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Pune: Bad cholesterol up in youth in Covid times

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Dr Sanjay Nagarkar

 Rohit Shishodia
A two-month study conducted by Apollo Diagnostics, Pune, has revealed that factors like work from home for longer hours, limited physical activity, and faulty eating habits after working during Covid times has caused a rise in bad cholesterol in youngsters in Pune.

The study's sample size was 2112 out of which 1413 were males and 409 females. 30 people below 20 had bad cholesterol while the number was 1671 in the age group 20-40. As many as 240 people in the age group of 40-60 and 171 people belonging to the age group of 60+ had abnormal cholesterol levels. Out of 2112 people, 1822 patients’ bad cholesterol increased and 1523 patients’ good cholesterol decreased.

Cholesterol can be described as a waxy, fat-like substance that is present in almost all the cells in one’s body. It comes from foods such as meat and dairy. It is understood that the body will need some amount of cholesterol to work efficiently. LDL and HDL are two kinds of lipoprotein.

LDL means low-density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) and they build up in the arteries. While HDL means high-density lipoproteins and is termed as good cholesterol as it carries cholesterol from various parts of the body to the liver. Later, the liver is responsible for removing the cholesterol from the body.

Dr. Sanjay Ingle, Pathologist, and Zonal Technical Head West India, Apollo Diagnostics, Pune, said, “After unlock phase, LDL that is bad cholesterol has increased in many youngsters. Work from home for longer hours has led to stress that has an inverse effect on the good cholesterol and direct relationship with LDL.

Lack of physical activity and binge eating foods like biscuits, pastries, and pizza, deep-fried and fast foods, cheese and dessert are other factors which lead to bad cholesterol

Dr Ingle added, “Good cholesterol helps the body to mitigate the effects of bad cholesterol. Whenever good cholesterol decreases its protective effect on the cardiac conditions or on the heart is reduced. If the LDL increases then it forms plaque with other substances and this plaque attacks the arteries leading to atherosclerosis.”

“Coronary artery disease happens when the plaque buildup is in the arteries of your heart. Your arteries narrow and become hard, that may block the blood flow to the heart. This can further lead to angina (chest pain) or heart attack,” he explained.

Dr Ingle has advised to eat fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, and wholegrain as a fiber-rich diet will absorb bad cholesterol. He further suggested cutting down on saturated and trans fats.

“Exercise on a daily basis and maintain an optimum weight to manage your cholesterol levels. Smoking can increase your LDL, quit it on an immediate basis. Try relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation to de-stress. Go for regular cholesterol checkups once in 3 to 6 months,” said Dr Ingle.

Dr. Sanjay Nagarkar, general physician, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Pune, said, “Dislipidaemia is seen in teenagers and young adults 30-40yrs. It is usually associated with heart attack, stroke, Hypertension, Thyroid diseases, peripheral vascular disease, and pancreatitis. It is associated with lifestyle, dietary habits."

"It is usually associated with a sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise. They are aware of it but they fail to take it seriously. The habits like smoking, alcohol, tobacco increase risk," added Dr Nagarkar.


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