Hyderabad: Cholesterol levels are rising among Asians even as it is sharply declining in Western nations though it is still higher when compared to the levels in the Asian region, Avula Laxmaiah, Scientist G & Head, Division of Public Health Nutrition, ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition, said on Friday.
He is one of the authors of the recent research paper that is based on the largest ever study of global cholesterol levels.
"The team points out that some countries had less data compared to others, which could influence how certain we are about cholesterol levels and changes over time. Non-HDL (High-density lipoprotein) cholesterol among Indian men ranked 128th in 1980 and remained the same in 2018. However, in case of women, the rank increased marginally from 139th to 140th at global level," Dr Laxmaiah said in a press release.
The new study, 'Repositioning of the global epicentre of non-optimal cholesterol,' which is published in the renowned scientific journal, 'Nature' recently, was led by the Imperial College, London and had hundreds of researchers from across the world contributing to it, it said.
The research used data from 102.6 million individuals and examined cholesterol levels in 200 countries, across a 39 -year time period, from 1980 to 2018, it said.
"The work, which was funded by the Wellcome Trust and the British Heart Foundation, revealed that high cholesterol was responsible for about 3.9 million deaths worldwide," said Dr Hemalatha R, Director, ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad said.
Cholesterol, a waxy substance found in the blood is needed to build healthy cells, but excess of may lead to a build-up in the blood vessels.
Cholesterol comes in different types-High-density lipoprotein (HDL) 'good' cholesterol, which should be 1mmol/L or above, is thought to have a protective effect against heart attack and stroke, by mopping up excess 'bad' cholesterol.
The results of the new study revealed decrease in total and non-HDL cholesterol levels in high income nations, particularly those in North-western Europe, North America and Australasia, while they are rising in low and middle-income nations, particularly in East and Southeast Asia.
China, which had some of the lowest levels of non-HDL cholesterol in 1980, had one of the largest rates of increase in non-HDL over the 39 years study period.