A healthy diet, plenty of physical activity, lots of water, stress-relief methods, these are all subjects we hear about on a daily basis. In more cases than we’d like to acknowledge, we know way much more about all the meal plans, types of exercises and health advice than we actually practice. And theoretically, we also know the risks our bad habits bring upon us. One of them is obesity, which does a lot of great “favors” to one’s general health, bringing along with it high levels of cholesterol, high blood pressure, cardio-vascular diseases, added strain on the spine and joints, these being  just a few entries on a long list of complications. But all these “pleasantries” can be prevented, and, as mentioned before, we do know how. What happens in a smaller number of cases, concerning those who are genetically predisposed to having high cholesterol levels, is a whole other problem. A problem which can be fixed thanks to a machine similar to dialysis that can “clean” a patient’s blood by removing bad cholesterol.

 

“The procedure is a nonsurgical therapy that is called LDL (low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol) apheresis, consisting of taking blood outside the body and having the plasma removed and run through a machine that clears it of LDL.”

 

The procedure is a nonsurgical therapy that is called LDL (low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol) apheresis, consisting of taking blood outside the body and having the plasma removed and run through a machine that clears it of LDL. This takes about two hours and needs to be done once a week or once every two weeks depending on patient necessities and general health. The results even after the first session are outstanding: LDL cholesterol can be reduced by 70 – 83 percent. However, a personalized, cardio-friendly diet must be followed as well as cholesterol lowering treatments, as LDL cholesterol levels are predisposed to come back to previous high values. This conduct can lengthen the time in between LDL apheresis sessions.

The candidates for such a procedure are those who have genetic abnormalities which cause high cholesterol that can’t be controlled regardless of lifestyle changes, dietary restrictions or medication. Cholesterol levels required for the procedure to take place have to be higher than 200mg/dL for patients with coronary heart disease and over 300mg/dL for those without this type of diseases. Familial hypercholesterolemia is the genetic abnormality which causes alarming LDL levels, three to five times higher than normal, and affects approximately 1 in 500 people worldwide.

 

“This takes about two hours and needs to be done once a week or once every two weeks depending on patient necessities and general health. The results even after the first session are outstanding: LDL cholesterol can be reduced by 70 – 83 percent.”

 

Doctors at Loyola University Medical Center have been performing the procedure on a routine basis with great results, and have launched a multidisciplinary program in 2013 to raise awareness and offer guidance regarding this type of apheresis, while presenting undeniable proof of its benefits.

“Loyola is the only academic medical center (in the Chicago area) doing it on a routine basis for our patients. We’ve had the technology, but we just launched a multidisciplinary program and want to get the word that there is an alternative strategy for people who are at risk for having a cardiac event. … We consider this life-saving.” (Dr. Binh Phan, assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at Loyola University Medical Center and Director of the Preventive Cardiology and Lipid Program)

 

R.F.I.

Sources:

http://health.ucsd.edu/specialties/apheresis/Pages/ldl-apheresis.aspx

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-02-27/news/ct-x-0227-expert-phan-20130227_1_ldl-bad-cholesterol-patients-with-coronary-heart

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130228171354.htm

http://www.newswise.com/articles/machine-similar-to-dialysis-removes-cholesterol-from-blood

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/121298-overview#a7