Olympian Mark Spitz Speaks Up to Increase Cholesterol Awareness

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN Health Pro
  • Olympian Mark Spitz, swimming champion, won 7 gold medals at the 1972 Olympic Games. This long standing record was just recently surpassed by Michael Phelps with 8 gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.


    Mark Spitz is now retired and turns 60 years-old on February 10th. Back in 2002, Mark was diagnosed with cholesterol levels above 300 mg/dl. He worked with his physician to lower his levels through exercising and medication (Lipitor). Mark's been quoted as saying "I was shocked when I was diagnosed with high cholesterol because I had no symptoms at all." In the past few years he has openly discussed his history with high cholesterol and has actively encouraged continued research and awareness.

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    Mark Spitz joined Go for the Goal initiative developed by Pfizer Pharmaceutical, the maker of the cholesterol lowering drug Lipitor. This is an awareness initiative intended to increase public attention on the dangers of high cholesterol in related to heart disease.


    One of the 2010 national health objectives is to decrease the number of adults (>20 years-old) with total cholesterol levels >240 mg/dl. One strategy to reach this goal is to increase public awareness of high cholesterol. State health departments have monitored progress and to examine state-specific trends the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) analyzed data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) from 1991 to 1999. This report indicates that about 25% of participants screened for high cholesterol were aware they had high cholesterol. The findings of the CDC report show a significant increase in the percentage of people who completed a cholesterol screening and were told by a health-care provider that they had high cholesterol.


    Before you can take action to lower cholesterol levels you have to be aware your cholesterol is an issue. If you do not know your cholesterol levels discuss with your physician to have the necessary lab work completed.


    High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease. Heart disease and stroke are responsible for approximately 17 million deaths worldwide every year. Estimates are that by 2020 heart disease alone will be responsible for 11.1 million lives annually. Take action today!


    Be sure to sign-up for the free e-course How to Lower Cholesterol in 8 Simple Steps provided by dietitian Lisa Nelson at http://www.lowercholesterolwithlisa.com.


Published On: February 05, 2010