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Half of U.S. citizens not taking cholesterol-lowering medications

By Tim Sandle     Dec 6, 2015 in Health
Washington - Many people in the U.S. who are eligible to take medications that lower cholesterol do not do so, according to new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Around half of U.S. adults who are eligible for cholesterol-lowering medications (as based on current medical guidelines) are not doing so. The CDC has published supporting data in its journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
The data used in the analysis is drawn from the period 2007 to 2014. Overall, the figures are encouraging, suggesting a reduction in the number of U.S. adults with high blood levels of cholesterol. The decline is coincidental, with a rise in the use of cholesterol-lowering medications.
Despite the overall rate reduction, there are aspects of concern. First is that a high blood level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (often termed “bad” cholesterol) is still a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke in the U.S. Second, is the relatively low take-up of medications.
With the low figures, there are variations among the population. In terms of ethnic groups, blacks and Mexican Americans are the groups least likely to be taking cholesterol-lowering medications.
Another aspect the CDC report highlights is lifestyle. The CDC emphasizes that, in addition to medication, making lifestyle changes is also important. This includes taking regular exercise, changing diet, and losing weight. Here, there is a proportion who take the appropriate medication but who are not making changes to their day-to-day habits.
Discussing the report, Dr. Carla Mercado, who works for the CDC, is quoted as saying: “Nearly 800,000 people die in the U.S. each year from cardiovascular diseases – that’s one in every three deaths – and high cholesterol continues to be a major risk factor. This study reveals opportunities to reduce existing disparities through targeted patient education and cholesterol management programs.”
A new range of health targets will be unveiled by the CDC in 2016, with a focus on cholesterol management.
More about cholesterollowering medications, Cholesterol, Blood pressure, Heart disease
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