The American Heart Association (AHA) recently shared the results of its survey on cholesterol.
The AHA's Check.Change.Control.Cholesterol initiative conducted the survey among 800 participants with at least one major risk factor or a history of cardiovascular disease.
“We wanted to get a sense of what people know about their cholesterol risk and its connection to heart disease and stroke, as well as how people engage with their healthcare providers to manage their risks,” American Heart Association’s cholesterol advisory group member Dr. Mary Ann Bauman said in a news release. “We found even among those people at the highest risk for heart disease and stroke, overall knowledge was lacking and there was a major disconnect between perceptions about cholesterol and the significance of its health impact.”
Forty-seven percent of the survey respondents had not had their cholesterol checked in the past year despite their risk factor or health history. Participants already diagnosed with high cholesterol were more likely to have had their cholesterol checked recently, but 21 percent had not been checked in the last year.
In addition, many participants expressed uncertainty on the best methods to control their cholesterol. They understood that they needed to control their cholesterol, but were unsure of their target body weight, the difference between "good" and "bad" cholesterol and their goals in managing their cholesterol levels.
“Research suggests even modestly elevated cholesterol levels can lead to heart disease later in life, but these survey results show an alarming lack of communication between healthcare providers and those most at risk for cardiovascular disease,” Bauman said. “Current guidelines call for lifestyle modifications as a first line treatment, but that’s often not enough. We also need to talk to patients about other risk factors, including genetics and family history, to determine the most effective course of treatment for each individual.”