From a survey conducted by Courier Health It emerges how much Italians monitor their cholesterol or blood pressure levels, but do not know to what extent these affect personal risk
Informed, but not too much: aware of your own levels of cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar but almost unaware of what it is
and above all your level of cardiovascular risk.
The Corriere Salute survey
Italians are promoted with reservations, according to the results of a survey by Corriere Salute conducted last July by submitting readers to a questionnaire to gauge the level of information on the cardiovascular risk: the interviewees are therefore above all readers interested in medical topics and sensitive to the topic, however the survey, for which around 14 thousand questionnaires were collected, highlights the need to shine a spotlight on the topic because many know the numbers of risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar but they don’t really know how much these impact about your own danger having a heart attack or stroke.
High awareness on some topics
Also for this reason the investigation was discussed by Pasquale Perrone Filardi, president of the Italian Society of Cardiology, Giuseppe Derosa, head of the Diabetes Area of the Italian Society of Nutraceutics, and Massimo Grimaldi, president-elect of the National Association of Hospital Cardiologists, during a meeting which was held in recent days in Sala Buzzati, in the historic headquarters of Corriere della Sera. Available in streaming on Corriere.it, the debate was an opportunity to clarify cholesterol, one of the most relevant parameters for cardiovascular risk and which readers seem to know quite well: after the age of 50 more than 86 percent know which be one’s cholesterol levels and after the age of 60 the share rises to over 90 percent, without major gender differences. Comforting too awareness of the differences between HDL and LDL cholesterolin all age groups: overall, 91 percent of readers know that HDL cholesterol is the good one, which is transported from peripheral tissues and the circulation to the liver to be disposed of, and also that LDL cholesterol, on the other hand, is bad, because by attaching itself to the arteries it causes thickening and stiffening which compromise good circulation, leading to atherosclerosis and forming plaques and thrombi which, if detached, can cause serious cardiovascular events. Readers also promoted for their assiduity in undergoing checks: on average 78 percent have carried out blood tests to evaluate cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar levels in the last year, even among those under 40 the share of recalcitrant people who do not take a test for over five years it has hovered around 10 percent.
Lack of knowledge of risk
Everything changes when we investigate how knowledge of numbers translates into awareness of the risks that incorrect values entail: only 38 percent would be able to define metabolic syndrome, a condition that now affects around 10 million Italians. The five parameters that identify it are an abundant waistline, excess triglycerides or blood sugar levels, high blood pressure and too low HDL cholesterol.: three are needed for the diagnosis and according to the Corriere Salute survey only women, especially in menopause and post menopause, are a little more informed on the matter. Things are not better for cardiovascular risk in general: the percentage increases with age, but overall just 35 percent of those interviewed know their level of danger and under the age of 50 it does not go beyond 20-25 percent . A problem, because optimal cholesterol levels also change based on the risk and, as the experts underlined during the meeting at the Corriere, for those in greater danger the threshold for LDL cholesterol is drastically lowered.
How to get information
We should all be aware of our cardiovascular risk, defined as the probability of experiencing an event such as heart attack, stroke and similar in the next 10 years. It can be calculated with risk cards that take into account elements that affect the probability such as age, sex, blood pressure and non-HDL cholesterol values, and smoking habits. Based on the result they are identified four risk categories (low, moderate, high and very high) who have different optimal LDL cholesterol goals. For the calculation you can ask your doctor but an initial self-assessment is possible on the website Heart Project of the Istituto Superiore di Sanit (www.cuore.iss.it).
The Corriere Salute guide on newsstands for free on Monday
To clarify, dispel false myths and respond to doubts and uncertainties on the topic, the guide from Corriere Salute Cholesterol, everything you need to know, on newsstands for free with the newspaper on Monday 26 September: written in collaboration with the president of the Italian Society of Cardiology Pasquale Perrone Filardi, in 50 questions and answers it offers a useful starting point for understanding how to take care of the health of the heart and vessels.
September 24, 2023 (changed September 24, 2023 | 09:05)
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