Dyslipidaemia Raised Blood Cholesterol
DYSLIPIDAEMIA – RAISED BLOOD CHOLESTEROL
It is a common health condition that is estimated to affect about 38% of Malaysian adults.
Dyslipidaemia (raised blood cholesterol) refers to an abnormal level of lipid that contributes to a buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substances on artery walls called plaque, which can restrict blood flow, said Universiti Putra Malaysia medical epidemiologist Assoc Prof Dr Malina Osman.
Statistics involving Covid-19 deaths showed that most of the patients had dyslipidaemia.
Out of the 160 deaths recorded from Feb 25 to March 25,18% or 28 of the patients suffered from dyslipidaemia, among other underlying health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease and heart disease.
Health experts cautioned that poor eating habits and lack of exercise can lead to dyslipidaemia, one of the conditions in many severe Covid-19 cases that led to death.
“It is one of the most important factors in cardiovascular disease.
“This condition is usually asymptomatic and detected through blood investigation or if the person has coronary artery disease, stroke or peripheral artery disease, ” said Dr Malina.
But there could be symptoms like xanthelasma or xanthomasm, she said.
Xanthelasma causes yellow, lipid-rich plaques on the medial eyelids, whereas xanthomas causes lesions on the skin that contain cholesterol and fats.
Based on the 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS), 38% of adults had dyslipidaemia, also known as hypercholesterolemia.
Prevalence of the health condition in today’s society had dropped by 9.6% from 47.7% in 2015, but the condition remains a threat to the community’s overall well-being.
Dyslipidaemia is most common among women (44.5%), those aged between 70 and 74 (63.4%) and people who live in Kelantan (51%), the report noted.
Dr Malina said dyslipidaemia has been found to be associated with an enhanced risk of severe Covid-19 infection.
There are clinical practice guideline (CPG) on how to treat dyslipidaemia, she said.
“In a clinical setting, patients will be assessed according to the guidelines before being advised on a specific treatment.
“Treatment is basically a combination of dietary modifications, exercise and lipid-lowering drugs, ” she said.
Universiti Putra Malaysia’s consultant clinical microbiologist Prof Dr Zamberi said dyslipidaemia – an abnormal amount of certain fats in the blood such as triglycerides and cholesterol – is very common among Malaysians.
“An increase in the death rate among those with this condition is postulated to be related to abnormalities in blood clotting mechanisms and blood vessel injuries.
“The mechanisms are complex and still under study.
“But cholesterol is believed to play a role, ” he said, noting that the health condition can be controlled by maintaining a healthy lifestyle through healthy eating and regular exercise, or through medication.
A 30-year-old health officer, who declined to be named, said he was diagnosed with the condition last week after undergoing a blood test.
“I felt easily tired and I had little energy, so I knew something was wrong. That was when I decided to get tested, ” he said.
“I believe it is caused by uncontrolled diet, one that contains a high amount of fatty acids.”
He admitted to leading a sedentary lifestyle, coupled with overeating.
“I’m currently on medication for dyslipidaemia. I’ve been told that there is a risk of me getting a heart attack or stroke if my condition is left untreated, ” he said.
He added that a healthy diet and active lifestyle can help reduce the risk of developing additional health problems