Keeping an eye on cholesterol levels Keeping an eye on cholesterol levels

High cholesterol is one of the most direct factors related to the number of heart attacks that currently occur in Colombia.

Different studies conducted in the country have shown that up to 39% of the population over age 15 have high cholesterol levels. While this figure increases with age, it is already affecting many youth. The main problem is people being unaware of this condition. Since cholesterol has always been associated with older people, it is uncommon for youth to test whether their cholesterol levels are high.

In order to prevent a heart attack, currently one of the 10 leading causes of death in the country, “People must see their doctor who should include a lipid profile test as part of their regular check-up to screen for risk factors that could cause a heart attack,” states Luz Victoria Salazar, President of ACOPEL and founder of the Colombian Network for Familial Hypercholesterolemia (RedCol HF, Spanish acronym).

According to figures from RedCol HF, the main risk factor related to having a heart attack, especially a repeat heart attack, is an abnormal amount of lipids in the blood (dyslipidemia). After cholesterol, the factors that are associated most with having a heart attack are obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Keys to reducing risk factors include maintaining a balanced diet with a low consumption of fats (especially in people with risk factors or a genetic predisposition), being physically active and getting timely medical checkups.

2 of every 10 people that survive a heart attack have another one within a year.