- A big part of the population doesn’t know their blood cholesterol levels.
- High total and esp. LDL-cholesterol levels in the blood are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- A diet rich in plant-based foods, including foods with added plant sterols and stanols next to physical activity is helpful in managing blood LDL-cholesterol levels
Sometimes, important health indicators which can point to the onset of disease carry no symptoms to warn people about the need for action. Therefore, knowledge is important in prevention and pre-emptive action.
Blood LDL-cholesterol is such a case without being visible without measuring. It has been proven by strong scientific evidence that high LDL-cholesterol levels are a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease – which remains the no.1 killer in the world. Maintaining low LDL-cholesterol levels, therefore can help to reduce CVD risk.
LDL-Cholesterol and CVD
When there is too much blood LDL-cholesterol in the blood, it builds up in the walls of the arteries. Over time, this build-up causes “hardening of the arteries” so that arteries become narrowed and blood flow to the heart is slowed down or blocked. The blood carries oxygen to the heart, and an inadequate supply of blood and oxygen to the heart may cause chest pain. If the blood supply to a portion of the heart is completely cut off by a blockage, then the result is a heart attack.
A high blood LDL-cholesterol level itself does not cause symptoms, so many people are unaware that their cholesterol level is too high. It is important for the public to know what their cholesterol numbers are because lowering LDL-cholesterol levels that are too high reduces the risk for developing heart disease and reduces the chance of a heart attack. LDL-cholesterol lowering is important for everyone, younger, middle-aged, and older adults; women and men; and people with or without heart disease.
To know blood LDL-cholesterol levels (as well as other important health indicators that may carry no or very few early physical symptoms), a simple blood test should suffice.
A healthy lifestyle to improve your cardiovascular health
Most CVD instances in the population can be prevented efficiently by switching to more active and healthy lifestyles. Maintaining a healthy weight, together with healthy eating patterns, physical activity and quitting smoking are the key factors for a good cardiovascular health.
Once people are aware of their cholesterol levels the next step is to reduce and maintain low blood LDL-cholesterol levels. A healthy diet rich in plant-based ingredients, low in saturated fats and supplemented with foods with added plant sterols or stanols should be the preferred strategy. It has been proved that a daily intake of 1.5-3.0 g/s plant sterols or stanols dose-dependently reduces blood LDL-cholesterol levels by 7-12.5% in a period of 2 – 3 weeks.
The IPSSA campaign initiative
To promote these key messages for public health, we have decided to embark on an awareness campaign which we will be unfolding very soon. Meanwhile, we would like to invite you to visit our website and view our infographic which provides more information on plant sterols and stanols.