A number of Americans have put their hearts into lowering their cholesterol. Yet a recent American Heart Association survey found that many adults with high cholesterol still don’t realize that they have an increased risk of developing heart disease.
According to the survey, 50 percent of respondents with cholesterol levels of 200 or greater, and who had risk factors such as high blood pressure or diabetes, did not perceive themselves to be at high risk for cardiovascular disease.
Fifteen percent felt they were at low risk. However, statistics from the American Heart Association and the National Program for Cholesterol Education (NCEP) show that many of these respondents are in danger of having a heart attack within a decade.
Cholesterol guidelines established by both groups show that people with multiple risk factors-smoking, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, etc.-and people with coronary heart disease and other conditions are at high risk of having a heart attack within 10 years.
The results are at the forefront of the Cholesterol Low Down initiative of this year’s American Heart Association, an effort to help teach people about their risk of heart disease.
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The survey also found that 72 percent of respondents strongly agree that their cholesterol reduction partner is their health care provider. Those who regularly speak to their health care provider report about cholesterol are well educated about topics such as setting personal cholesterol targets and the value of implementing treatment plans.
“Health care providers are an important and supportive resource for individuals at risk for heart disease and stroke because of their cholesterol and other risk factors, “said Lori Mosca, M.D., Director of Preventive Cardiology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital; Associate Professor of Medicine at Columbia University School of Surgeons and Physicians. “Patients should consult with their doctor to find out whether their cholesterol levels are stable and to develop a plan that involves a healthy diet and physical activity to reduce risk.”
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