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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More