A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that Americans are on the right tract when it comes to cholesterol rates, since the percentage of adults with high cholesterol levels has declined from 1999 to 2014.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report – published December 1 – states that high total cholesterol dropped among American adults from about 18 percent between 1999 and 2000, to 11 percent between 2013 and 2014.
That being said, the number of people who had low levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol – also referred to as good cholesterol – has also decreased. Lower than normal levels of HDL cholesterol are considered less healthy. From 2007 to 2008, 22 percent of adults in the United Stated had lower levels of HDL cholesterol, but from 2013 to 2014, the percentage dropped to 20, according to the new report.
Dr. Robert Block, an associate professor of public health sciences at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, said that the decrease in high total cholesterol is probably due to cholesterol-lowering medications which more people seem to take nowadays.
According to Dr. Block, people have not changed their diets so greatly to lower their cholesterol levels. It is likely that the guidelines for prescribing statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) – a class of cholesterol lowering drugs – led to the decline. Apart from lowering cholesterol levels, some statins also increase the high-density lipoprotein levels, Dr. Block added.
Healthy People 2020 is a health initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which hopes to reduce the percentage of American adults with high total cholesterol to 13.5 percent by 2020.
Although overall the results are good, 16 percent of the people ages 40 to 59 still have high total cholesterol.
There are also differences between women and men. Women ages 40 and older have higher levels of cholesterol then men, but they also have higher HDL cholesterol compared with men, according to Dr. Block. The differences between women and men were due to oestrogen (estrogen) levels, he added.
In the report, the researchers considered high total cholesterol levels to be at 240 milligrams per decilitre or more and low HDL cholesterol levels to be at less than 40 milligrams per decilitre.
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