Few adults taking necessary cholesterol-lowering medications

Too few US adults are taking necessary cholesterol-lowering medications.
Too few US adults are taking necessary cholesterol-lowering medications.

HealthDay News — Nearly half of American adults who should be taking cholesterol-lowering drugs don't, according to research published in the Dec. 4 issue of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC study team analyzed national data from 2005 to 2014 and found that 36.7% of US adults – 78.1 million people aged 21 and older – were eligible to take cholesterol-lowering medications or were already taking them. Among these people, 55.5% were taking cholesterol-lowering medication, 46.6% were making lifestyle changes to lower cholesterol, 37.1% were taking medication and making lifestyle changes, and 35.5% were doing neither. The study included all types of cholesterol-lowering drugs, but nearly 90% of those on medication were taking a statin.

Of the 40.8% of men eligible for or already on cholesterol medication, 52.9% were taking them. Among women, the figures were 32.9% and 58.6%, respectively. Of the 24.2% of Mexican-Americans eligible for or already on cholesterol medication, 47.1% were taking medications. The figures were 39.5% and 46.0%, respectively, among blacks, and 38.4% and 58.0%, respectively, among whites.

The lowest rate of taking recommended cholesterol medication (5.7%) was among blacks who did not have a regular place for health care. The highest rate (80%) was among people who said they already adopted a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Reference

Mercado C, DeSimone AK, Odom E, et al. Prevalence of Cholesterol Treatment Eligibility and Medication Use Among Adults – United States, 2005-2012. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR); December 4, 2015; 64(47);1305-11

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