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NewsBites January 2010 Issue

Prevalence of “Bad” Cholesterol Drops by 1/3

On the bright side, another CDC report has found that the prevalence of US adults with high levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol dropped by about one-third from 1999-2000 to 2005-2006. Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) on a sampling of 7,044 participants age 20 or older, CDC scientists calculated that the percentage of those with high LDL levels declined from 31.5% to 21.2%. The prevalence varied substantially by risk category, with those at highest risk due to cardiovascular conditions or diabetes declining from 69.4% with high LDL to 58.9%.

About one-fifth of those in the high-risk category who could be taking cholesterol medications such as statins were not receiving such treatment, the study warned. Overall, however, selfreported use of such medications rose from 8% to 13.4%. Screening for unhealthy cholesterol levels didn’t change significantly, remaining at less than 70%.

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