High serum total cholesterol; an indicator for monitoring cholesterol lowering efforts : U.S. adults, 2005-2006
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High serum total cholesterol; an indicator for monitoring cholesterol lowering efforts : U.S. adults, 2005-2006

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  • Description:
    "Elevated serum total cholesterol is a major and modifiable risk factor for heart disease, the lead-ing cause of death in the United States (1,2). Reducing mean total serum cholesterol levels among adults to less than 200 mg/dL and reducing the proportion who have levels of 240 mg/dL or higher to less than 17% are national Healthy People 2010 objectives (3). Age-adjusted mean serum cholesterol levels among adults aged 20-74 years declined from 222 mg/dL in 1960-1962 to 203 mg/dL in 1999-2002 (4). Among adults aged 20 years and older, the percent of the population with high serum total cholesterol levels (240 mg/dL or higher) declined from 20% during 1988-1994 to 17% during 1999-2002 (4). In individual patients, a high serum total cholesterol level indicates a potential increased risk for heart disease, but further evaluation of other risk factors and the specific components of cholesterol provide the basis for determining the need for initiating therapeutic lifestyle changes or treatment with medication (5). Low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) is the cholesterol component associated with arterial blockage, and it is the primary clinical target for cholesterol management. High-density-lipoprotein (HDL) may help to protect individuals from developing heart disease. In populations, comparisons of total cholesterol levels over time can show if population groups are experiencing improvement in cholesterol levels, and knowledge of trends in levels of total cholesterol can help identify subgroups where additional prevention efforts may be needed."
  • Content Notes:
    Susan E. Schober, Margaret D Carroll, David A. Lacher, Rosemarie Hirsch, Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Includes bibliographical references (p. 7).
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