Important risk factors
Hypertension and abnormal cholesterol levels remain two of the most important risk factors that cause progressive narrowing of the arteries called atherosclerosis. Abnormal cholesterol problems are now called dyslipidemia rather than hypercholesterolemia, because it does not only consist of an elevated bad cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol) and triglycerides, but also of a low level of good cholesterol (HDL-cholesterol).
The atherosclerotic process, accelerated by risk factors, slowly deprives the vital organs (heart, brain and kidneys) of oxygen and other essential nutrients, making them falter and subsequently fail. The individual eventually dies.
Atherosclerosis is still a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge. It’s like a puzzle with still missing parts. But modern science, by virtue of the breakthrough researches that have yielded astounding results over the last decade, has gradually provided some of the missing parts. It’s just a matter of putting them in the right links.
Since atherosclerosis is a medical problem that practically involves all the organs of the body, its management may also require a multispecialty approach. Hence, for 12 years now, the Philippine Society of Hypertension (PSH) and the Philippine Lipid and Atherosclerosis Society (PLAS) have been organizing a joint annual convention to discuss new trends in the management of patients with various risk factors and clinical manifestations of atherosclerosis.
Both societies consist of the country’s cardiologists, neurologists, endocrinologists, nephrologists, general internists and other specialists treating patients with atherosclerosis. Twenty-two other organizations of allied professionals are also closely collaborating with PSH and PLAS and are participating in the convention.
“We hope to build strong partnerships and fortify professional networks in the prevention and care of cardiovascular disease,” says Dr. Nelson Abelardo, PSH president. For several years now, the PSH and PLAS have been reinforcing health initiatives that are effective in the local population.
The scientific discussions will also review all researches and completed clinical trials during the past year. These are the basis of treatment guidelines which provide guidance to practicing physicians on scientific evidence-based management approaches for their patients. “But we have to find the balance between the guidelines and the realities of local clinical setting,” explains Dr. Ruby Go, PLAS president.
This year’s convention is going to be held from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 at the Crowne Plaza Galleria. The convention scientific theme is “Decision-making in Hypertension and Dyslipidemia Prevention and Intervention in Specific Populations.”
Medical residents and other doctors, who are currently in a training program, may register for free. Patients and individuals with risk factors may also register for free in the lay forum intended for them. Call the secretariat at 687-7073, 687-2841, 631-7970 or 0917-625-5810.
Hopefully, modern medicine can provide us the necessary technology to catch the “thief in the night” before he could steal our health and life.