Serum cholesterol concentrations among Navajo Indians.
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Serum cholesterol concentrations among Navajo Indians.

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      Public Health Rep
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      Navajo Indians have been reported by earlier investigators to have low concentrations of serum lipids and a low prevalence of hyperlipidemia, as well as low rates of ischemic heart disease. However, no data on serum lipid concentrations among Navajos have been reported for more than two decades. The authors conducted a study to determine the distribution of concentrations of serum total cholesterol (TC), high density lipoprotein cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglyceride among persons 25-74 years old living in a representative community on the Navajo Indian reservation. Data are reported for 255 subjects, 105 men and 150 women, ages 25-74 years. The authors compared these data to those for the general population as determined by the second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES II). TC concentrations among Navajo men were similar to those from NHANES II. TC concentrations among younger Navajo women were similar to those for women younger than 55 years from NHANES II, but were significantly lower among older Navajo women. While 27.6 percent of men ages 25-74 years studied in NHANES II had TC concentrations greater than 240 milligrams per deciliter, 33.8 percent of Navajo men had similarly elevated TC. However, the prevalence of serum TC concentrations greater than 240 milligrams per deciliter among Navajo women (17.5 percent) was about half that among women studied in NHANES II (32.9 percent). A similar pattern was found for low density lipoprotein cholesterol. The researchers concluded that Navajo Indians are no longer characterized by low serum lipid concentrations, that increased cholesterol concentrations may be a harbinger of increasing rates of atherosclerotic coronary heart disease among Navajos, and that attention should be directed to primary prevention of hyperlipidemia in Navajo Indian communities.
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