This is the largest study ever undertaken, involving 147 million people in England, Germany, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, Scotland, Thailand and the United States.   

    The study finds a majority of people who have high cholesterol go untreated, which is adding to the growing epidemic of chronic diseases, such as heart attack and stroke.

    For example, the data shows 78 percent of those who have high cholesterol in Thailand have not been diagnosed.  And, 53 percent of people in Japan have been diagnosed, but not treated.

    Coordinator of WHO’s Chronic Diseases and Health promotion division, Dr. Shanthi Mendis, says high cholesterol now afflicts more people in poor countries than in rich countries.  And, this can be seen in the so-called treatment gap, which, she says would be much higher in developing countries than in the wealthier nations.

    She says one reason is people in the poorer countries do not recognize they should get tested for blood cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar after age 40.

    “Second, their health systems are either weak or accessing health systems is quite expensive in countries and it is not in all countries that access to health care is affordable," said Mendis. "Even in high-income countries there are large segments of people in some high income countries who do not have access to even essential services, for example these tests.”  

    Doctors around the world say high cholesterol levels often lead to cardiovascular diseases which are the world’s biggest killers.  They claim more than 17 million lives every year.  That is around one-third of global deaths.  WHO says 80 percent of these deaths occur in the developing world.

    Dr. Mendis says simple lifestyle changes such as avoiding tobacco use, regular physical activity and healthy diets can help prevent heart disease and stroke.  

    She says medication to lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure may be necessary if the risk is very high.  But, she notes too many people are not diagnosed early enough to detect this.  

    She says early diagnosis of cholesterol would be a very good buy.

    “When I say a good buy, it gives you a good return for investment because if you do not do it, a significant number of these people will end up either with a heart attack or a stroke and that is going to be very costly, not only to the individual, but also to the society and governments," she said.

    The study says cholesterol-lowering medication is widely available, highly effective and can play a role in reducing cardiovascular disease around the world.  The study’s authors say these drugs are relatively cheap.

    But, Dr. Mendis notes a drug, which might cost $3.00 in a wealthy country, is simply not affordable for the millions of people around the world who live on less than $2.00 a day.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora