Corrections or additions?
This article by Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the June 12, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Web Review: CholesterolClinic.com
"My doctor told me that my LDL cholesterol
was high at 190 even after trying a low fat diet for three months.
He wants me to take statin medication for it. I am only 46 (male)
and have no symptoms, although my blood pressure was a little high.
I am not sure I want to take medication. Should I?"
This question is from a case study on CholesterolClinic.com, the website
of Dr. Rolando deGoma, a cardiologist with offices at 30 Meadow Lane
in Pennington. deGoma’s website is all about cholesterol, with information
for laymen and physicians. His answer to the question indicates why
this site’s subject is one no health-conscious person can ignore.
"The old adage `an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’
applies to the treatment of the cholesterol problem. Coronary heart
disease begins early in life and progresses quietly without any symptoms.
The first and only symptom is sudden death in one of four patients,"
Enough to make anyone sit up and take notice. deGoma goes on to quote
the West of Scotland Coronary Prevention Study, which shows that a
reduction in the 46 year-old’s level of LDL (bad) cholesterol should
reduce his chance of cardiac death by 28 percent, and any need for
bypass surgery or angioplasty by 37 percent.
His advice: get on the medication, and be conscientious about taking
Access to this section of CholesterolClinic.com, and to every other
section for laymen, is blessedly free of any need to register. It
did my heart good to page through without once having to type in my
zip code or think up and double enter a password.
The site has quizzes to help individuals assess their risk for heart
disease and to figure out if their cholesterol level is acceptable.
It has extensive information on planning meals around heart-healthy
guidelines, information on exercise, and a calendar on which those
seeking to improve their health can record amount and type of exercise,
daily helpings of vegetables, weight, and even the number of times
they cheated on their diets.
CholesterolClinic.com guides users through two diets, the heart healthy
diet or the change lifestyle diet. The latter contains less fat and
cholesterol. Many websites have similar features. Nearly all require
registration, many require a monthly fee for individualized diet planning,
and virtually all are more difficult to use. With CholesterolClinic,
users enter their height, weight, gender, and age range, and recommendations
appear, allowing users to choose from a number of foods for each meal.
Choices made, a click pulls up an instant analysis of the meal, including
amount of saturated fat, cholesterol, total fat, total calories, and
sodium for each item selected, and for the meal as a whole.
Impressive. Also, of course, a little daunting. The totals show just
how quickly those little pats of butter, modest slices of cake, and
deli sandwiches add up to way too much fat and too many calories.
For those who have overindulged for a decade or two and need to do
something about their cholesterol there is a "Drug Info" section.
It gives instructions, efficacy, side effects, clinical trial, and
discount information on popular cholesterol-lowering drugs. The information
on each comes directly from the drug’s manufacturer, providing a clue
as to how this free, comprehensive, easy-to-use website is funded.
Disclaimers state that the drug information is intended for the eyes
of physicians, and only physicians, but laymen easily can access it
— again, no registration or password required. Of interest to
those weighing drug options are the results of clinical trials, how
well the drugs are tolerated, and whether there are any contraindications.
The only negative about the site is that the lifestyle calendar is
not interactive. Instead of storing the information, allowing for
a cumulative record, CholesterolClinic.com suggests that users
print out a calendar each month and carry it around with them.
Perhaps that is not such a negative after all. Unless one is wired
24/7, it is easier for most to accurately record French fry intake
and nibbles of office-celebration cake on the spot than to type it
all in at the end of the day.
— Kathleen McGinn Spring
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.