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      Effects of Mediterranean Diet on Lipid Levels and Cardiovascular Risk in Renal Transplant Recipients

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          Background: Renal transplant recipients have an increased incidence of cardiovascular disease. These patients present abnormalities of lipoprotein profile which are persistent and involve an increasing number of individuals, suggesting the opportunity of an early therapeutic intervention. Methods: We evaluated the effects of a 10- to 12-week diet based on the American Heart Association step-one diet criteria, modified with an increased intake of monounsaturated fats and alimentary fibers, on lipid profile and lipid-related cardiovascular risk in 78 normolipidemic and hyperlipidemic renal transplant recipients. Results: Diet led to a significant reduction in total cholesterol levels by 10%, triglycerides by 6.5%, low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol by 10.4% and LDL-cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol ratio by 10%, whereas HDL-cholesterol levels remained unchanged. Dividing renal transplant recipients into risk classes according to the National Cholesterol Expert Program guidelines and LDL-cholesterol levels, we observed a progressively increasing reduction in total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels among ‘desirable LDL-cholesterol’, ‘borderline high-risk LDL-cholesterol’ and ‘high-risk LDL-cholesterol’ patients, while HDL-cholesterol levels did not change in any group and the LDL-cholesterol/HDL-cholesterol ratio significantly decreased in ‘borderline high-risk LDL-cholesterol’ and in ‘high-risk LDL-cholesterol’ patients (respectively by 6.8%, p < 0.05, and by 21.1%, p < 0.0001). Reduction in triglyceride levels was statistically significant only in subjects with ‘desirable LDL-cholesterol’ (by 12.3%, p < 0.01). Patients in the ‘desirable LDL-cholesterol’ class increased from 28 (35.9% of total patients) before diet to 45 (57.7% of total patients, p < 0.01), while subjects in the ‘high-risk LDL-cholesterol’ class reduced from 24 (30.8% of total patients) to 8 (10.2% of total patients, p < 0.005). Conclusion: These data suggest the possibility of a nutritional hypolipidemic approach in renal transplant recipients, even if normolipidemic. Dietetic treatment determined an inversion in the typical trend of renal transplant recipients, reducing instead of increasing the number of subjects with hypercholesterolemia, permitting the selection of individual candidates for further pharmacological treatment by carefully evaluating risk/benefit costs.

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          Saturated fats, cholesterol, and dietary compliance.

          Lack of response to a cholesterol-lowering diet can be caused by physiological nonresponsiveness, inadequate knowledge, or inability to change dietary habits (poor compliance). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the dietary compliance of hyperlipidemic individuals who received intensive initial dietary education and followup, and who showed an initial reduction of their plasma cholesterol levels. One hundred five individuals with fasting cholesterol levels of 5.17 mmol/L (200 mg/dL) or greater received intensive education and follow-up on the American Heart Association Step I diet during an initial 12-week period. The participants provided 3-day dietary records every week, and fasting lipoprotein analysis was performed biweekly. Six months after termination of this period, the subjects were requested to return for a follow-up evaluation of their lipoprotein profile and dietary adherence. Seventy-three (70%) of the subjects returned for a follow-up evaluation of lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Of these, 42 (58%) had a 10% or greater average initial decrease in total cholesterol levels at weeks 3 and 4 ("baseline"), and they were considered to be "high responders." At the 6-month follow up, the average plasma cholesterol level in these responders remained 6.4% below that at entry level, but it had increased by 19% compared with baseline values (6.30 mmol/L [244 mg/dL] vs 5.43 mmol/L [210 mg/dL], respectively). Corresponding significant increases at 6 months were found in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (8%), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (16%), and very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (66%) levels. Analysis of dietary histories revealed that dietary cholesterol and percent calories from fat increased significantly, but remained within the recommended guidelines. However, the increase in percent calories from saturated fat (from 10.0% +/- 0.5% to 14.4% +/- 1.0% [mean +/- SEM]) deviated markedly from these guidelines. The results suggest the long-term compliance to the reduction of dietary saturated fat remains a problem, even in individuals who receive intensive initial training and show an early favorable response. Follow-up evaluation of hyperlipidemic patients who are receiving dietary therapy should take into account this behavioral pattern. It remains to be determined whether continuing supervision and better nutritional labeling will facilitate dietary compliance.
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            Stroke risk after anterior wall acute myocardial infarction


              Author and article information

              S. Karger AG
              July 1999
              21 June 1999
              : 82
              : 3
              : 199-204
              Department of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, University of Palermo, Italy
              45403 Nephron 1999;82:199–204
              © 1999 S. Karger AG, Basel

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              Figures: 2, Tables: 2, References: 36, Pages: 6
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