Today is World Heart Day; a landmark date established by the World Heart Federation. According to the World Heart Federation, cardiovascular disease (CVD) continues to be the leading cause of death and disability in the world today: over 17.5 million people die from cardiovascular disease (CVD) every year. It is also an established fact that one key modifiable risk factor for developing CVD is high blood cholesterol.
The International Plant Sterols and Stanols Association (IPSSA), the leading association in the sector of plant sterols and stanols comprised of the major international companies (Arboris, BASF, Cargill, Raisio, Unilever), fully supports the messages of the World Heart Foundation for World Heart Day and we are calling for the public to get their blood cholesterol measured and act to reduce or maintain healthy LDL-cholesterol levels.
According to the 2016 ESC/EAS guidelines on the management of dyslipidemias(Table 10 p. 298), as a general guide, LDL-blood should be:
- For adults in low to moderate risk of developing CVD: LDL-C <1.8 mmol/L (70 mg/dL)
- For adults in high risk of developing CVD: LDL-C <2.6 mmol/L (100 mg/dL)
- For adults in very high risk of developing CVD: LDL-C <1.8 mmol/L (70 mg/dL)
Where mmol/L are units called millimoles per litre of blood.
Elevated LDL-cholesterol has no physical symptoms that could alert someone and yet it is a significant heart disease risk factor. The public needs to act as early as possible and measure their cholesterol through a simple blood test. The good news is that through a healthy and active lifestyle and diet, LDL-cholesterol levels can be lowered significantly, Geert van Poppel, IPSSA Chairman comments. But people must act, measure, and become aware of their cholesterol levels sooner rather than later, he concludes.
Maintaining LDL-blood cholesterol at desirable levels and generally lowering the risk for developing CVD requires lifestyle modifications towards a healthier diet and a more active living. Including to a balanced, healthy diet foods with added plant sterols and stanols can make an important contribution: it has been scientifically proven that a daily consumption of foods and food supplements with 1.5 – 3.0g of added plant sterols or stanols can lower blood LDL-cholesterol dose-dependently by 7-12.5% in 2-3 weeks as part of the daily diet.