Cholesterol: Facts and Statistics

Cholesterol is a very prevalent health problem in America today. Having a high cholesterol increases your risk of developing heart related problems later in life. Cholesterol problems can occur in people of all ages and backgrounds so it is important that we are aware of the issue at hand. In this article I am going to touch on some facts and statistics that are directly related with elevated cholesterol levels.

Many Americans currently have issues with high cholesterol. About 71 million American adults have high LDL levels. This number comes out to around 33.5% of our entire population. Even further, only 1 in every 3 adults with high cholesterol problems are effectively managing and controlling their cholesterol. Less than 50% percent of adults with these health issues seek out treatment options for their condition. People who have been diagnosed with high cholesterol are at approximately double the risk of heart related diseases as people with optimal levels. Doctors state that a desirable level is 200mg/dl or lower. On average, Americans have a total cholesterol of about 200mg/dl which is on the border of being at high risk.

Cholesterol levels can vary between different genders and ethnicities. Mexican American men have the highest LDL cholesterol levels as far as race and gender are concerned at 41.9%. There is not much of a noticeable difference between men and women with men at 32.5% and women at 31%. African American women have the lowest rate at only 27.7% and are the only group of people who are below the 30% threshold.

With that being said, Americans are making steady progress in reducing our nation’s cholesterol levels. From the years 1999-2010 the overall percentage of American adults with high total cholesterol levels has significantly decreased from 18.3% to 13.4%. Even with this improvement, the percentage of Americans with high LDL cholesterol has remained around 34% over the past decade, but treatment of high LDL cholesterol has increased from 28.4% in 1999 to 48.1% in 2008 which shows that Americans are beginning to understand the risks of high cholesterol and that it is important to take an active role in reducing their cholesterol.

Even with all this new information out about cholesterol and its harmful effects many Americans do not seek out advice or treatment for managing their high cholesterol levels. The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends that all adults have their cholesterol levels checked about once every five years. From the years 2009-10 bout 68% of Americans over the age of 20 had reported that they had their cholesterol checked within the previous five years. However, less than 50% of Hispanic men were screened for high cholesterol which provides evidence for why Hispanic men have the highest cholesterol levels when compared to other races and genders. Statistics also show that less than 10 percent of all doctor’s office visits include a cholesterol test.

All in all, it is important that Americans effectively control and manage their cholesterol to avoid the potential life threatening risks that a high cholesterol can cause.