Effects of life-style modification on serum lipids
The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) has stressed the importance of life-style modification for reducing blood cholesterol levels, with drug treatment recommended only for those whom life-style change does not help. This report presents results from the Pritikin Longevity Center in California, which sponsors a residential program for adults focusing on dietary change and daily aerobic exercise. The subjects included 2,685 males and 1,902 females (average age of both groups, 56) who attended the program between 1977 and 1988. Forty percent of these patients were diagnosed with coronary heart disease (disease of the arteries that deliver blood to the heart); 43 percent had high blood pressure; 16 percent had diabetes mellitus; and the remainder took part for preventive reasons. Blood was drawn at the start of the three-week program and weekly thereafter, and analyzed for its content of lipids (fats). The program consists of a diet high in complex carbohydrates and fiber, and low in fat, cholesterol, and salt; educational classes; and daily walking. Results showed a 23 percent reduction in the levels of total cholesterol, with males experiencing a greater reduction (24 percent) than females (21 percent). Low-density cholesterol (sometimes called 'bad' cholesterol) levels were reduced by 23 percent. Decreases of similar magnitude were present for all age groups. Surveys of 29 patients who continued to comply with the program after its conclusion indicated that cholesterol levels were maintained well below 200 milligrams per deciliter, the level recommended by NCEP. A discussion is presented of the health benefits of the components of the special diet. The results show that life-style modification can reduce the levels of lipids in the blood in a short time. (Consumer Summary produced by Reliance Medical Information, Inc.)
Publication Name: Archives of Internal Medicine
Atorvastatin -- a new lipid-lowering drug
The FDA has approved the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin, which is sold under the trade name Lipitor. It belongs to the class of drugs called statins, which includes Mevacor, Pravachol and Zocor. The statins are more effective and better tolerated than some other cholesterol-lowering drugs. Research shows that Lipitor lowers LDL, or "bad" cholesterol more than other statins. However, because it is new, its long-term safety is unknown. Consequently, it should only be used in patients who do not respond to other statins.
Publication Name: Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
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