Cholesterol is a fat, a fundamental substance in our body, inside its every cell wall. In addition to this, some cholesterol flows in our bloodstream and we introduce it in our body by nutrition.
Doctor Maddalena Lettino, Supervisor of the Heart Failure section at Humanitas, spoke about high bad cholesterol, its risks and the way to avoid it in an interview for TV2000’s programme “Good evening, doctor”.
Two types of cholesterol
“There are two types of cholesterol. The good cholesterol (HDL) that protects us, and the bad cholesterol (LDL) that, if it exceeds the threshold level defined in the guidelines, deposits on the walls of our blood vessels and causes crusts, generating the atherosclerotic plaque. This structure makes the vessel’s lumen smaller and lets less blood flow. A circumstance that may facilitate coagulation. If this happens in the coronary blood flow, a stroke may occur, while an ictus may also occur, if this phenomenon happens in the cerebral blood flow”, the doctor explains.
How to reduce the bad cholesterol
“The first step is changing lifestyle, increasing your physical activity and caring for your nutrition, in order to avoid an excessive cholesterol intake during meals. Controlling the cardiovascular risk factors is paramount.
However, this is not enough for those who have out-of-the-ordinary cholesterol levels, who, in this case, need a pharmacological therapy.
Traditional therapy makes use of statins, that “have transformed cholesterol-related therapies and had great success in the last twenty years. However, in some cases the cholesterol is so high that even the maximum statin dosage and the use of more potent statins can’t prevent satisfactorily, cardiovascular diseases”.
New medications: monoclonal antibodies
Because they are antibodies, we don’t give them orally anymore. We administer them by subcutaneous injection, way less often than oral therapies and that is, once or twice a month. The method of administration is similar to that of insulin. Inside a sort of pen, there is a container with the fluid medication.
These medications will be used along with statins and they will also be an alternative for those who cannot tolerate statin and cannot make use of the traditional therapy”, the doctor said.