News / Health

WHO Study Finds Many with High Cholesterol Go Untreated

WHO Study Finds Many with High Cholesterol Go Untreated
WHO Study Finds Many with High Cholesterol Go Untreated

Multimedia

Vidushi Sinha

A major study by the World Health Organization shows that most people with high cholesterol levels around the world are not getting the treatment they need, to avoid such serious diseases as heart attacks and strokes.  And the authors of the study - the largest ever undertaken - say the problem is especially serious in the developing world.

The connection between high cholesterol and heart attacks is not new. But the new global study serves as yet another warning about the growing epidemic of  untreated high cholesterol levels, which can cause cardiovascular disease.

The study was done on 147 million people - and found an increasing incidence of high levels of cholesterol the world over. Even more worrying, the researchers say, is that many of those patients are going untreated.

In Japan, for example, 53 per cent of those diagnosed with high cholesterol did not get treatment. While in Thailand, 78 per cent of those surveyed were never even diagnosed.

Experts are stressing the basics yet again. Dr Chelsea Kidwell, Director of the Georgetown Stroke Center in Washington, said "As developing countries adopt a western diet - the cholesterol levels are increasing so people need to understand that high cholesterol is a significant risk factor for stroke and heart disease."

A high level of so-called "bad" cholesterol causes plaque in the bloodstream, which can slow down the blood flow to the heart. If not enough blood and oxygen reach the heart, it can result in a heart attack. If the blockage keeps blood from getting to the brain, it can cause a stroke.  On its own, high cholesterol does not cause any symptoms so many times people are unaware of the problem until a stroke or heart attack hits.

"A simple blood test can tell you where your cholesterol levels are and we have target ranges that we know decreases the risk of stroke and heart attack for example the bad type of cholesterol we would like to keep it under 100 and that minimizes the risk of having an event," said Dr. Kidwell.

Cardiovascular disease kills more than 17 million people every year and WHO says 80 percent of these deaths occur in developing countries.

Dr Joseph Sabik of Cleveland Clinic says the risk can be reduced by making simple lifestyle changes.

"If you’re someone that’s overweight - you gotta lose weight. If you’re sedentary, you have to exercise. If you have a strong family history and the genetics are there. You have to (take aggressive action) to take care of yourself," he said.

Lifestyle changes may not benefit everyone. Medication may become necessary for those whose cholesterol levels are very high.

But Dr. Kidwell says medication may be out of reach for many people. "Globally they are probably not going to be affordable in some of the developing countries and that is an ongoing problem that the health care community needs to address," she said.

Global health experts say that along with improved screening and treatment for cholesterol people should eat less salt and fewer saturated fats, and avoid tobacco. They believe these steps can help stem the rising tide of global cholesterol levels.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs