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Cholesterol chokes young Indian hearts.

OVER-EATING, junk food and a sedentary lifestyle are pushing Delhi's youth towards the risk of hypertension, with alarming levels of cholesterol in their blood. A pan-India survey, conducted by Metropolis Healthcare Ltd, showed that a majority of people between 20 and 40 years have alarming low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. LDL is generally referred to as bad cholesterol.

High cholesterol generally does not produce any symptom, and that is why a majority of people are unaware that their high cholesterol levels. The survey covered major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai. Out of 9,596 samples tested in Delhi for lipid profile, LDL levels were found high in 58 per cent whereas total cholesterol and triglycerides were high in 20 to 30 per cent.

"Survey findings show that this unhealthy trend is a direct result of a combination of overeating, increased intake of junk food and sedentary lifestyle. This was followed by a fairly substantial number of youngsters, examined during the survey, showing the first signs of the onset of a heart ailment -- hypercholesterolemia (presence of high-levels of cholesterol) and hypertension," Dr Jatinder Bhatia, Chief of Lab Services, Projects (North India) at Metropolis Healthcare, said.

Calling for regular screening of unhealthy cholesterol and lipid levels, researchers at Metropolis said such surveys would help identify people who are at a greater risk of hypertension.

"High triglycerides and low levels of HDL (good cholesterol) are typically seen in Indians, and along with high cholesterol, are reasons for early onset of heart disease. Our national prevention programs should target individuals between 20 and 40 years of age, as clearly shown by our previous research," Dr Anoop Misra, Chairman of Fortis-C-DOC Centre of Excellence for Diabetes, Metabolic Diseases and Endocrinology, said, adding that dietary and lifestyle changes can help young men and women in this regard.

"High cholesterol is a silent killer as one doesn't know about it until he or she has a heart attack or other circulatory ailments.

The most serious effects are due to a condition called atherosclerosis, which is the narrowing and hardening of arteries. Other negative health effects of cholesterol problems include angina, coronary heart disease, heart attack, and stroke," Dr Vinay Sanghi, Associate Director, Interventional Cardiology at Fortis Hospital, said.

Cholesterol is a kind of fat or lipid produced in the liver, and its normal levels are necessary for the proper functioning of the body. Blood flows freely through veins and arteries when cholesterol levels are in the normal range. High LDL cholesterol can build up on the inside of artery walls, contributing to blockages that can cause heart attacks. In contrast, highdensity lipoprotein (HDL) is known as good cholesterol.

Moreover, genetics play a major role in determining a person's blood cholesterol levels.

(Children from families with a history of premature heart disease should be tested for cholesterol levels after they are 2 years old.) Genes may influence whether a person has low HDL levels, high LDL levels, high triglycerides, or high levels of other lipoproteins.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:May 25, 2014
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