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Walk, Swim, Eat Right for Health: Doctor

Cholesterol and triglycerides are useful to the body and our brain, but if too high they can create problems, a doctor said Thursday, adding that Cambodia was now experiencing dietary problems.

“However, we can use medicine to lower cholesterol so that it prevents us from having heart attack and stroke,” Dr. Taing Tek Hong said, as a guest on “Hello VOA.”

Food with fat, such as fat from pork, beef, and chicken can create high levels of bad cholesterol, Taing Tek Hong said.

“Milk also contains a lot of fat,” he said. “There a lot people in the US who have high cholesterol. Not many people in Cambodia had high cholesterol before, but now we have plenty of food, then some people have high cholesterol too. Sometimes it is inherited from parents. Some medicines make triglycerides high. People who are overweight or who have diabetes usually have high triglycerides.”

There are no symptoms of high cholesterol, the doctor said, in response to a listener question.

“We know it only through blood tests,” he said. “You should start checking when you are 20 years old. If you have already had it, you usually have pains in the chest, but not everyone.”

“There are many kinds of medicines, such as Statins, which is mostly used,” he added. “It stops the liver from generating cholesterol. Other medicines are Niacin, Fibrates, and Bile Sequestrants, which are medicines that stop gall liquid from flowing back to liver.”

While there are medicines, he said, “the most important thing is to watch your food, do exercise regularly and stop smoking.”

Another called, from Phnom Penh, 31-years-old, asked how to reduce the fat in his veins.

“You are still young,” the doctor told him. “You must be ready to take good care of yourself. The most important is not to eat any food containing fat, especially animal fats, such as fat from pork and beef. Then eat a lot of vegetables and fruits. If you have high triglycerides, stop drinking alcohol and don’t eat rice or noodle or bread so much, because they contain carbohydrates, which will be converted to sugar, and then fat, when it goes into our body.”

“If you are overweight, you must reduce weight and do exercise,” he said. “If cholesterol and triglycerides are still high, you must take medicine. You must take Statins. You must use these three methods: diet, exercise, and medicines.”

For youth, diet and exercise are important to avoid the condition, he said. “It is not difficult. You simply walk. Each day you should walk at least 10,000 steps. Swimming and doing other activities is even better.”