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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid