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New patient handbook on cholesterol aims to debunk myths

Dr Joslyn Ngu
12 Sep 2017

A novel patient handbook on cholesterol was launched by the National Heart Institute and Pfizer Malaysia to improve awareness and knowledge on cholesterol.

The handbook aims to encourage more discussions between patients and doctors on cholesterol management, said Dato’ Seri Dr Mohd Azhari Yakub, Chief Executive Officer of the National Heart Institute. Additionally, it will help patients distinguish credible information from fake news about cholesterol, and provide them with facts on cholesterol and its management.

With health information easily accessible to patients via internet and social media, it is crucial to ensure patients have at least a basic understanding and knowledge about cholesterol so they can discern the facts from myths. “I have nothing against searching online for information, but it is a bother when patients prefer to trust the information they obtain online over a qualified medical specialist’s advice,” said consultant cardiologist, Dr Emily Tan.

According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2015, nearly 1 in 2 Malaysian adults have hypercholesterolemia and the prevalence increases with age.  [Available at: www.iku.gov.my/images/IKU/Document/REPORT/nhmsreport2015vol2.pdf] The prevalence is higher among women compared to men (52.2 vs 43.5 percent). Race may also be a factor to consider as hypercholesterolemia is more common in Malays and Indians (50.1 percent) compared with Chinese (47.5 percent).

Hypercholesterolemia is a risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs); an increased prevalence of hypercholesterolemia indicates an increase in NCDs. As such, it is timely to have a concerted effort centred to improve awareness and understanding about cholesterol and its management, said Azhari.

Most NCDs can be prevented via behavioural changes such as smoking cessation, healthy diet and physical activity. Having said that, reliance on incorrect information on behavioural changes, which is widely available on the Internet, can be harmful, said Dr Vicknesh Welluppillai, stakeholder medical lead, Pfizer Asia Pacific.

The handbook was developed via a joint effort between experts in the medical field and Pfizer Malaysia. Both parties hope this collaboration will help patients achieve a basic-level understanding of cholesterol and its on-going management, said Vicknesh. With the launch of this handbook, the right information will be easily available. Hopefully, this will contribute to better discussion between patients and their doctors, improve patient adherence and aid the general population in discerning the right and wrong information on cholesterol.

Azhari, Tan and Vicknesh were speaking at the launch of the patient handbook titled All You Need to Know About Cholesterol, held in Kuala Lumpur recently.

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3 days ago
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