Counter Cholesterol Campaign Encourages Women’s Proactive Management of their Heart Health [Interview][Transcript]

Dr_Philip_Huang_Counter_CholesterolGuest: Dr. Philip Huang
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Dr. Huang completed his residency training in Family Medicine at Brackenridge Hospital in Austin, and he was Chief Resident during his final year. He served two years as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assigned to the Illinois Department of Public Health where he conducted infectious disease outbreak investigations and epidemiologic studies in chronic disease. He is an author or co-author of numerous publications related to public health, chronic disease, and tobacco use prevention. Dr. Huang is Board Certified in Family Medicine and is a Counter Cholesterol campaign champion.

Segment overview: Dr. Philip Huang, Medical Director at Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services is here to talk about the “Counter Cholesterol” campaign launched July 9th, 2016 in Austin, TX. This program was developed by the National Forum for Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention in partnership with Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services.

Health Professional Radio – Counter Cholesterol Campaign

Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to the program, I’m your host Neal Howard. Thank you for joining us here on Health Professional Radio. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among women in the United States and our guest in studio today is very passionate about bringing awareness and education to women and health care providers alike about high cholesterol. Our guest in is Dr. Philip Huang, Medical Director at Austin Travis County Health and Human Services and he’s here today to talk about the Counter Cholesterol Campaign that was launched last month here in Austin, Texas. Welcome to the program Dr. Huang.

Dr. Philip Huang: Thank you.

N: Thank you. The Counter Cholesterol Campaign is it geared strictly toward women or is cholesterol education at the forefront regardless of who’s getting that information?

H: I think it’s really both, I mean we’re trying to get the message out that people with high cholesterol at least 5 times is likely to have cardiovascular disease which is as you mentioned the number one cause of death among women. So but the campaign is focusing on women because women really are the key support for most families and there’s sort of a misconception sometimes that cholesterol and heart disease is more among men and many people aren’t aware of it how important is this also with women.

N: Why do you think that misconception persists about men and women as it pertains to cholesterol and hypertension?

N: Well I think people think more and hear about more men having heart attacks and it’s just again something that as not as getting much attention that it’s the number one cause of death among women nationally.

N: Cholesterol it’s gotten I guess a bad rap and then it’s just half way good and then it was bad again. Talk about the difference between good and bad cholesterol.

N: There are definitely different types of cholesterol, the bad cholesterol is the LDL cholesterol and some of the latest recommendations specifically focusing on knowing your cholesterol levels but there is also a good cholesterol, the HDL which you want to have higher levels which can then lower your risk for heart disease.

N: The Counter Cholesterol Campaign, is it simply just getting the word out? What else is involved in this Counter Cholesterol Campaign?

N: Well it’s really been a partnership with a group, the National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. They’ve been working with our health department, the Austin Travis County Health and Human Services Department, also some of our community partners: El Buen Samaritano, others that at the community level that are working with directly on the ground with the population and the communities that we serve. So we had a kick-off a couple of weeks ago where we had some actually community events, had cooking demonstration, heart healthy lunch, family fitness sort of activities things like that.

N: How does a woman get the conversation started with her health care provider about cholesterol even if she doesn’t suspect that she’s got a problem or maybe she knows someone whose has a problem? Everybody, the ‘internet doctor,’ when we come in and we’ve been on the internet what do you say to folks when they come in to get the conversation started? What type of questions should we ask our health care providers especially women?

N: Well again making sure and talk to their health care provider, asking about their cholesterol risk and trying to ask their physician about what they can do whether diet, exercise and to make sure that they know their numbers and we’re also trying to get the message to physicians to emphasize the importance of sharing with their patients the importance of making sure that their patients know what their cholesterol numbers are and the things that they can do to address this.

N: Is this an annual campaign or is this something that’s kind of on going as far as awareness efforts are concerned?

N: This is a…this first initiative and I think we’re going to see how this proceed, we are sort of the pilot, I believe for seeing how this initiative might be shared with other communities.

N: Have you noticed any genetic markers that can be identified in women identifying their predisposition to cholesterol issues?

N: Well certainly family history is one of the considerations in determining risk for cardiovascular disease. So that’s certainly one of the factors that affects people’s risk for heart disease.

N: Does the initiative address or give information as to the best drugs to take or the best diet approach?

N: Sure. Well the initial sort of response is to try to modify diet, do some of the lifestyle changes and then after that if that doesn’t work then you do certainly move to some of the therapeutic, the medications.

N: Have you noticed that there are differing side effects among men as opposed to women when it comes to the use of statins for cholesterol control?

N: I don’t think necessarily differences in the side effects from men to women but the statins are certainly one of the most studied medications that we’ve had tremendous amount of experience and so they are safe as prescribed, when used as directed.

N: Where do you see the future of cholesterol research as information becomes more and more available?

N: I think we continue to learn more and more about the risk factors for heart disease and importance of cholesterol so hard to say where things are going but there’s certainly a lot of efforts being invested in trying to improve that and that’s where there recommendations continue to be modified as we get more information.

N: Great. And where can our listeners go online and get more information about the Counter Cholesterol Campaign?

N: Sure, the web address is

N: Thank you. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard with Dr. Philip Huang, Medical Director at Austin Travis County Health and Human Services. He’s been in studio with us talking about the Counter Cholesterol Campaign that was launched this past July in Austin, Texas. A program that was developed by the National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention in partnership with the Austin Travis County Health and Human Services. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at and also at and you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.

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