A number of lifestyle and other physiological factors have put a certain group of Americans at a greater risk of heart attack or stroke because of an increased level of blood cholesterol. Shockingly, a majority of such Americans do not take medication to lower the risk, according to a latest study.
According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in eight Americans have high cholesterol. This puts them at an increased risk of multiple cardiovascular disorders and diseases, including heart attack and stroke.
Although an increased use of cholesterol-lowering drugs has shown a decline in the number of Americans with high blood cholesterol between 2007 and 2014. However, LDL cholesterol or “bad” cholesterol continues to remain a major risk factor for cardiovascular events in the United States.
People with high levels of LDL cholesterol are eligible for cholesterol-lowering drugs. In addition, they are supposed to lose weight, incorporate changes in lifestyle, including diet and exercise.
The CDC researchers have found that nearly 44.5 percent of Americans, who are likely to benefit from cholesterol-lowering drugs, are not taking one. In addition, 35.5 percent of Americans confessed not taking medication or practicing lifestyle changes that could help lower their cholesterol levels.
The study also revealed that minority populations, including blacks and Mexican Americans, were less likely to take medication than white Americans.
"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," study CDC researcher Carla Mercado said in a press release. "This study reveals opportunities to reduce existing disparities through targeted patient education and cholesterol management programs."
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Million Hearts initiative has taken a pledge to prevent one million heart attack and strokes by 2017. The objective would be achieved by getting 65 percent of Americans manage high levels of LDL cholesterol.