Almost Half of Those Needing Cholesterol Drugs Don't Take Them
Nearly half of the adults in the U.S. who need medications to lower their cholesterol aren't taking them, according to findings published in the _Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. _
Currently, an estimated 78 million American adults have high levels of LDL, or so-called "bad" cholesterol, which raises a person's risk of stroke and heart disease. These people are advised to take preventive action by combining cholesterol-lowering medications with lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, a heart-healthy diet and weight loss. But new research suggests that slightly more than half of those eligible for the medications are actually taking them, and fewer than half make the recommended lifestyle changes.
Specifically, 55.5 percent are taking the medication, and 46.6 percent report making lifestyle changes. but only 37.1 percent report that they are both making lifestyle modifications and taking medication. Almost as many said they were doing neither.
Gender, race and ethnicity made a difference. Here are the percentages of people eligible for cholesterol-lowering medication who are actually taking it: All men - 52.9 percent, all women - 58.6 percent, all Mexican-Americans - 47.1 percent, all black adults - 46 percent, all white adults – 56 percent.
Almost 800,000 people die in the U.S. each year from cardiovascular diseases. That’s one out of every three deaths, and high cholesterol is a major risk factor.