(BPT) - “I have a plan.” When Linda walked into her cardiologist’s office in 2022, she felt confident. This visit felt different—empowering, even. The retired nurse had been battling high levels of what’s known as “bad” cholesterol (aka low-density lipoprotein cholesterol or LDL-C) for more than 30 years—a struggle that millions of Americans know all too well. But this time around, she came prepared with a different game plan.
When lifestyle changes and statins (the most prescribed drugs used to lower cholesterol levels) aren’t enough, giving up on lowering your bad cholesterol isn’t an option. In honor of National Cholesterol Education Month this September, Linda is sharing her inspirational health journey to help other people struggling with high levels of bad cholesterol reach their personal LDL-C goals.
Who knows more about you than...you? While doctors are there to offer support and help every step of the way, it’s important to always advocate for yourself. And what is the very first step to opening a productive, two-way conversation? Honesty. If you’ve been doing everything as recommended by your doctor—such as replacing french fries with fruits, skipping that glass of wine each night, going for a walk around the block five times a week—and aren’t seeing results, say something.
Linda knows firsthand there’s nothing to be ashamed of. “The usual diet and exercise routine and my statin regimen that my doctor recommended was no longer getting me to my goal,” she shares. Over time, it became more of a priority to manage her overall health. Due to her family’s history with heart disease, Linda took her regular chest pains seriously as soon as they first began in the early 2000s. After a 20-minute episode resulted in an emergency cardiogram, her doctor informed her of plaque buildup and she had a stent put in. Despite her many attempts to get the situation under control, there always seemed to be more left to do to help get her bad cholesterol under control. This episode was the wake-up call she needed to make a change. “It felt like I was stuck in a cycle of putting in the effort and ending up disappointed, and the only way out was to try something new.”
That’s exactly why preparation is essential when it comes to doctor’s visits. It doesn't hurt to familiarize yourself with how high levels of bad cholesterol affects the body and the steps you can take to moderate it. It could simply mean spending an hour or two reading through materials online, or asking family and friends about their experiences: which treatment did they decide on? How did it make them feel? How easy was it to stick to the prescription schedule? Educating yourself allows you to arrive with specific questions for your doctor, and in certain cases, even have a potential add-on treatment already in mind.
BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE: 5 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR DOCTOR
When Linda first heard of a new medication, called Leqvio® (inclisiran), that could help lower her bad cholesterol, it was as if a lightbulb went off in her mind. And after researching more about the twice-yearly injection (after two initial injections), she took the idea straight to her cardiologist and nurse practitioner.1
Leqvio is meant for patients with heart disease and those with an increased risk of developing heart disease, whose bad cholesterol levels still aren’t where they need after taking statins and making positive lifestyle choices.1 Leqvio works by stopping certain proteins in the liver from being made, thereby allowing your liver to remove more bad cholesterol from the bloodstream for six months with one dose.1
“Leqvio is the first and only treatment proven to lower bad cholesterol by 50% and keep it low with two doses a year," explains Dr. Stephanie Saucier, MD and Director of the Women’s Heart Wellness Program at Hartford Hospital.1 “What I especially like is that it works with the body’s natural processes and can fit into your lifestyle. Having an effective bi-annual treatment can allow people to live their lives and not have to consistently plan around treatment.”
The journey to lowering bad cholesterol isn’t always simple. Finding a care team that empathizes with your experiences and tailors treatment to your needs can make life so much easier. In Linda’s case, for example, twice-yearly Leqvio made sense for her lifestyle. “I’ve always loved to travel. The fact that my husband and I can freely book a trip to Italy, instead of worrying about staying local for my frequent appointments or injections, is life-changing,” she shared. Working with your doctor to find the right routine and medication can help you feel confident in managing your bad cholesterol and allow you to focus on the things you love most.
High levels of bad cholesterol is a bad problem. But making the choice to improve it is a brave step towards a healthier future. The good news? It’s treatable. The better news? There are tools to help you reach your cholesterol goals, such as Leqvio, which along with a statin was shown to lower bad cholesterol levels by 50% in patients during each six-month dosing interval.1 It’s all about knowing your body and teaming up with your health care provider to find what works. Take it from Linda: “It all starts with one conversation. I can’t say it enough: talk to your doctor. You can be one conversation away from reaching your cholesterol goals.”
To learn more about Leqvio, visit Leqvio.com.
Sponsored by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
What is Leqvio?
LEQVIO (inclisiran) is an injectable prescription medicine used along with diet and other cholesterol-lowering medicines in adults with high blood cholesterol levels called primary hyperlipidemia (including a type of high cholesterol called heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia [HeFH]) to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C) or “bad” cholesterol.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
The most common side effects of LEQVIO were: injection site reaction (including pain, redness, and rash), joint pain, and chest cold.
These are not all the possible side effects of LEQVIO. Ask your health care provider for medical advice about side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Please click here for Leqvio full Prescribing Information.
1. Leqvio. Prescribing information. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.
Licensed from Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
|East Hanover, New Jersey 07936-1080||© 2023 Novartis||8/23 298504|