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High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

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Statins aren’t the only method of lowering cholesterol.

Other strategies include improving diet and increasing activity levels to the NHS minimum of 150 minutes a week.

Furthermore, other medications such as PCSK9 inhibitors are also employed to help patients.

However, in the past there has been debate over whether PCSK9 inhibitors should be used in tandem with statins.

New guidance from the British Medical Journal (BMJ) suggests these additional drugs should be offered to patients at a higher risk of suffering from a cardiovascular event.

Researchers concluded those already on high-dose statins with a high five-year risk of a major cardiovascular event should be offered the drug ezetimibe, a type of PCSK9 inhibitor.

Furthermore, patients with the highest risk should also be offered ezetimibe.

However, the BMJ said those with the lowest risk should not be offered any additional medication.

The BMJ’s panel said their guideline “differs from others in that, after specifying a minimal LDL cholesterol level below which further lipid lowering is not appropriate, recommendations are based exclusively on the absolute benefits of these drugs on cardiovascular outcomes rather than meeting targets for LDL cholesterol level”.

They added: “Clinicians need to identify patient’s individual cardiovascular risks to apply these risk-stratified recommendations.”

The BMJ’s panel also said clinicians would need to take into account upcoming treatments when considering whether to prescribe additional medications for high cholesterol.

Professor Azeem Majeed of Imperial College London said the UK’s medicinal establishment needed to potentially update its guidance regarding cholesterol management.

Professor Majeed said: “A more interventional approach to lipid management and starting treatment earlier – including the use of new lipid-lowering agents such as PCSK9 inhibitors – could have major health benefits for the UK population, fl pharmacy which generally has high lipid levels.”

The nation’s cardiovascular health has been of concern to health experts in recent years over poor habits developed as a result of the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Heart disease is one of the biggest killers in the UK with one life being lost on average every three minutes.

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani of the British Heart Foundation said a sensible approach had been taken with the new guidance.

Professor Samani added: “Lowering cholesterol reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes in everyone, but the absolute benefit for a patient depends on their overall heart risk.”

Two of the best methods for lowering cardiovascular risk are regular exercise and a healthy diet.

Regarding exercise, a recent study found those who cycle regularly are less likely to suffer from premature death than those who don’t.

The reason for cyclist’s longevity has been put down to the impact of cycling on cardiovascular health.

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