Survey found they know it raises heart risks, but are confused, discouraged about how to lower it

Americans with high cholesterol are well aware of its heart dangers, but many lack the confidence or knowledge to keep it under control, a new survey shows.

High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, causing about 2.6 million deaths in the United States each year, the researchers said.

The survey included nearly 800 people nationwide with either a history of heart disease or at least one major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes.

Overall, 47 percent of the respondents had not had their cholesterol checked in the past year. While those with high cholesterol had higher rates of recent testing, 21 percent of them had not had their cholesterol checked in the past year.

Eighty-two percent of the respondents knew there was a link between cholesterol and risk for heart disease and stroke, and most of those with high cholesterol knew it was important to manage their cholesterol. Unfortunately, many were confused, discouraged and uncertain about their ability to do so, the survey found.

The most common treatments for high cholesterol recommended by health care providers were medication (79 percent), exercise (78 percent) and diet changes (70 percent). Patients felt least informed about what their target body weight should be, the differences between the types of cholesterol (LDL (bad) vs. HDL (good), and goals for cholesterol management.

HDL (high-density lipoproteins), or “good” cholesterol, carries cholesterol from parts of the body back to the liver, which processes it. LDL (low-density lipoproteins), or “bad” cholesterol, can lead to clogged arteries.

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SOURCE: HealthDay News
Robert Preidt