CDC: 1 in 8 Americans have high cholesterol
As many as one in eight Americans have high cholesterol, according to a recent report from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Researchers found that, between 2011 and 2014, 12 percent of people had high cholesterol and 18.5 percent had low levels of high-density lipoprotein, better known as “bad cholesterol.” The report used data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and also found fewer black women and men with high levels of total cholesterol compared to several other ethnic groups.
Between 2007 and 2014, there was a decline in the percentage of adults with high total cholesterol from just over 14 percent to 11 percent. There was also a drop in the percentage of those with low levels of good cholesterol from over 22 percent to slightly under 20 percent.
High cholesterol is one of the major contributors to heart disease.
“High cholesterol is a large risk factor when it comes to heart attacks, and one risk factor doubles your risk of a heart attack,” says Dr. Dean Ferrera, cardiologist with Advocate Heart Institute at Trinity Hospital in Chicago. “You can’t control your age, you can’t control your family history, but you can control high cholesterol and weight. That’s the reason why you want to control as many issues as you can.”
The higher the total cholesterol level and low-density lipoprotein, also known as “bad cholesterol,” the greater the risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack, says Dr. Ferrera.
He recommends avoiding foods high in saturated fats, fried foods and fatty meats, as they can lead to future blockage. Exercise is also key.
“Just moving around a little bit and setting up realistic goals like exercising 20 minutes, three days a week can make a world of difference,” says Dr. Ferrera. “Heart attacks permanently damage the heart so you have to take it seriously in preventing problems in the future.”
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