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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Heart to Heart: Organon Spearheads Health Forum on Optimal Cholesterol Control

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In celebration of the Heart Month of February, healthcare company Organon Philippines is spearheading the “Heart 2 Heart Talk on Optimal Cholesterol Control,” focused on raising public awareness about effectively managing Dyslipidemia and how Filipinos can protect their heart from the long-term impacts of high cholesterol levels.

To promote patient education and elevate awareness, the health forum featured renowned lipid experts Dr. Pipin Kojodjojo, a cardiologist and electrophysiologist from Singapore, and Dr. Louella Santos, the current President of the Philippine Lipid and Atherosclerosis Society (PLAS). The experts highlighted critical research and offered practical tips to better control cholesterol and minimize the risk of heart diseases.

“As a healthcare company, we at Organon are deeply committed to the fight against CVD and dyslipidemia. said Emmanuel Tiglao, Country Director of Organon Philippines. “Together, we stand united in a concerted effort— a United Front Against CVD— to combat this pressing public health challenge.”

Dyslipidemia refers to abnormal, unhealthy levels of cholesterol in the body. When too much bad cholesterol circulates in the blood, it causes build-ups of fatty plaques along the walls of your arteries, which can clog and disrupt the normal blood flow to the heart.

If left unchecked, this could lead to debilitating and fatal conditions such as heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and other severe complications.

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Recent statistics from PSA have shown that heart disease accounts for over a hundred twenty thousand cases or more than 18% of all deaths across the country, claiming more lives than any other illness.

Alarmingly, the data reveals millions of Filipinos as early as 20 years old are unknowingly suffering from high cholesterol levels, which puts them at even greater risk for developing heart disease.

According to the 8th National Nutrition Survey, 1 out of every 2 Filipinos have borderline high cholesterol levels, making Dyslipidemia a hidden public health threat in young adults and people who are at the height of their careers.

Who stands vulnerable?
Chronic stress and poor lifestyle habits like smoking, unhealthy diet choices, and inactivity increase harmful cholesterol levels even in people in their 20s and 30s.4 And because Dyslipidemia shows no clear symptoms at first, many young adults remain unaware of the silent damage accumulating in their arteries over time.

In focus: Dr. Louella Santos (left), the current President of the Philippine Lipid and Atherosclerosis Society (PLAS), gives practical tips for managing cholesterol levels. Regardless of age or family history, getting a complete cholesterol test is critical to optimizing health and catching high cholesterol early. Addressing cholesterol now, not later, gives you the power to prevent heart disease and irreversible damage to your arteries.

Restoring control over your health

Patients can help lower their lipid levels with healthy lifestyle changes, medications, or a combination of both.

“The most important thing in managing cholesterol is diet and lifestyle modification,” said Dr. Santos, “By addressing risk factors early on, we can prevent heart attacks and strokes and other health complications.”

Typically, doctors will first recommend positive lifestyle changes to help control dyslipidemia before prescribing medications. Beneficial lifestyle changes include regular exercise, eating a balanced diet high in whole foods, avoiding smoking, and limiting fried items and excess carbohydrates.

Although a healthy lifestyle is the first defense against high cholesterol, sometimes diet and exercise aren’t enough. Patients might also need to take cholesterol medications to help:

● Decrease one’s low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol that increases the risk of heart disease
● Decrease one’s triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood that also increases the risk of heart disease
● Increase one’s high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol that offers protection from heart disease

Healthcare professionals might suggest a single drug or a combination of cholesterol medications. Cholesterol-lowering drugs include Statins, Cholesterol absorption inhibitors, PCSK9 inhibitors, among others.

If you are at high risk for heart attack and strokes, your doctor may recommend a single-pill combination (SPC) therapy that combines traditional cholesterol-lowering medications and ezetimibe into one convenient tablet.

Dr. Kojodjojo explained that maintaining consistent medication compliance enables the drugs to effectively lower cholesterol to optimal levels.

“It’s important to consistently take your cholesterol-lowering medications because it translates to a much lower risk of heart disease and strokes and leads to long-term health,” emphasized Dr. Kojodjojo.

In focus: Organon Philippines and health experts stand united in the fight against heart disease and dyslipidemia. From left: Emmanuel Tiglao, Country Director of Organon Philippines; Dr. Mai Tram, Associate Medical Director of Organon Southeast Asia; Dr. Myla Gloria Supe, cardiologist and discussion moderator; Dr. Louella Santos, President of the Philippine Lipid and Atherosclerosis Society (PLAS); Dr. Pipin Kojodjojo, cardiologist from Singapore; and Desmond Ho, Associate Director for Marketing of Organon Southeast Asia.

Remember: Every case of heart disease is different. Talk to your doctor to get the treatment and care you deserve. Staying faithful to your medication routine could save you and help you live a more fulfilling life free from complications.

This health forum highlights Organon Philippines’s steadfast commitment to educating the public about the dangers of Dyslipidemia and cardiovascular diseases. Organon aims to drive positive health actions that can elevate care for millions of patients nationwide.

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