1 in 8 Adults Still Have High Cholesterol CDC

1 in 8 Adults Still Have High Cholesterol: CDC Many don't meet targets, and expert says even those targets aren't good enough to prevent heart attacks
WebMD News from HealthDay

By Steven Reinberg

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Dec. 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- About one in every eight American adults continue to have high levels of total cholesterol, while even more have low levels of "good" cholesterol, health officials reported Tuesday.

Although the percentage of adults with high total cholesterol and low HDL ("good") cholesterol declined between 2007 and 2014, roughly 12 percent of Americans still had high total cholesterol and 18.5 percent still had low levels of HDL cholesterol, the report found.

These findings show that while many Americans are working on reaching better cholesterol levels, there is more work to be done, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers said.

Lead researcher Margaret Carroll, a survey statistician at CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), speculated that more people are having their cholesterol checked and are being treated. Treatments include cholesterol-lowering statin drugs (for example, Lipitor, Crestor or Zocor) and making changes in lifestyle, such as reducing their consumption of trans fats.

But one expert agreed that the progress that has been made is not enough.

"High cholesterol is one of the major contributors for heart disease," said Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The higher the total blood cholesterol level and LDL "bad" cholesterol, the greater the risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack. Low levels of HDL cholesterol are also associated with increased risk of heart disease, he explained.

"Fortunately, lowering total and LDL cholesterol with certain therapies has been demonstrated to markedly lower the risk of future heart attacks and stroke in both men and women with benefits that greatly outweigh potential risks," Fonarow said.

Using data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the investigators also found that fewer black men had high levels of total cholesterol than white, Asian or Hispanic men. Among women, fewer black women had high total cholesterol than white and Hispanic women, they added.

According to the report, released Dec. 1 in the NCHS Data Brief, black men and women and Asian men and women had higher levels of good cholesterol than did Hispanic men and women.

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