High cholesterol causes heart attack and stroke, but few control it- Corriere.it

from Antonella Sparvoli

In our country, more than one in three deaths is attributable to cardiovascular diseases which represent the leading cause of death for both men and women. The effects of high cholesterol are underestimated and sometimes diet and drugs are not enough

High cholesterol is one of the greatest enemies for the heart, but it is a pity that more than one in four Italians underestimate it and that one in three people believe that the risk essentially concerns those who have already had cardiovascular problems. Still, less than one in two people know that it is LDL cholesterol (which is not surprisingly usually referred to as “bad” cholesterol) that is harmful to our health.

The importance of prevention

These are some of the data that emerged from a SWG survey (for Sanofi), presented on the eve of World Heart Day 2022 (29 September), to reiterate the importance of prevention. “In our country, more than one in three deaths is attributable to cardiovascular diseases, which are the leading cause of death for both men and women – points out Emanuela Folco, president of the Italian Foundation for the Heart (Fipc) which for over 30 years has been committed to promoting knowledge of cardiovascular diseases and focusing on their prevention -. Today we live longer, but the years gained are not healthy, we become more fragile and protecting the heart is essential. For this reason it is necessary to raise awareness among citizens to worry about their cardiovascular health starting from primary prevention, emphasizing the need for correct lifestyle and healthy eatingbut also and above all secondary where there is a pathological condition that requires taking charge by a specialist “.

The consequences of high cholesterol

Hypercholesterolemia is one of the major contributors to heart attack. When present in excess, LDL cholesterol tends to settle on the artery wall, causing progressive thickening and hardening or the well-known atherosclerosis. If you do not intervene in any way, with the passage of time they can form real ones plaques that obstruct blood flow and they can even block it. Additionally, the plaques can break off and form a thrombus, which can induce a heart attack or stroke
. Unfortunately, there are still those who are not aware of the consequences of hypercholesterolemia, as emerges from the Swg survey. In fact, 20 percent of Italians do not know the risks deriving from high levels of LDL cholesterol, while four out of ten people think that diet and physical activity are enough to keep it under control, but this is not always the case, especially when the values ​​are strongly outside the ranges. Although 92 percent of respondents believe that cardiovascular problems can be avoided with concrete prevention actions, less than 20 percent have follow-up visits and only three out of ten people have had a cardiovascular risk assessment in the past year.


Ldl cholesterol levels should not exceed 116 mg / dl in healthy people, but this threshold drops in those at risk up to 55 mg / dl in those who have already had a heart attack. “Prevention is key to keeping cardiovascular disease at bay, but it becomes crucial when it comes to high-risk patients. Those who have returned from a cardiovascular event have a high probability of experiencing a new heart attack or stroke in the following years – reports Ciro Indolfi of the Italian Society of Cardiology -. However, as the recent guidelines of the European Society of Cardiology point out, the implementation of secondary prevention strategies can significantly reduce the danger of new events. Precisely on this front the fight against LDL cholesterol is also inserted to reach values ​​lower than 55 mg / dl and sometimes, in subjects at very high risk, even 40 mg / dl. In these cases generally
statins are not enough
, traditional anti-cholesterol drugs, especially if the patient has very high LDL levels. But now you can count on Pcsk9 protein inhibitors, capable of reducing the Ldl cholesterol level by 60 percent and recently usable in secondary prevention with prescription charged to the national health system “.

September 29, 2022 (change September 29, 2022 | 09:47)

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