Can Cholesterol Testing At The Age Of 18 Prevent Heart Attacks Among Youngsters?

The Cardiologist Society of India has for the first has recommended lipid profile testing – a crucial way to measure the levels of cholesterol and other fats in your blood, to be done by the age of 18 years to prevent future heart diseases, including heart attack and stroke. According to experts, Indians are predisposed to early heart attacks even if their levels of lipids are significantly lower than what is accepted as normal. Read on to know more.
Cholesterol levels testing at the age of 18 years

Indians are predisposed to early heart attacks even if their levels of lipids are significantly lower than what is accepted as normal

With the increasing number of heart attacks among youngsters being reported daily, the Cardiologist Society of India, for the first time has recommended lipid profile testing to be conducted starting at the age of 18 years. According to experts, Indians are predisposed to early heart attacks even if their levels of lipids – which include fat and oil compounds, are significantly lower than what is accepted as normal.
Non-fasting measures are being advised for assessing lipids – forming part of the new guidelines for managing Dyslipidemia – or high cholesterol, a metabolic disorder that occurs when there are abnormally high or low levels of lipids or lipoproteins in the blood, in India.
The condition includes elevated levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), or low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C).

High prevalence of dyslipidemia in India

According to experts, dyslipidemia, which can be discovered during a routine blood test, has rates varying across various states – significant among the urban areas. An ICMR-backed study published in The Lancet last year said 81 per cent of Indians suffer from dyslipidemia in India.
Till now, in India, the European Society of Cardiology’s 2019 guidelines have been followed. However, experts say the country’s unique lipid profile and low HDL levels call for a tailored approach.

What happens in a lipid profile test?

A cholesterol, or lipid profile blood test looks at the levels of cholesterol and other fats in your blood. You might need this test if your doctor wants to assess your risk of heart disease and stroke. Doctors say at the age of 18 getting your lipid test done can help understand cholesterol tendencies and control fluctuating levels.
Those with a family history of heart attacks, high blood pressure, and cholesterol levels must get tested for lipoprotein - denser cholesterol, separately as it is not part of the lipid panel test. If its levels are higher than 50 mg/dl, then the risk of heart attack is high.

What are the optimal cholesterol levels for youngsters?

According to experts, at a young age, your LDL cholesterol should not cross 100 mg/dL for primary prevention. For adults who have already had a heart event in their 20s, the LDL level should be less than 55 mg/dL. Same for people with elevated lipoprotein.

Ways to keep your cholesterol levels in check

A few ways to keep your cholesterol levels in check include:

Eating nutritious diet

Make sure to eat fresh, unprocessed foods that are high in fibre, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, and limit unhealthy fats, salt, and added sugar. Doctors suggest eating more polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats, which are found in fish, avocadoes, olive oil, nuts, and canola and soybean oil.
You can also incorporate lean meats, fruits, and vegetables into your daily diet.

Regular exercise

According to experts, make sure to work out at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.

Maintain a healthy weight

Try to eat and drink only enough calories to stay at a healthy weight and avoid weight gain as obesity increases cholesterol levels.

Quit smoking

Completely quitting smoking can improve your HDL cholesterol levels.
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