September is National Cholesterol Education Month

By Al Saint Jacques, MDLinx
Published January 13, 2016

Key Takeaways

Even since Nikolai N. Anichkov first discovered the part that cholesterol plays in atherosclerosis back in 1913, researchers have been trying to find a way to effectively treat this disease with some success. Yet, this disease is still responsible for high rates of morbidity and mortality in the United States and Internationally.

According to the latest statistics, 73.5 million adults (31.7%) in the United States have high low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol. Fewer than 1 out of every 3 adults (29.5%) with high LDL cholesterol has the condition under control. The worst news is that less than half (48.1%) of adults with high LDL cholesterol are getting treatment to lower their levels. And yet, it is well know that people with high total cholesterol have approximately twice the risk for heart disease as people with ideal levels.

But the news is not all bad. Data show that between 1999 and 2012, the percentage of American adults with high total cholesterol decreased from 18.3% to 12.9%. In addition, the percentage of American adults with high LDL cholesterol has dropped about 2% since 2000. Treatment of high LDL cholesterol has increased from only 28.4% in 1999–2002 to 48.1% in 2005–2008.

What can be done to improve our health? The CDC advises that all adults should have their cholesterol levels checked once every 5 years. Data show that during 2009–2010, 69.4% of Americans age 20 and older reported that they had their cholesterol checked within the previous 5 years. In 2009, 96 million health care office visits (9.2% of all visits) included a cholesterol test. So some progress os being made.

As part of September's National Cholesterol Education Month, the CDC has a number of fact sheets that your patients can access to find out more about high cholesterol and related diseases:

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