If my cholesterol is less than 200mg/dl, within normal limits, should I worry about heart illness?

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When 45-year-old Arjun Mishra* was introduced into the emergency room with a heart assault and required instant stenting, he was perturbed. For solely every week earlier than, his full physique check-up experiences had proven that his whole cholesterol was less than 200mg/dL. But the fact is that optimum cholesterol ranges don’t all the time assure heart well being as a result of the proportion of dangerous cholesterol within the bloodstream can nonetheless result in plaque build-up within the arteries.

“No cholesterol restrict could be thought-about protected. The commonest mistake that individuals make is to think about the full cholesterol depend as a measure of excellent well being. But the actual fact of the matter is that you need to see particular person elements, notably the LDL (dangerous cholesterol) depend, the proportion of HDL (good cholesterol) and the HDL:LDL ratio. Indians have a low HDL. They say 50mg/dL is preferrred to neutralise LDL however in Indians, that stage by no means crosses 45 mg/dL. Which is why we should solely concentrate on the LDL ranges and maintain them low. In truth, during the last three a long time, the protected restrict for LDL has been pushed down and for Indians, who’re genetically vulnerable to cardiac circumstances, the LDL ranges are the one concern,” says Dr Balbir Singh, Chairman, Cardiac Sciences, Cardiology, Cardiac, Electrophysiology-Pacemaker, Max Hospital, Saket.

What’s the most secure LDL quantity that is required?

“Internationally, they like LDL ranges to be less than 70 mg/dL however for Indians, I would say less than 50 mg/dL. Heart illness amongst Indians is compounded by further danger elements like household historical past, smoking, stress, hypertension and diabetes. So many younger Indians are getting a stent in early ages,” he says.

The different worrisome issue is triglycerides. “LDL ranges must be reworked for some individuals together with co-morbidities, excessive triglycerides and physique weight. Triglycerides are blood fats, which together with cholesterol, trigger plaque build-up. Therefore, each triglycerides and LDL ranges must be considerably decrease,” says Dr Singh.

In truth, the Johns Hopkins suggestions say that LDL could be even extra dangerous in girls in comparison with males. “This is an issue as a result of girls’s cholesterol ranges can fluctuate fairly a bit after menopause and have a tendency to extend with age, placing them at higher danger of heart illness and stroke. Knowing your cholesterol numbers and tips on how to management them is a giant step towards staying wholesome,” it says.

“The LDL particles like to stay to the liner of your arteries, like cleaning soap scum in pipes. As it sticks there, it generates an inflammatory response and your physique begins changing it into plaque. Plaque in your blood vessels makes them stiffer and narrower, proscribing blood stream to very important organs reminiscent of your mind and heart muscle, resulting in hypertension. Additionally, chunks can break off and trigger a heart assault or a stroke. And guess what? This build-up can begin as early as your 20s,” say the Johns Hopkins tips.

Dr Singh says Indian tips are totally different for this exact cause. “Very low LDL ranges can stop a lot of cardio-vascular occasions. In excessive circumstances we should work in direction of the less than 30 mg/dL marker. And we have to begin lipid-lowering drug therapies early on in addition to optimistic way of life adjustments for these in danger.”

What could be the preventive protocol?

“I come throughout many sufferers who’ve normal cholesterol ranges however are nonetheless at a excessive danger of heart illness. This is due to many causes – they’re people who smoke, have a nerve-racking life, stay a sedentary way of life, are diabetic, have hypertension, have a household historical past of heart illness. Usually in sufferers with less cholesterol, we take a look at all these danger elements collectively after which decide if we have to do additional testing. This may embody a CT scan of the heart, a treadmill take a look at and a carotid ultrasound. People suppose that simply because their cholesterol is normal, they don’t seem to be prone to heart illness. This is not right. It is a false impression and even those that are match however smoke excessively and drink an excessive amount of must get screened each six months. Those who’re overweight or don’t train recurrently are undoubtedly in danger. Even if their cholesterol ranges are normal, they should religiously stroll for half-hour, which may considerably cut back the danger of heart illness,” says Dr Manish Bansal, Director, Clinical and Preventive Cardiology, Heart Institute, Medanta Hospital, Gurgaon.

(*Name modified to guard id)

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