Young people of normal weight who have high blood cholesterol can significantly reduce their bad cholesterol merely by changing eating habits, according to a study carried out at Ben Gurion University. This finding contradicts the often-quoted idea that High cholesterol in young people who are not overweight is hereditary in origin.
The researchers also found that they could, in just six weeks, determine which of their patients would be most likely to attain safe cholesterol levels by dietary therapy alone. The investigation indicates that young patients who are not overweight should be strongly encouraged to change their eating habits before receiving medication to lower blood cholesterol. Older and overweight patients, on the other hand, seem to have less success in adhering to a long-term cholesterol-lowering diet and may not be ideal candidates for such therapy.
Researchers involved in this project are Dr. Yaakov Henkin, a cardiologist from BGU’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Soroka University Medical Center, and Iris Shai, a clinical dietician at the University’s S. Daniel Abraham Health and Nutrition Center. Their findings were presented last month at the 48th Annual Conference of the Israel Heart Society in Jerusalem.
Revision date: June 18, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD